This post was originally written last Thursday, immediately after my first run in Nicaragua. Besides being great exercise, it was a learning experience. I intentionally didn’t run with any music so I was able to really take in everything around me. Here’s what I saw and heard.

Chickens. Roosters. Shanty houses with roofs of corrugated iron. Thin horses, one emaciated with an odd looking spot, perhaps due to malnutrition. People selling ice cream, cold beverages, flowers, plants, pieces of land. Pickup trucks (I learned to shut my eyes for the few seconds as they passed to prevent the inevitable dust from getting in my eyes). Tons of mototaxis (golf-cart like vehicles), including one with a huge Boston sign on the back and pimped out ones with either strobe lights or neon lights. Three men peeing in the bushes. Saying “adios” (it means goodbye but is used as a greeting) every minute to someone I passed by. A beautiful house for sale with flowers in the front yard. Clothing lines.

A mesmerizing double rainbow, arching before me on my return like an inspirational finish line. Man after man on bicycles, though there was one woman. Young children playing barefoot. Houses built on dirt. Groups of two or three young women walking on the side of the road. Busloads of people coming home from work. A group of men playing baseball in front of an unfinished fence, with a pink sheet behind home plate as a makeshift backstop. Old school buses, transformed into daily transport from city to city. Nonstop honking of cars, trucks and motos (still haven’t exactly figured out if honking means “hey,” “watch out/move,” “I’m coming up behind you,” “hey random white girl running,” “please note my existence,” or possibly just pure enjoyment of the honking noise). Pain in my knees.

A group of men yelling “anda! anda!” at me as I passed by. A steady stream of garbage along both sides of the road. Orange peels. Stretches of sidewalks, but mostly beat down grass on the sides. Two policemen managing traffic of a busy intersection. A young couple walking with a child in a stroller. A group of motos lined up to take people from a factory of sorts. Silence, except for the rhythmic thump of my shoes on pavement. Wonderfully timed drizzle as I close in on the rainbow on my return. Horse poop on the road. Groups of young men on street corners and at bus stops. A young girl helping her grandfather push a large wheelbarrow of firewood across the street. Three young men jogging uphill. A mutual nod of encouragement.

Banana trees. Four different churches with active afternoon activities, multiple singing groups. Crosses along the road, one with a collection of flowers in front of it. A family of all generations watching a telenovela. Quick bursts of Nicaraguan music as cars pass by. A curve of road heading uphill, lined with trees on both sides. Five solid minutes without any cars or people. Being outside as the sun set, noting “the golden hour” as the light hits the trees at the just the right angle that makes them glow.

Enjoying my own company, and continuing to learn about this fascinating place I now call home.

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