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Condega's, Pre-columbian Museum which has a good collection of pottery including classically shaped and elaborately painted bowls. There was much speculation as to where the pre-columbians got their colours, as we're pretty sure it wasn't from a pottery supply house.
After that we drove up the hill to look at one of Somoza's planes that was shot down by the Sandinistas during the revolution. Quite a prize for this northern town who refused to cooperate when the government in Managua wanted the plane as their own souvenir. Last year the plane still had a few holes torn in it and we could climb up on the wing to peer inside the windows, but now it has been cleaned up and put on a higher pedestal so that all we could do was look at it. Beside the plane there's a new 3-storey lookout platform that shows off a great view of the valley below, where two rivers overflowed into each other during Hurricane Mitch and flooded the whole area.
gorditas ("fat ladies") and this one was reading Geist! The statues (there are 20 in all) are the work of the local stone carvers and each one depicts "women's work." We followed the statues to San Juan de Limay, a sleepy little town of bicycles, horses, dogs and roosters (more on these later) and had lunch at what looked like an ordinary house but turned out to be a comidor.
That night we stayed at Casa Baltimore, a well-worn old house owned by a non-profit group in Baltimore, Maryland and my favourite place to sleep in Nicaragua. Reminds me of the villa in "The English Patient." We slept on canvas cots on a covered patio and washed up in a roofless cement enclosure in the middle of the courtyard, halfway to the outhouses.
Despite barking dogs and crowing roosters (the dogs wake up the roosters and then the roosters wake up the dogs), we managed to get some sleep but in the middle of the night some of us were awakened by Maritza who had heard someone breaking into the house and was calling out to our driver, Ivan, and walking up and down the patio stomping her feet. Ivan the Brave investigated, going through the few empty rooms with Maritza close behind him, and then he heard the noise too and opened the street door to tell an intoxicated man to stop banging on our door. Just to be safe, Maritza put a stout stick from the courtyard beside her bed before she went back to sleep. In the morning Mike concluded that there were more roosters than people in Nicaragua and Robert, who had slept through all the excitement, confessed that the caretaker of the place had warned him about the drunk who might bang on the door.