El Castillo, at this moment

Lisa: Travelers fall in love with Nica and her people. This moment in Nicaragua’s development is really precious – accessible but not overdeveloped. We felt this very much at El Castillo.

Trying to describe this moment…
The vegetation here is mas o menos untouched and unbelievably gorgeous. Toucans, parrots, flycatchers, kingfishers, swallows and lots of noisy Montezuma Oropendola! (Ralph: Feels like Maun felt (frontieresque) in the mid-1980’s)

There are enough fish in the river to feed all the locals and tourists (selling of fish is prohibited) and make Ralph a very very happy hombre. We ate our own caught fish for breakfast and supper tonight.

The transport infrastructure is basic but improving. And – no roads to get here yet = no cars.

The paved walkways are cleaned of poo. Pigs are tied up and dog breeds are, somewhat surreally, recognisable.

Although there is a sound tourist infrastructure, pretty much no English is spoken by the locals. Having to speak Spanish makes a huge difference. btw Bea talks in her sleep. Although it wakes us all most nights, at least we know from her exclamations- she’s started to dream in Spanish! And sometimes I feel as if I have the whole Spanish language in me, ready to pop up and out one day, perfectly formed, like a turtle from muddy water.

People have been so good to us, so…personable (is there a better word…how low our expectations that to be a person is commendable these days.) There is not enough money flowing in for grubby, grabby materialism to manifest yet.

We’re at the red X on the map below.

Obviously it’s not uncomplicated – rows of quite sweet round red Claro! satellite dishes all face east on the rooftops, pretty much the exact direction Spanish canons would have faced to ward off pirates from the Caribbean a few hundred years ago. Parrots perch on the big satellite tower in the picturesque cemetery on the top of the hill.

El Castillo is the last town before the Rio San Juan meets the gnarly Caribbean. The pressures of development are pretty inevitable, forging their course downstream. In the meantime…we beat on, boats against the current…? (My spatial awareness is not great – god knows I struggle with currents, upstreams and downstreams… but…you know…)

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