Friday afternoon I took off from work as early as I could get away with, went to pick up Laura, and we set off for her first real adventure in Central America! We drove to Didiamba, the town about 30 minutes from Managua, because the road over there is one of the prettiest in all of Nicaragua because there are so many hills, pueblos, and pina farms. After driving and seeing the cuteness of the town, we stopped at my favorite vendedor de pinas (pineapple seller) so that we could each enjoy Agua del Coco while sitting on the cute bamboo porch swings and talking with each other and the sweet family who owned the fruit stand…of course, we also purchased some pinas to support my new addiction….
Friday evening we hung out with Ruth and Eduardo at the mall for a bit and then went and saw a movie called La Misma Luna which was a really sad story about a family crossing the border, but it was a really good movie…especially since the whole thing was in Spanish and it only cost $2 to get in.
Saturday morning we started out by going to Casa de Café for breakfast…delicious breakfast…mi favorite desayuno en todo Nicaragua! Then we headed to Mombocho (the big volcano here) to hike around. Nothing too eventful happened during the hike, we just really enjoyed the view and the cool weather and the beauty of it all. Then came the canopy tour…and the eventfulness. It started out when I recognized two of the same tour guides as when I went before…I was being friendly I suppose and just was excited that they recognized me. However, I think it might be a bit more awkward for someone you “know” to strap a harness all up on your hiny than a stranger…anyway, we started the tour. Laura and I loved it! We were with a few other people who were pretty scared, so they kept calling us las campeonas (the champions). After about 3 cables I asked one of the guys if there were any monkeys there…he said of course there were, and he pointed them out to us a ways down. So cool! Then he offered to take pictures of them, so he took off on the cables and when we caught up with him, he had a full on National Geographic worthy 3 minute video on my camera of 5 Howler monkeys and even a baby playing in the trees! I was so pumped, I could have kissed him! Which leads to the rest of the excitement…on one of the cables they offered to go with us “Superman” style which means you are “flying” and the rope comes from your back instead of your front…and you go with a guide holding your legs….yes, it is definitely as awkward as it sounds, and I realized it after I was strapped in with the same guy as last time. Oh my, I tried so hard to fly fast down that cable! We got to the end and Romney, that is his name, was complementing my canopy touring abilities…and then ever so smoothly asked for my phone number….eek! I tried to play off that I was new here and couldn’t remember my number, however there was a definite awkward moment as I realized that he realized that I was so not being completely truthful…so then I just took off on the canopy again and hoped he wouldn’t push me off or something. AWKWARD! Of course, my incredible ability to make situations like that even more awkward than they already are really came in handy that afternoon…. Don’t think Laura was left out though, because she definitely had her own friend she was trying to stay away from…oh to be popular…and a gringa….
After Mombocho, we went to Catarina which is the town overlooking a lake. We walked through some viveros (nurseries) and then bought some Nica candy from a sweet little gramma at her little table. We ate dinner right over the lake and after we had eaten and our waiter was standing there taking our plates, he leaned over Laura’s part of the table to pick up several pieces of rice….with my newly acquired mastery of the Spanish language, I proudly initiated small talk by saying, “Ella es muy sucia!” Again…awkward moment as I realized that I just proudly declared to this man that my friend is very dirty.... The awkward moment lasted as I suddenly realized what I had just said, as Laura tried not to laugh, and as the man continued to clean up her rice mess…oh my! That night we went to the mall and just hung out for a while. It was such a good day!
The highlights of Sunday started when Laura and I created our very own Centro America fruit buffet for breakfast with fresh pina, pitahya, guava (which is really funny to eat because you crack open a big green pod and then eat the white fuzzy part surrounding the seeds) and also a mamba-jamba aguacate (avocado)….sooo good! Then we went to the Mercado Artisania in Masaya to buy souvenirs, etc. Oh, the best part is that I had no idea where I was going when we entered Masaya but after stopping and asking about 5 people for directions we made it:) When we first arrived, there was suddenly about 5 teenage boys trying to direct us where to park…very overwhelming as they also wanted to be our tour guides for the market. We politely declined and escaped. After a few hours of shopping around, we returned to the car and I held out my 10 cordobas to tip them (for a whole lot of nothing!) and one of the several guys by my car said, “oh, its nothing”…I thought, wow that is so nice of him! Then he scowled and said, “that is nothing…$5 to watch your car” At that moment I was just so overwhelmed with all the strange people by my car and his odd reaction that I just gave him $5 like a big dodo…but after we got in the car I gave him a really, really dirty look. Take that strange boys trying to scam the gringas!
Granada was our next visit where Laura and I just tooled the streets and enjoying the beauty and serenity of the old colonial town, as well as the cool drizzle as a storm moved in. After walking around for a while and going in a few of the old Catholic Cathedrals, we went and ate supper at the best ever El Zaguan. We were walking to my car after that and it was a bit dark and rainy….my car was on the right side of the road and we noticed a man sitting on some steps on the left. He was talking to himself, which really isn’t uncommon here for the homeless people so I was just ignoring him. We got almost to the car and he started saying, well, some things that he shouldn't have....and so we RAN to the car even though he hadn’t moved an inch. Once in the car Laura translated most of what he had said to us (which I had thought was to himself) and it was sooo not blog appropriate! Picture Laura and I hightailing it out of Granada laughing at the crude man with panicking hearts a bit creeped out by the weirdo…it really was funny. Then that night we went and hung out with Roger and Ligia and watched movies…super low-key evening, but very fun!
I just need to mention here that all this driving during the weekend was done…by me! Other than needing to ask for directions in Masaya, I got everywhere else just on my own…I don’t know if you can appreciate how big of a deal that is…but let me remind you: there are NO street signs…it’s a big deal, trust me:) Also another random thing is that Laura has really commented on my bug collection in my house…I suppose I have just come to terms with the fact that I don’t live alone, I live with about 15 different species of 4-400 legged creatures who just want a dry place to live…and are completely resistant to Raid. The great thing is that I really had sort of stopped noticing…soy Nica!
Monday Laura got stuck at Casa de Café for about 10 hours as I couldn’t get away from work at lunch…bad for Laura, but more really good time meeting with Javier and learning from him. As I wind down my project, I am just learning more and more although most of my learning is coming from my ignorance. Sometimes I just feel so dumb, but it is the good kind of dumb that precedes a lot of learning…and I am totally okay with that. Last night we went to Mi Viejo Ranchito for supper and hang out time and then to the VIP movie theater where we paid $6 each to sit in a La-Z-Boy recliner and watch Hancock…that is high living my friends!
Not sure yet what our plans are tonight, but we have got to show Laura as much Nicaragua as possible since she leaves tomorrow…we have had such a great time enjoying Central America this week and I have been learning so much from all her experiences with her Spanish classes and Latin American interests. All weekend we had such a blast testing our Spanish with various people and of course, listening to my disco compacto full of Espanol muscia. Best of all, we have plenty of random stories from the week…which we love!
Here is the memory verse:
Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.