Red Roof Tiles and Bricks Made the Old Fashion Way

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
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146
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Trip End May 10, 2011


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Where I stayed
Hostal Jerusalem

Flag of Nicaragua  , León,
Saturday, March 19, 2011

León to Nagarote, 54km
Temp, 38C.  Windy

Yogurt was bought for breakfast but it was bad and we had to hit the road on totally empty stomachs. (Boo! Hoo!) The map showed what looked like an easy straight route out of town. As we neared the edge of León, just as the street changed from blacktop to rough cobblestone, a car slowed and the Good Samaritan driver guided us a few blocks west, then south, the good way out of town. A river flows across the south edge of León and we needed to cross at a bridge. We did not know if our "plan A" way did not have a bridge or if it was just a bad road. But the help from the Good Samaritan took us on smooth pavement out of town to the main carretera to Managua.

We love riding in the coolness of the mornings. 25km south of León, the highway splits and one can take a northern loop, or southern loop into Managua. We picked the northern loop because there are more towns on that route. Later we learned the south route is the old road and is more worn out and potholed.... We had made a lucky guess and picked the better road. But we almost missed the turn. We did not see a road sign for Managua but we saw a caravan of freight trucks were turning left to the (north) at a big T-intersection. Where else would so many trucks be going? We stopped to ask and a young lady confirmed we should follow the way the trucks were going. Glad we asked! There was a hardware store on the corner where we could get a bite to eat but we decided to go on 7km more to the town of La Paz Centro where we stopped for decent breakfast in a small comeda on the main highway; coffee, eggs, rice and bean, soft new cheese,...and beet juice, yummy! La Paz also has some souvenir shops with esoteric cement figures to take home and plant on your lawn. 

The cooling breeze had ended and we now faced a stiff hot headwind. 100F (38C), plus headwind spells mega energy drain. We knew we would not be sailing on to Managua and would stay in Nagarote, 20 more km ahead. 

 
Large outdoor ovens with chimneys dotted the road's edges. A bit out of La Paz we found some in action and discovered they were factories for making red roof tiles and bricks. Dave stopped and took videos of the workers forming the tiles by hand and laying them in the sun to dry. The later step would be to bake them in one of the wood fired ovens.








Michelle waited and watched the action at another factory just up the road. She must have looked hot because one of the workers came over to chat and bought Michelle a baggie of fruit juice for refreshment. Yeah, it is hard, hot work for low pay. Sonya said she gets $2 dollars for a full days work. And here she was buying a drink for Michelle out of her own pocket!









We found Hostal Jerusalem in the center of Nagarote new looking, clean and a great deal with a fan room for just $16. They want $30 to run the aircon. It is hard to believe the extra energy cost can add up to that much more. But is common at Nicaragua hotels to charge a big premium for AC. Also on this stretch of road we passed two Hugo Chavez funded electricity generation plants. Nothing about Venezuela funds, just accolades for our benevolent father Hugo!


There is not much in the large town of Nagarote. But Dave explored town with his new friend Carlos who turned out to be a difficult pest. Oh well, such encounters happen now and then.
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