From Granada to Leon

I was alone
on the road again. Left beautiful Granada and my soar legs after hiking the
volcano, and hopped on a chicken bus to Granada. With the surfboard between my
legs, two cool old ladies with cookies on my left and a nice young guy on the
right, the little van drove away. I was happy to have my board so close to me
and not cracked between the doors behind me. They will push and push stuff into
vehicles into it fits, but don’t do that with my board, please. It got really cosy
and hot, but also fun – like every (chicken bus) ride is.

Two hours
later, covered in bags, I was trying to find a place to eat at the bus terminal
in Leon. But, not unnoticed by taxi drivers of course. “You can eat in the town
too,” they said. I was hungry and told them I wanted to eat now –no, I didn’t
scream. I wanted to eat good local food for really cheap at this chaotic
terminal, sitting next to other locals having their meal, also having to sit on
a bar seat watching the ladies cook or watching the news on the television in
the back. I didn’t want to be dropped of in one of the backpacker’s or fancy
restaurants, which are pretty much the same in every place and are also more
expensive. The places where the local people think I would like to eat, since
I’m a tourist. I like to have a pizza, a hamburger, pasta, or just some more
fancy meals sometimes, but the local food is just the best food and the
cheapest. Just try to avoid places where hygiene is hard to find..

One bici
taxi –taxi on a bike- was so consistent that he offered me to take me to the
centre for one dollar, and if it wasn’t as far as he said, I didn’t have to
pay. So I said, okay, but I have to eat first. Now, almost screaming. You don’t
want to meet Marlissa when she’s hungry, you know. On the corner was the cutest
little comedor. An open kitchen surrounded by bar tables and high chairs, with
in the back a television and in the middle five hard working and laughing
ladies. I let them stuff my whole plate with food: chicken, gallo pinto (rice
with beans)- platano (sweet cooked banana) and salad. People sometimes look at
me eating, probably wondering where it al goes. Or maybe they just look because
I’m blond.

Then the
questions started. They didn’t had a lot of tourists at that comedor which
sounds as music to my ears for me. But, it could also mean that it be food to
get sick from. But, if they weren’t cooking, they we’re cleaning. These ladies
knew how to do things for sure. “Where are you from?,” is the first question
and then they want to know your age, which is followed by the questions
involved around boyfriends, husbands and traveling all alone. They all had
boyfriends, or husbands and kids, and some of them were younger then me. I wasn’t
surprised by it anymore. It’s just the way it goes here. Not having a boyfriend
makes you weird, so I’m weird, I guess.

One of
these girls was standing there perfectly for a good photo. My camera was
already screaming to get out, so I did a little comedor women photoshoot. These
ladies are so cool. They work hard, but they can laugh even harder. A lot of
times I feel embarrassed by my loud laugh, so when I first heard some Latina
women laughing harder then I do, I felt I just found my kind of people. I can
be loud Marlissa here all the time and people love it.

They wanted
to see pictures of me, so I wrote down my name so they could look up my
facebook page. They liked my pictures, but they got even more excited when they
saw the blond guy standing next to me in the background picture. “Es tu
novio?,” (Is this your boyfriend?), they asked. “No, no, es mi hermano!.”, I
told them it was my brother. “Uhuuuu, tu hermano….,” staring at the screen
while their eyes got bigger and bigger and their faces got closer to the
screen. I started laughing and so they started laughing. Not only latino’s, but
also latina’s like blond.

I was almost
finishing eating and then this crash was shown on the television, a crash of a
Chinese truck and a bicycle. They all looked at the screen like something
really uncommon happened. All I could think was: how can they be so shocked
when just 10 meters away from this comedor, there are buses, cars, bicycles and
people are probably getting accidents everyday? The traffic in Central America
can be the worse.

Then it was
time for me to go. The taxi guy was still waiting for me -he chilled with me
and the comedor ladies. The board had to go on the top and that was fine. As I
just sat down in the interesting vehicle, loud romantic music was entering my
ears. The taxi driver just had put on a Romantic Spanish song and let it blow
up the iniest tiniest speakers –with so much power- just under the roof, which
was above my head. I felt every person at the bus terminal just turned towards
us, towards the place where the romantic tunes were playing. Was this song on
purpose? A joke? Or does he do it all the time at blond girls because they
liked it? Well, I didn’t know why he did it, but it was funny as hell. I
couldn’t hold it in and I just burst into laughing. Even though the music was
loud, you could probably hear my laugh too. I’m sure actually, because the
comedor women were all gathered at the back of the comedor to watch me go -and
to laugh with me. It was hilarious. I felt embarrassed, like the blond tourist,
driven around with her three bags by a local taxi. Before we drove away he had
to make a turn –which was one of the largest in my life. Thank god he changed
the song at some point..

We crossed
chickens, avocados, pineapples, tortillas, bananas, shoes, shirts, lamps –we
just crossed the market. We drove over tons of trash, feeling the bike shaking
driving over another mountain of plastic, smelling the gasses leaving the old cars,
hearing voices promoting bananas or sodas, looking into old souls and the young
with curiosity, seeing everything just happening like it had no end. The voices
became softer, the sun was getting stronger and the music was improving. I had
some nice chats with the taxi driver about the city. Like almost every taxi
driver I met, he was quite interesting in me and me having a boyfriend or not.
I considered lying about it, because it can be exhausting after a while. I
didn’t, but may be should have. He was nice, but he asked for my number for
more then one time. His eyes were laid on me while I was doing all the carrying
of my bags into the hostel.

The hostel
was nice and quiet. The bed felt comfortable and for the next half hour I just
laid there. Trying to get rid of the heat –which is impossible in Leon- and
thinking about what happened today. I only went from one place to another and
already had some new , cool stuff cross my path. While getting on a shuttle
takes you from A to B with AC, without lots of people – these unpredictable
chicken bus rides, bici taxis and everything in between are just priceless.

little trips are like little adventures, because you can never predict them.
It’s not a routine job, it’s nothing daily, and it’s not something planned –
which make you go into this auto modus without any consciousness. It’s
something that’s different every time you experience it, it’s something outside
your comfort zone, it’s something exciting or even scary, it’s something you
can’t predict – which will make you push to think, contemplate and be more
conscious. Without knowing what will happen, you will be feed by energy and
feel more alive. This unknown path may not be the easiest way, but it will be
the way that it’s worth.

Using Format