“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
When Don Alberto was in his thirties, he had a magnificent dream. He was so inspired that he consulted with a priest to see if his dream was possible. The priest gave him wise advise like Paulo Coelho in Brida, “When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”
Don Alberto was pleased with the advise, and the next day, he chose his sharpest stone-carving tools, which consisted of two sharpened pieces of rebar, a stone hammer, and a metal blade, and trekked through the valley below to find the perfect cliffs to begin his once-in-a-lifetime dream of honoring God, family, and love of nature and animals.
Along the stone paths worn by his daily treks, he planted coffee trees, bromeliads, and orchids that he treasured. Today, Don Alberto’s 40 something years of stone-carving are his tribute and gift to Tisey Estanzuela Natural Reserve outside the town of Esteli that he calls home. Welcome to Finca El Jalacate, sculptures in rock. Don Alberto is a spry 72-year-old, with a snow-white afro and suntanned skin with weathered lines etched into his face that kind of resemble his carvings. He attributes his healthy lifestyle to working every day of his life. He said that even when he is sick (which isn’t often), he prefers to carve rocks than stay in his bed. He enjoys visiting the 60 thousand visitors he has had throughout his adventures in rock carving, and explains with joy the many details in his carvings. Continue reading →
Cowboy boots….romance…mystique…adventure. If you grew up in the 50’s, you probably wore a miniature ten gallon hat and a pair of cowboy boots, and toted a Red Rover or Daisy BB gun. Chances are good that you watched The Lone Ranger and were intimately familiar with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Your tin lunch box probably displayed Tonto,Trigger, Roy Rogers, or Hopalong Cassidy. Mine did!
Entering the cowboy boot shop in Esteli, Nicaragua brought back vivid memories: delicious smells of tooled leather, sharp, shiny spurs, bowed legs supporting pointy boots, and a sense of rugged individualism and self-reliance that could only be obtained by slipping on a pair of handmade cowboy boots.
Snake skins, alligator skins, and rustic boot molds adorned the shop. The sounds of ,tap-tap of the leather tools embossing star designs and inlays resonated throughout the shop. One boot maker can complete a pair of cowboy boots in a day. And the prices are absurdly cheap for a handmade pair of cowboy boots. They range from $50 – $200.
One thing for sure, these boots aren’t made for walkin’, they are made for showing off the talents of the laborious boot makers in Esteli. Enjoy the slideshow.
We have returned from our first trip to Northern Nicaragua where we slept snuggled under two heavy blankets, visited coffee farms and cigar factories, hiked through the Black Jungle (Selva Negra), and talked with a lot of cowboys…real cowboys!
I am overflowing with stories of the wild North. Until I compose my tales, enjoy the slideshow of the city of murals in Esteli, Nicaragua. I think Banksy was writing about Esteli in his quote below.
Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw wherever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colors and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall- it’s wet.