Another Volcano and a spot of cockfighting
20.08.2011 - 21.08.2011
The day after returning from Telica and getting gnarly pissed was painful and not much happened. However it was also Chris' last night in Nicaragua and so there was the obvious compulsion to get on the Flor de Caña again. However, feeling rather poor we had to settle for the four years. This combined with copious amounts of Raptor (a berry-flavoured Nicaraguan Red Bull rip-off) made me feel on top of the world for five minutes, then like death for the rest of the evening.
After about three hours sleep we got up to climb another volcano (one which I'd persuaded Chris to sign up to the previous day, before he headed off home). This volcano, the Cerro Negro, or Black Hill, was only small and took about an hour to get to the summit. It was a cone made of fine volcanic rocks, perfect for the method we would use to get down. Sliding down the side on a plank of wood. Kitted out in bright orange boiler suits and goggles we sat on the boards, laid back and let gravity take over. Unfortunately, as I weigh about the same as a chunky cat, my board failed to pick up much speed and kept veering off to the right. Ultimately Chris beat me easily despite coming off his board and flipping over onto his back three times. This put him in a pretty bad mood and he cursed me for persuading him to do thing at all. Oh well.
Back in León the three hours sleep and the volcano hike had caught up to me and I felt like death. Luckily, however, I'd also signed up to go to a cock-fight that afternoon where there would be an open bar, so all was not lost. I wasn't sure what to expect from the cock-fight, how seedy it would be, whether it would be truly authentic or aimed at gringos and how brutal the fights would be. We arrived halfway into a fight with both the cocks bleeding heavily, but it was soon all over as one fell to the floor, the other put a claw on its neck and began pecking at its eye. The owner of the defeated cock was quick to rush in and pull his bird away. The location of the fight was a small field in a residential are on the edge of town. And far from it being a seedy place, it seemed to be the Sunday entertainment for the local community who came to have a bit of a bet and drink a few beers.
There was a long wait for the next fight as two owners would agree a bet (in the absence of a betting office, the betting system was quite convoluted) and prepared their cockerels. The claw on the back of the leg which is used by the birds for fighting is removed and instead a small (1-2mm) blade is strapped to it. All in the intrests of fairness. When the second bout came around the tension in the air was fierce and scuffles broke out several times with one particularly angry individual. The fight got under way with a furious flurry of kicks and pecks and the intensity of the fighting continued to a few minutes until blood started to leak from cuts to the cockerels' neck and heads. One of the cocks came out of the first round far better than the other. The methods used by the owners in the short break between rounds to inject some more life into their birds were intense. The owner of the cockerel who had suffered most in the first round blew into it's nostrells, gave it beak-to-mouth and even fitted the whole head and neck of the bird into his mouth to suck off the blood that had been spilt.
The fight went on for three more rounds and although it was clear that one of the birds was well on top, the other would just not give in and so, after fifteen minutes of fighting, the fight was declared a draw. After the fight the proud owner of the almost defeated cockerel let us chat to him and he told us that despited the wide cuts all over his bird's head and its apparent inability to stand or even open its eyes, it would be back in the ring in about three months. Normally it would be sooner, but that day it had lost a lot of blood. So after the fight we left and although the fighting had been pretty vicious, the owners had shown a lot more compassion towards their birds than I had seen toward any other animal in Central America on my trip.
The bell chimes and the fight begins (this video isn't grizzly)