Today we decided to take life by the tail and have an adventure. What a glorious day we enjoyed with our new friends Marlene & Luis.
We met up at 8 am near town square and promptly spent the next half hour trying to find the bus station. My leg has been seizing up so walking was difficult (but as the day wore on it let up considerably). We eventually found the "bus station" which is actually more like a deserted parking lot. Bus reps were yelling out their destinations and Luis (ever our faithful guide) was able to figure out which of the mass of buses we needed to take to get to the markets in Masaya. It was a little pricey though.....C$9 each.....actually works out to about 45 cents! Now remember, you get what you pay for as we quickly found out as we climbed aboard the ancient school bus which then proceeded to stop ever two blocks to try and get additional passenger, with the rep leaning out the back yelling out our destination to any passerbys. It was hot and sticky and eventually standing room only. But the windows were all down and the scenery beautiful. For a people watcher like myself, this is heaven! We drove by a group of at least 20 witnesses walking along the highway preaching.
We got to the market in about 45 minutes (we likely could have walked faster) where the cleaning staff were apparently on strike! Mass garbage around the floor to walk over. Fortunately this was not the part of the market we were shopping in, so we climbed over the piles and headed toward the indoor local artisan section. What an exciting, vibrant place. And the money I could have spent! Bargaining was fun. From this market we ended up with a handmade hammock which we paid C$180 for ($9!!) And a beautiful wooden salad bowl with six serving bowls for C$250 ($12.50). We then grabbed a horse and buggy to take us to the "old" market which is housed in an old castle. Much cleaner, less congested and much pricier, this market was nice to look at but had much less to offer. Nikki bought a lovely scarf and a set of little ceramic animals with a wooden bowl to keep them in.
But the fun had only just begun, from here Luis with his fluent Spanish & local looks managed to get us all a cab for C$60 ($3) to Catarina for lunch. This was a 15 minutes drive, straight up. This town sits on the edge of an dormant volcano that now houses a lagoon of chrystal clear water with apparent healing properties. The view was extraordinary and this is the dry season so things are not overly green. On the way to the restaurant Gary finally managed to find himself a "sombrero" for C$100 ($5) which he looked quite dishy in if I do say so myself (well someone has to!). We ate at a local restaurant that was more pricey than good after which we shared an ice cream cone with a street dog that I would have loved to bring home!! More to come on the Lagoon as we are heading there for the day on Friday for swimming and I’m hoping a massage!
We were all now toast, literally, as it was a very hot humid day and so we dragged ourselves back through town back down to the main highway where we waited for a bus to come by for Granada. No real schedule, just when ever it comes...this is Nicaragua after all! The bus came by about 20 minutes later and perhaps we should have waited for the next one! The driver was crazy! At one point he cut off a transport truck who then promptly came back around him and pushed the bus off the road. We leaned precariously over for a moment but the driver pulled us back onto the road. It all happened so fast, it was more exciting than scary! He speed along at speeds that no rickety old bus should do and eventually wheeled us into Granada with a few extra white hairs, but all in all, exhilarated from such a lovely day!
So that was our first day out of Granada. We loved it and look forward to the next trip to Masaya. We are also really excited about Friday and going to the Lagoon on our own for the day. We are slowly finding our feet. Tomorrow is a service day so we will need the reward ;) We saw a dead rat on the street in town the other day and a dead bird the day before. And some of the street dogs we see are heart breaking. But over all, life here is much the same of anywhere else. People struggling to survive and do the best the can with what life has given them.
So I’ll sign off for now. We are still looking for new digs but are confident that we will find what we need. I’ll update you about that as things progress.
P.S. I started my first study in service today (now the next day) very exciting.