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Monday, November 29, 2010

Last Adventure in Nicaragua

Last time I was in Nicaragua, I was sent up a volcanic mountain on the back of a burro laden with now surely old-fashioned GPS equipment: up that mountain, on those six jaded burros, went a pack of five brothers and myself. Supposedly I had come to Managua to act as a translator for my father who had long tried to bring alternative energy to Nicaragua. More about this father of mine: he did not, in fact, accompany us up the volcano. We were equipped, instead, with a few machetes, dulled slicers meant to clear brush as we rode forward on the burros' backs. And just a bit more about this father of mine, now dead two months: a benign idealist, one who always wished to see the best in human nature, he thought he was giving me the ultimate afternoon experience and giving the brothers, who had worked with him for a while, a chance to chat it up with his American daughter. Or god knows what he really thought; that afternoon, he had to be imprisoned in his favorite small Managua hotel, the Hotel Cesar where the duena knew he loved the flan, in a series of unconscionably endless meetings. Meanwhile, the fruit of his loins got to have pure experience, on burros, heading up a mountain.

More about this mountain, then: we rode up not into the sunset but setting forth at a very practical moment in the morning, laden with fruit and some sandwiches. I had thought to bring one bottle filled with boiled tap water, and it gave off an intestinal gurgle from where it jiggled in the horse's saddle-pocket. Very early in the trip, machetes flying left and right to clear our path, we pulled off to a shaded plateau and sat and, companeros of the road, broke bread together. In some essential tic, at that second, I remained my father's daughter, filled with a supremely blind joy: I was one with the people! We were all employed in hard labor together!

I think, in the tradition of cliffhangers, I will adjourn here and continue what ended up being a life-or-death experience in the jungle on another day . . .

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