Sunday, July 22, 2012

1st Day in Leon

As we woke this morning, the dreaded "cold" shower was all we could think about! We were glad the anticipation was worse than the actual experience. Mitzi even referred to the shower as "refreshing!"

Following breakfast Kris, Mitzi and Beth headed for a short jaunt around the Leon Cathedral as Julie met with colleagues from University of Connecticut. Marie Coppola is a Linguistic Psychologist who is well known for her research on Nicaraguan Sign Language.  Never underestimate the power of networking.  At the Association of College Educators for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing I met with a graduate assistant and we were visiting about international research.  He was able to make connections with the research team that is currently looking at families who only use home signs with their deaf children.  After two hours of visiting it was clear we could have spent days talking about projects in Nicaragua.
Let's just say the heat and humidity in Leon is intense! Yesterday in Granada we had cloud cover, so it was tolerable, but today was the real deal and it was brutal. And, this is "winter" right now.

People, people and more people. Ulises was our tour guide as we walked through the city of Leon. A few places we visited today were El Convento -- beautiful hotel, UNAN Administrative Building, Revolutionary Museum with an amazing guide, ending on a hot tin roof!

Trip Advisor would give Ulises a better rating today as a tour guide.  He interpreted for us at the Museum of the Revolution which was no easy task.  The guide was a Sandanista who had fought in many battles during the war, there were two other tours going on simultaneously, while the normal LOUD Nicaraguan sounds of car horns and sound systems competed for our attention.  In order to understand the complexities it really is important to understand the basics of Nicaraguan history.  Since its independence from Spain, Nicaragua has experienced constant wars and natural disasters.

Somoza..... Sandino..... Sandanista.... guerillas...... William Walker.....  U.S. military presence.... embargo.... Iran-Contra.....    These are all words/concepts that involve the United States domination in Latin America and warrant further study.
Mitzi, Kris, Beth, Julie, Ulises on top of the Museum of the Revolution with the Cathedral and volcanoes in the background. (this would never pass security inspections in the U.S.)
Our afternoon was topped off with a very relaxing and cool visit to Hollywood Pizza. What is better than a cold Coca-Cola and cheese sticks!!!  Then, we went to the grocery store and bought chocolate!!
An air-conditioned restaurant and time to pull out the electronics. :-)
Exhausted....exhausted....exhausted! That it what we feel at the end of today!

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