Estelí

As I decided not to do the Miraflor Reserve tour but had already paid for the night at my hostel, I had an extra day in Esteli in which to poke around as well as get some things done I needed to do. First off it was breakfast and coffee at my regular where I made enquiries about where to find a good hairdresser. There comes a point in one’s trip where one needs to address the issue of regrowth in one’s hair and throw a heap of chemicals at the problem. I used to really stress about getting my regrowth done in Central America, however, having had it done now four times in four different countries with good result, I am a bit more relaxed about it all. I get my hairdresser back home to write down the colour combination and formula and hand that to the local hairdresser.

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The salon I was directed to was able to help out, however, had no water at that particular moment so suggested I come back in a couple of hours. Another job I needed doing was getting my travel sandals re-stitched as the canyon trip the previous day had not been kind to the job done on them in Leon. I found a shoe shine señor who also did running repairs and sat on his stool while he worked his magic on my sandals. As I sat, several other señors came by to have their shoes polished up. I was astounded at how these shoe shine señors could make the most scuffed shoe look amazing. My shoe shine señor asked if I wanted my sandals to undergo the same treatment and I readily agreed. After all they are leather and should come up nicely. As it was, they ended up looking almost as new and I pranced out of the Parque Central in my shiny sandals.

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I still had some time to kill before I needed to return to the hairdresser so decided to check out the much touted Buffet Castillo which was closed first time I tried. This time, however, the place was humming and I waited in line with other locals. Food was served from large Bain Maries and one paid for it at the end of the counter, cafeteria style. I found a table and tucked into a most delicious meal. There is a reason that the locals crowd here at lunchtime and I was glad to have experienced it.

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By this stage it was time to return to the hairdressing salon and see if the water had been restored. All being good, I handed over my little card and let the hairdresser work her magic. I was happy the water stayed on until it was needed for the rinse process or I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I treated myself to a blow wave and swanned out of the salon with soft, silky locks (all the same colour) for only AUD32! Happy days.

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I still had time to have a bit more of a poke around Esteli so headed straight for the 1823 Catedral. There outside, stood a young girl in a pink gown accompanied by her mother, grandmother and two young attendants also in pink. This was a quinceañera ready to enter the cathedral to be presented to society as a woman. This practice of girls celebrating their fifteenth birthdays in such a manner is common throughout Latin America and is similar to a debutante ‘coming out’. The girls are escorted down the aisle of the church by their mothers to a special mass which is followed by a celebratory reception afterwards. They are commonly quite grand affairs if the family can afford it.

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One of the things Esteli is famous for is its street art in the form of murals around the city. My last job for the day involved checking the bus timetable for where I wanted to go the next morning, as I was heading into a more remote section of the country and fewer buses plied these routes. I chose a different route to the bus terminal to see what murals I could find en-route. As it was getting dark by this stage, I made a note of ones I liked so I could take a photo of them the following day. At the bus terminal, I found an hombre that worked there and made enquiries as to when the particular bus I was seeking left the terminal the following day. He was busy chatting up a local girl and paid scant attention to my query but confirmed the times in my guidebook were correct. Thus armed with the information I needed, I headed back to my hostel for my last night in Esteli.

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