Title: I'm enjoying this place...
Location: Granada, Nicaragua
Ahhh, Granada. Two weeks here and I feel like I have been here a lifetime. Walking down the streets I run into familiar faces and stop to chat about the day's events, en route to my favorite cafe for a slice of carrot cake and people watching on the Parque Central. It's amazing how quickly you can feel settled into a place.
I can scarcely believe it was already two weeks ago that I landed back in Granada. From the moment the four of us who were traveling together got off the bus, I knew I would be here much longer than my anticipated 4 day stay. The streets were alive, people everywhere, and music blaring from every fruit stand, stationery store, and pirated CD vendor. Shoe repairmen were scurrying away on their machines to repatch soles, women carried baskets of bread on their heads to their market stands, and every car that passed was a taxi driver honking their horn to try to drum up business. Moving into the Parque Central we heard merengue and salsa blasting from every corner of the plaza and walked past the countless vigoron and raspado stands, past the jewelry and vase sellers, until we ended up in front of the mighty cathedral on our way down Calle La Calzada. Apparently there was a big lakefront fiesta going on that weekend, which we discovered when we were turned away from 4 different hotels on account of no vacancy. We landed at the Hospedaje Central, a huge den of courtyards, hammocks, private rooms, and dorms. Thus began two weeks of making friends, Spanish lessons, seeing the Nica culture in action, and living the Granada nightlife.
The first week I was pretty ambitious to take in the sights, notwithstanding a brief bedrest due to a stomach bug. The whole Granada experience would have been but one percent of the fun I had were Megan Crozier not involved. I met this girl on the Volcano Maderas hike and she is involved in all my greatest memories in this town. We also made pals with Jenny, bob, and Johnny and made countless memories goofing off with them as well. The first days we spent checking out the markets, shopping, dancing, laying out by the lake, swimming at Laguna de Apoyo, daytripping to Masaya, and trying to ignore the constant hissing and whistling with grace.
Masaya was one of the best nights I've had in Central America, for I finally got a taste of culture on my trip. En route to the Mercado Viejo for the Jueves de Verbena, Megan and I stopped to eat in the park and watch a crew of 16 year old locals breakdancing in the main square gazebo. After they gave us a show, we headed on to the real production. The folklore music and dancing they had was incredible; live bands and beautiful costumes and masks....the show went on for hours, and all to the tune of 60 cents. And as if that weren't enough, the markets sport amazing art, leather handicrafts, beautiful costumes, masks, and everything else under the sun that you could possibly want. If I weren't carrying everything in a backpack, I would have bought a million things there. It was that night, amidst the live music and the mostly Nicaraguan crowd getting down and dancing, that I knew I need to return to Nicaragua again one day for an extended period of time. Something captured my heart that night.