The weekly photo challenge is wall. Nicaragua abounds with walls of war, remembrances of their defense of personal rights, freedom, and dignity. Honoring their Nicaraguan heroes is especially clear on the walls in the cities.
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.
Somoto Canyon was only discovered in 2004 by a group of Czech Republic and Nicaraguan scientists. Ron told me that when he was in Geography class in 4th grade, he cried because he thought everything had already been discovered. To appease Ron’s sorrow, we are headed to Northern Nicaragua tomorrow to discover for ourselves this unique and unusual area.
After this magnificent discovery, Nicaragua declared Somoto Canyon a National Monument and it has great tourist potential. In February, Cory and his friends meandered down the Coco River on inner tubes, through narrow gorges with cliffs extending upwards 120-150 meters. They jumped into deep, refreshing pools and scaled the cliffs searching for bromeliads, orchids, and iguanas that inhabit the crevices.
Although we can’t float the Rio Coco in the wet season due to flash floods (It’s dangerous at this time of the year), we are going to explore Matagalpa, Jinotega, and Esteli. These are the lands of expansive coffee plantations, black pottery production, mountainous terrain, pine forests, and former Contra territory.
I’m reading “The Death of Ben Linder”, and I hope to visit his grave in Matagalpa. I’ll return in a week with new stories, lots of photos, and a greater appreciation for the unique country in which we live. Meanwhile, enjoy Cory’s float trip through Somoto Canyon.
See you in a week!