We are nearing Nicaragua, going to Granada, the colonial city on the lake we loved on our last trip seventeen years ago.We studied Spanish then, staying with a local lady, La Doña Sofia.
I remember her sitting gracefully in her Nicaraguan rocking chair, woven wicker on mahogany. Each night we sat talking, on those comfortable chairs, on the street outside the living room. The streets were quiet and the lighting dim ,and it was hot, so hot, even at night. We wore shorts and t-shirts but she was elegant, carefully made-up, wearing smartly tailored outfits set off by a string of pearls.
She complained about the corrupt government. The Sandinistas were just as bad too,she said, those revolutionaries who took over from the dictator Somosa. Life in Nicaragua didn’t get any better after the revolution she said.
One evening, we sat outside, rocking, staring up at a full moon.
‘Are you going to Casa Tres Mundos tonight? There is a Sandinista folk musician playing’
‘No’ we answered. Knowing her politics we thought it a wise response but anyway we were broke, blowing our budget on Spanish lessons.
‘You should go, he’s very famous, not that I like his philosophy.’
Throughout the evening, she reminded us and when we weren’t moving, it must have dawned on her that we had no money. She lifted herself out of the chair, limped along the floral tiles through the dark rooms and returned,clutching crisp cordobas.She handed over the full cost of the tickets, dismissing our refusals.
‘My gift to you ‘,she said. ‘Go and tell me what you think’
She motioned up the street, calling a nearby horse and trap to come and collect us
It’s our abiding memory of Granada. Those political conversations in rocking chairs, La Doña’s kindness and the clip-clop of horses in moonlight. That’s why we’re going back.