Country number five – Nicaragua

The Sonati hostel in Nicaragua, Leon has WiFi, a hammock, a small pool, is eco friendly and costs the grand total of £4.20 a night. Looks like I’m set for the next couple of days.

I started off my Sunday as one should – lounging in the comfortable hammock before wondering around town in search for some breakfast. I found the market (indicative of every Central American town, along with a park, police station, government building and church). This market was pretty average – I am yet to find one as big, colourful and extensive as the Antigua market. Nonetheless, I found the hot food section and sat down for some grub. Yes, you guessed it: beans, rice and eggs was on the cards – I cannot complain too much as it cost just 75p for a filling start to the day.

I walked around Leon looking at the architecture, shops and street stalls. It is a lovely little colonial town. The weather was around 36 degrees Celsius so I was pretty keen to get some shelter and have a seat after my huge plate of bland breakfast. It was Sunday and I heard some singing from the church. I decided to sit in on the service, hide from the scorching sun and learn about the Catholic culture in Nicaragua. It was a jolly affair, with signing, people in dresses and priests saying some words. There was lot of standing up, followed by sitting down, rather like in synagogue.

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After a rest and contemplate in a beautifully elaborate church I was ready to take a bench in the park and get stuck into my book. I managed to read for a little while before practising my Spanish with a friendly homeless man. He was collecting plastic so I offered my smoothy cup – he was most grateful.

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As he wondered off I couldn’t help but feel sorrow for this poor man. How did he end up on the streets collecting old plastic? It is most surreal how one moment I will see something so stunningly jaw dropping, like an active volcano, crystal lake or decorative church and the next I will whiteness a profound injustice such as poverty, environmental destruction or animal cruelty. Travelling is teaching me more than I have ever learnt from a textbook and is opening my eyes to different cultures and ways of life. I knew I would see some majestic places but I never thought I would see such hardship accompanying them. The next time I stress about my life, desire a material possession or complain about wanting more, I will remind myself that I indeed am extremely lucky. There are so many which do not have the security of a roof over their head and do not know where their next meal will come from. Living in the western world we hear about the world disasters on the news but it’s not till you see them first hand that their extremity sinks in. Traveling really widens your perspective on global matters and makes you grateful what you have.

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