Warmth & Friendliness

Nicaraguans might not have much money, but they are extremely wealthy in terms of warmth and friendliness.  Staying in the same place for a few days and using it as a base for our explorations has allowed us to forge small friendships.  We have developed a nice relationship with the couple who own the tiny corner store where we go several times a day to buy cold water or simple items like a bar of soap or a comb.  We are warmly greeted by the waiter where we go daily for our $3 lunches of chicken, rice & beans.  The elderly residents of the house next to our posada call out cheery greetings when we pass by in the evenings.

We particularly enjoy wandering the narrow streets of Granada after dark.  The nights are hot and humid so residents keep their front doors open and pull their chairs into the doorways or out onto the sidewalks to catch the cooling breeze.  The homes are tiny, sometimes a single room with a curtain dividing the beds from the livingroom area.  Some of the TVs flickering from the darkened, sparsely furnished rooms are black and white.  But because of the lack of computers and iPads and iPhones, people here seem more connected with their families and their neighbors.  The neighborhoods feel like genuine neighborhoods and we enjoy calling out “Hola!” or “Buenas noches” when we pass by and are rewarded with warm smiles and greetings in return.  Yes, Lake Nicaragua, dotted with hundreds of tiny islets, is beautiful (we took an hour and a half boat ride on it this morning and saw ospreys, herons, egrets and grackles), and, yes, Mombacho, the volcano just west of town, is impressive but as always, it’s the people we enjoy most when we travel…

And now for some more great TWB news.  Travel With Balls has been enthusiastically embraced by Lidia, the owner of Patio del Malinche, the posada where we’re staying, and she has arranged for us to go this afternoon to Barrio Solidaridad, a very impoverished neighborhood on the shores of Lake Nicaragua which floods during the winter rains every year.  We bought six more balls in the central market today, five of which we’ll give away in the barrio and one to keep in reserve in case there are kids in the central park this evening…