Greetings from Leon. Audrey and I just got done with a giant cockroach hunt that proved unsuccessful. Now she's convinced that one of the flying, three-inch cockroaches has crawled between the mattress and the box spring in her bed. We went so far as to turn the mattress upside down, both of us screaming, squirming, and hopping from foot to foot as we flipped the mattress onto the floor. I had my jacket in one hand ready to swat the roach and Audrey had a notebook. We looked like two weird, primitive hunters wielding our makeshift weapons. The whole time we couldn't stop laughing because we felt ridiculous. In the end we couldn't find the cockroach, it magically disappeared. It's probably lying in wait until the lights go off. I'm just glad it's in her bed and not mine.
We hitched a ride here early this morning. We left Esteli at about 8:00 am and made it to Leon by noon. Frustratingly, we had to wait about forty-five minutes for the first ride until a whole bunch of us got picked up by Sandis and climbed atop an old army truck. That was a fun ride. We made friends with the other hitchhikers. One guy was coming to Leon and helped us get to the empalme, that is, he showed us the proper place to stand at the intersection with the road to Leon. There, we got a ride in under a minute on the flatbed of a huge rig that was carrying just a few pieces of machinery. There was plenty of room on the back. There were also several Sandinista soldiers aboard and some lively women telling jokes. I made friends with a cute Sandi named Jose or Paulino, or something like that, neither Audrey nor I caught his name. I just stared at his full, sexy lips as he talked. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, had smooth, olive skin and was long, lean and muscular. He looked good in his uniform and probably even better out of it. He told us he was stationed in Somoto which is not too far from Esteli. He also said he was studying English and asked me if I'd help him. Ha, of course I said yes and he said he would be heading back this way next week and wanted to know if he could stop and see me in Esteli. Argh, he moves too slowly for me! Next week we might be dead. Audrey and I tried to convince him to come to Leon with us but he said he had to report back today.
Our third ride took only about two or three minutes to come along and drove us all the way to Leon. Hitchhiking was a great idea, it was fun talking to all those people. We checked in at the Hotel America which costs 2800 Cordobas per night, about three dollars. It's a pretty nice place, we have an indoor toilet and shower, there's even a ceiling fan in the room, luxurious by local standards. There are, however, one or more oversized cockroaches running around which are making us nervous. Audrey and I both hate bugs!
We decided to splurge on dinner at a restaurant called “Los Filetes,” a very ritzy place where I had Chateaubriand for 4000 Cordobas, an exorbitantly expensive meal in Nicaragua but only about $4 in US currency. After that, Audrey and I went to a cool Cuban bar housed in a beautiful old world plantation-style mansion where the waiters wore stylish white guayaberas and some of the customers wore wide brimmed hats and smoked cigars. I was transported back in time. The heat made me crave a cold beer, but once again the curse of “no hay” struck so we had to make do with Cuba Libres. After that, we strolled back to the hotel. I hope the roaches don’t get us tonight.