He asked us where we were from. We told him and asked in return. “I live in a tree in Africa.” We chuckled. Not that funny, but I’ve heard worse. We assumed he was joking, so we asked him to tell us about his tree. He did. Without cracking a smile. We asked what he was doing here, if he lived in a tree in Africa. He said it wasn’t difficult to get to. And we realized that we needed to try to find a way to end this conversation as quickly as possible.
I got on the bus, which, unlike the nicely painted chicken buses I took pictures of in Antigua, was just a plain old school bus, still painted its original yellow. There were a couple other gringos, actually a gringo and a gringa, sitting on one of the benches and asked them if this was the bus to Leon. They assured me that it was and I prepared for my first chicken bus experience of the trip.
Not more than a few miles outside of town, we started down a highway and let’s just say that there was some pavement between the potholes. I looked over the driver’s shoulder. We were making about 30 kilometers per hour. I figured there that the Manuel’s estimate of two and a half hours was just his way of being nice to foreigners, instead saying it would take four or five hours to get there and starting your trip off on the wrong foot.