Monday, October 29, 2007

Carts and Their Horses

I noticed upon my arrival to Nicaragua (as in, right away, first thing on the drive from the airport) the pervasive use of horse drawn carts. It was a sweaty April day (on average, April is the hottest month of the year) and the end of the dry season. Virtually every horse looked like it could keel over at any moment and I could easily count their ribs, from the car, at 60 mph.

Once the rainy season was in full swing, most of them fattened up, but with their drivers still cracking the whip, the last thing in the world I would ever want to be is a Nicaraguan horse.

Horse drawn carts in the tourist town of Granada are beautiful and have carriage wheels. Once you leave there, however, the real Nicaragua kicks in where everything has to be practical for survival. The carts are simple wooden boxes with rubber tires and a wooden board across the middle to sit on.

Pretty much everything is somewhat makeshift. Reflectors on the back of the cart made from the play side of a CD, blinders on either side of the horses head fashioned from cardboard and a pile of old cloths underneath the boards on their back to lessen the rubbing from the weight of the cart.

The driver in the video (who you don’t ever get to see because I was sitting thisclose and I didn’t want to get that kind of close-up with him) is the cousin of a friend. He's 15 years old and drives the cart around delivering milk and sour cream in the countryside where he lives. The horse is directed by the popping sounds you hear in the video that the driver makes with his mouth.

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