Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Nicaraguan flower

Exhausting, fascinating day trip to Nicaragua yesterday. It was not what I expected. Got back to Tamarindo last night, had a bit to eat and fell into a deep, tropical sleep. These are some first edits.

I expected the country to be rather scary from the alarming travelers advice page published by the U.S. State Department. We only saw a bit of it, but it looked at least as prosperous as Costa Rica and the roads were way better. Edwin, a law student from the town of Rivas who was our excellent guide, said that English and dancing were compulsory in the schools. However, he also told us that the economy is dependent on exports to the U.S. so when things are down for us, Nicaragua suffers.

We took a boat ride out of the beautifully preserved colonial town of Granada, about 30 miles from Managua, on vast Lake Nicaragua. That part of the lake is full of small islands that were literally blown out of the nearby
Concepción Volcano. That's a frightening concept - great chunks of lava big enough to become islands hurtlinng through the sky. Edwin picked something from a low-hanging tree that looked like a long, waxy bean, spread it open and revealed the flower in the top picture. Many locals will only get married when it is in bloom.

He told us that public transportation is bad. Many vehicles, like the one below, are former Texas school buses. There is a state law that they can only be in service ten years. The Nicaraguans buy them, fix them up and use then until they disintegrate. If the inside is full, people ride on the back or top.

Next, some local industry. A woman rolls fine, hand-made cigars and a sugar cane truck lumbers down the road. They grow three crops of sugar a year. Some of it is used for
Flor de Caña rum, their highest quality.

The following two pictures are of Masaya Volcano, near Granada and Managua. It is active in the sense that it emits gas and occasionally some chunks, although the last big blow was in 1772. Vehicles must park facing the way out in case a hasty retreat is needed. Edwin told us to spend not more than ten minutes at the overlook because of the sulfurous gasses. We followed his advice but still felt the sting in our lungs for another hour.

The man in the bottom photo is Daniel Ortega, the former Sandinista dictator and now elected president of the republic. The center-right had controlled the government for some years after Ortega was ousted, leading to a period of political stability and growth. However, that party split in two (Edwin said that the Sandinistas planted fifth-columnists in it to push the break-up) and Ortega was re-elected. This summary is simplistic; you might want to look at the link on his name.

Today is a lazy day, nothing scheduled. As I've mentioned, I don't do nothing well. I'll probably edit some more pictures of Nicaragua.

Public Transport In Nicaragua

Cigar Rollers In Granada 2

Sugar Cane Truck

Masaya Volcano 1

Masaya Volcano 2

Meet Daniel Ortega


cieldequimper said...

I'll bet you were exhausted. Fantastic slices of life though.

Olivier said...

superbe serie, le paysage est somptueux on doit se sentir tout petit

John @ Beans and I on the Loose said...

Great portrait of the woman at work on something.

Carraol said...

Great news update, the Masaya images are really impressive! Saludos.

s.c said...

Wow. Great shots to give us an impression on how the living is over there.

William Kendall said...

That volcano is impressive!

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Fab images Bob, interesting post. Sounds like you're having a great time.