|Travel Photography Isthmus
Like anyone we talked to his age, Ramón believes in the inevitability of dollars delivering his country into prosperity. “Daniel Ortega doesn’t understand that at all,” he says, referring to the former leader of the Sandinistas, the upcoming elections.
”Isn’t Ortega out of the picture these days?” I ask.
”No way,” Ramón says. “They made this special law so that he can’t get elected again, but he says, ‘I will rule the country anyway through my influence.’”
”But why the Sandinistas?”
“They pretend they aren’t the Sandinistas anymore, they try to separate themselves from that. But really, they are the party of Daniel Ortega, that’s really what they are. The Ortegas!”
“And this other guy?”
”I don’t like him either very much. For Ortega, it’s always about the Socialismus, you know. To the other guy, it’s all about capitalism. I like this new moderate party, because they understand capitalism, the socialism and tourism.”
We pause on the road; I’m huffing and puffing. We spot a blue-crowned motmot, which is blue. And green, and lime, and black, and yellow and red, with a very long tail. The bird is Nicaragua’s national bird, which seems fitting. This reminds Ramón of a joke that he says is a Nicaraguan favorite.
“A Nicaraguan and a Jew are walking along the street. The Nicaraguan suddenly starts beating at the Jewish man. 'You killed Jesus!’ he said while he was pounding on the Jewish man." Ramón enacts the pounding, for effect, and then delivers the punch line.
"But then the Jewish man said, 'No, stop! That was many years ago. I did not kill Jesus!'”
When our laughs appeared insincere, Ramón says the joke is funny to Nicaraguans, because, “as a country we are very ignorant about our religion. Nicaraguans know the book, but they don’t know about Israel and the Middle East.”
We clamber up to a flat surface in the road, where an old man without front teeth is sleeping under a tree. He wakes and greets us, and offers us each a PowerAde energy drink. We ask him if he’d be willing to drive us to the top of the volcano.
Of course he will, he tells Ramón. We are relieved, and the cold drink makes life momentarily much better. The old man starts to close up his facilities, when a young woman appears on the road above us. She is short, and her skirt is short too. Her shoes maybe not appropriate for the steep cobblestone.
The old man stops in his footprints, and tells Ramón that he can no longer drive us to the top of the volcano. You see, he says, that young woman is his girlfriend, and he intends to sleep with her.
We thank him for the drinks, and he waves us off.