From Matagalpa I traveled north to a town called Somoto very near the border with Honduras. It had an entirely different feel than Matagalpa. Instead of a hilly city bustling with businesses and restaurants, Somoto is a flat city with a ranch-town feel.


On the “chicken-bus” between Matagalpa and Somoto. The name makes sense now… These buses are a really great way to travel hundreds of miles for a dollar or two and work surprisingly well.IMG_4635

The homestay Hiba and Tracy are staying at is pretty great, even though it has no wifi or cellphone coverage. Here Tray is translating a manual for a sterilizing oven she downloaded from Mandarin to English to Spanish so the hospital staff will have access to instructions.IMG_4580

Tracy re-wiring a surgery light.


While I had to hold it up…


And then I got to work on an AC wall unit with Hiba. This is the final product of us fixing it up before putting the cover back on. We worked on this because hospital staff got it out so that they would be able to put it in their workshop. Super nice!


What it looked like before. There was an AC tech that works in the hospital occasionally that did a great job teaching us about how the AC works (albeit in Spanish, I still did some reading after to make sure I understood correctly). We took every last piece apart, including the compressor, and then put it back together after cleaning, greasing, etc.IMG_4633

Then I spent Saturday traveling through the canyon in Somoto. Here is the view of the exit from the mirador. I can’t really say it was a hike, it was more of a “float.”


We basically floated down rapids and got tossed around and dunked a bunch by powerful water. It was a blast!… and the kind of thing you could never do with a tour group in America. I escaped with only one scraped knee.


Getting ready for the 10 meter jump. We have to jump here to avoid a rapid that was so powerful it made the pool below deep enough for jumping.


The end bit of the bat caves. It was a surreal and beautiful experience floating down the canyon while vampire bats swooped around and passed you by or clung to rocks over your head.




And the exit from the ground level. This canyon was a blast, easily one of the most fun things I’ve done in Nicaragua.


Then for Sunday Tracy, Alyssa, myself, and a random Dutch girl we met named Anna headed down to Estelí to explore the city and pay a visit to the rock carver Alberto. This was our first of many times hitch-hiking since, and it was a pretty cool way to enjoy the scenery.IMG_4671

Not a bad place to stop to add more water to the radiator…


And on the right is Alberto himself. He has spent nearly 40 years carving rocks on a cliff farther on with a nail and a stone.IMG_4692

Painted rocks.IMG_4677

Elephant and indentations he carved to allow plants to take hold on the stone.IMG_4683

What a view. This is like one of those places that will be discovered in 2,000 years after WWIII 🙂

From here I would head to the southeast end of Nicaragua to visit Seth and Kevin in Juigalpa.

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