Many of you know that ostensibly I’ve been looking for a place to retire overseas. My desire to travel keeps me from settling down, but now at least I have one truly solid destination in my heart – Leon, Nicaragua.
There are many places I’ve fallen in love with on my travels, but for one reason or another weren’t quite right. For instances, Chiang Mai, Thailand and Melaka, Malaysia and Potrero, Costa Rica. All eminently livable, and all brought me a lot of joy. However, the Asian countries present the problem for me of a deep need to be able to communicate with my neighbors on more than a surface level because I absolutely know I can’t master any of those languages. The cost of living in Costa Rica, while certainly far less that the US, is still a bit steep for me. But Leon is extremely affordable.
At the heart of the matter, is how comfortable do I feel in this city, and the answer is extremely. The people are very, very nice. A simple smile and “hola” nets you a return smile and more often than not a conversation of real interest. I’ll be struggling with my Spanish for a while, but I know I can master it and then I won’t be torturing my new friends with my bastardized Spanish anymore and I can become a real “amiga” to them.
The sheer beauty of both Granada and Leon can be a bit overwhelming. While Leon is not quite as colorful as Granada, it has a regal but worn quality that reminds me of an aged Gilbert Roland – movie star of the 40s and 50s who was my first “celebrity” crush. This city is definitely male and grandfatherly at that.
Like Granada, I had to always carry a camera. Otherwise. something amazing would be missed; whether a gorgeous old church or a little girl with her proud papa or just a splash of color on the side of an otherwise ordinary building.
I’ve left Leon, for the moment, but I may very well be back. I still hold out very great hope for the city of Cuenca in Ecuador, and, honestly, nothing is off the table. However, Leon is now at the top of my list.