I awoke to the loud peeling of the church bells two blocks away. At first I thought it was someone’s alarm clock (the walls weren’t overly soundproof) and cursed them soundly when it went off again 15 mins later. I was yet to find out that the church’s bells are of an electronic type which is broadcast across town every 15 minutes. Why, I have no idea, as you couldn’t even check your watch by them as they were out by a few minutes.
I decided to have a wander around this interesting little town. El Sauce used to be a bustling railway town, but now the trains have stopped, this sleepy pueblo has diversified its industry to support the numerous fincas dotted in its stunning hinterlands. Pace of life here is of a more leisurely one, which was a pleasant change after the hectic cities of Chinandega and León. Señores and señoras ambled down streets, stopping regularly to chat to a neighbour who would be rocking serenely on his/her front porch. One couldn’t help but adjust to the pace of life here.
Wandering down one street, I came across a little comedor selling fresh blended juices. Choosing from the vast selection was the hardest part, but I threw my money down on a banana, pineapple and melon combination which did not disappoint. A little further on, I stopped a panadería (bakery) and randomly chose what ended up bring my first coconut bread of the trip. Walking along the outskirts of town with my little picnic was bliss.
As El Sauce is quite rural, an abundance of animals are free to wander the roads. I had to skip past a scavenging pig on more than one occasion and dodge the occasional cow. Hombres on horseback occasionally trotted through the maleé, thus completing the scene.
I ended up at the church of the never ending bells and sought refuge from the heat of the day. A service had just concluded and parishioners were slowly ambling out with a can of coke and a wrapped pastry of sorts. The pastry I got, but the can of coke left me scratching my head. I sat at the rear of the church for a bit, enjoying the coolness of the space and waiting for the church to empty so I could more respectfully take a gander. Like so many of the churches in these parts, ornate woodwork has been beautifully used to create simple but incredibly effective features. Long sheets of cloth hung vertically alongside posts and billowed gently in the breeze.
It was time to return to my little hotel and watch the crackers being let off in the street for New Year from the safety of the bar. A large family group was celebrating a young girl’s birthday and another group of hombres were enjoying the ambiance of the evening and encouraging the more adventurous of the group in his raucous dance routines. A pleasant and different way to spend New Year’s Eve.