Friday, August 7, 2015

Day 2: Masaya, Lago Cocibolca, Granada

El Museo del Nacional Volcán Masaya. We visited that place today, saw many beautiful views, and swam in the largest body of water in Central America. Carrie and I swam from the shore of the restaurant we had lunch at to Monkey Island (Isla del Mono).

Our day started at 7 am with a traditional Nicaraguan breakfast of: fruta, huevos con queso y plátano (tostones they call them here) con café y jugito de naranja.

Our driver, Reinaldo, is awesome. He let me draw him this morning. Le gustó mi dibujo de él.
He drove us to the National Park of Volcán Masaya. Two were inactive: San Fernando y el otro me olvidó el nombre. One volcano, Santiago (!!!) is semi-active. We all rode horses up the mountain to see the view, and it was all incredible. So many photos taken. We all freed our nipples for el Volcán Masaya.

Virgins used to be sacrificed at the top of the crater, still smoking to this day. It used to be known as "La boca del Diablo" by the Spaniards when they first arrived into the country (one hiker we met joked, "now I can tell my mom that I've been to Hell." Cool story bro). By the time they arrived, they made the natives stop performing their sacrificial rituals. Supposedly the scent of sulfur there was strong near the crater, but I didn't smell it much.

After that we passed through Granada (which looks so much like Puerto Rico and parts of New Orleans if they had a baby in Central America) to meet a man who took us on a boat through the Lake of Nicaragua. There were many isletas that dotted the vast body of water, and many wealthy people owned property on them. They look like paradise to live on. Some places were for rent, some for sale. We stopped at la isla del mono to interact with monkeys that lived there. According to the driver of the boat, the owner of that island is a vet who brought those monkeys to the island, and they have been living there ever since. Many tourists visit that island in particular to see and feed the monkeys. We then docked at a small restaurant along the shore of the lake, where we ate fresh caught fish from that day. As we swam we saw sardines jumping from the water to catch flies hovering over the surface. We saw cranes perched and flying over the water to eat the sardines. The cycle of life around us, a perfect ecosystem. So much inspiration, so much green.

This country I want to call an island, is so peaceful. I love the laid-back nature of things, of people just living. My phone died twice trying to take pictures/videos & sharing them on social media (Instagram @irasantiii). The fish was delicious, served with fresh coconut water right out of the coconut, later cut up into chunks so that you could eat the meat inside. There were many moments I wanted to sit and draw for hours everything around me. That's what I foresaw for myself, the easy life I wanted -- place myself in environments that inspire me to create. To find land of my own and save up for and just spend my days painting. I feel like my work, my aesthetic, has been resonating very much with this place. I still have yet to paint and do yoga.

After visiting the islands via boat (una lancha), we hung out in Granada for 2 hours. We passed through a mini flea market while we were there. You got a sense of the poverty in this country through passing through this market -- the smells of horse and dirt, the rugged demeanor of the people trying to sell their goods to provide for their families, dirty stray dogs everywhere.  I remember when stray dogs used to scare me. They still do, kind of.

Mosquitos chewed up my left forearm.

I've been taking pictures of all the food I eat and now I know why my parents documented every detail of their trips when I was little.

After our time in Granada we returned to la posada de Abuela, where we were staying in Masaya. Maddie, Carrie, Emma and I all went skinny dipping under the full moon. When will there be another time like this? Never. When's the next time I'll come back here? Who knows. Hopefully very soon.

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