A short visit to Leon via Corinto
Those of you who have known me for awhile are aware that I’m very interested in the school in Corinto that has been Captain Albert’s special project so you can imagine my disappointment at his not being aboard to follow through at the school on this cruise.
The port call here was very short, time-wise, but we did join a ship’s tour to visit Leon, the nearest large city. While there we visited the Botanic Garden and took a short, quick tour of downtown. The tour left the port very soon after our arrival and we stayed on schedule all day, but we were the tour that arrived back late into port so the ship had to wait for us. I doubt that we delayed the departure by much, but we were later than all aboard, so the full complement of officers and the shore excursion manager were waiting at the gangway for us when we did arrive. To do more than just drive to Leon and come right back, this wouldn’t have been a day to go off on your own. The traffic coming back from Leon was heavier than expected I think; certainly when he could, the driver was going awfully fast and in my opinion, driving through narrow streets in town way too fast.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this tour. The time available at the port was too short to give it the time that was needed; your opinion might be different if you have more hours in Corinto. If you go into the city on your own allow extra time for your return; the road is mostly 2-way and large trucks will slow the speed on the road considerably. The one thing I did appreciate was being able to see so many varieties of housing along the way. Nicaragua certainly has the reputation of a “poor” country, but as often is the case, there are definite exceptions. We saw more than a few beautiful estates as we drove between Corinto and Leon—gorgeous grounds with large, modern homes surrounded by well-maintained walls and gates. In contrast, there were entire hillside “shanty-towns” at the other extreme. We saw extremes in industry too; a few new-ish, active modern factories and then many industrial efforts that were labor-intensive with older equipment.
If you stay around the port, you can walk through the Corinto streets; we’ve done that on our own on previous visits. The people are friendly, there is merchandise for sale, but this is a challenging place to live and to visit, in my opinion.
However, Leon has contributed a delightfully-ironic image for our photographic collection; it's the last image in the slide show. The scene was shot in a busy traffic circle, filled with busses, cars, trucks, etc. all circling, exiting and entering the circle in that confusing-yet-orderly fashion of traffic circles. Included in the mix was a horse-drawn vehicle. To my eye, that was a hardworking, down-on-his-luck horse. He was towing an open wagon, originally a bright yellow, probably, but now very faded. And the text on the wagon read . . . “Western Union.” Of course Western Union isn’t the essential service it once was, as the primary purveyor of urgent messages, but somehow I hope it hasn’t sunk to the level represented by this image!
Horse-drawn Western Union
Final photo in slide show; last paragraph in the narrative
HAL Shore Excursions
Butterfly Gardens and Leon
Blog Content & Website Design: Marney Wilde • Photographs by George Wilde