Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nicaragua. Part 2. (of 2)

 We worked most of the time we were in Nicaragua.  But we left a couple of hours early on our last full day in the office and headed out to do a few tourist activities.  We were in Tipitapa (where the factory was located) and we headed to Mombacho Volcano Natural Park.  Mombacho is an extinct volcano that is now overgrown with vegetation, 50 species of mammals, 174 species of birds, 30 of reptiles and 750 species of flora.  In order to reach to top of Mombacho, you had to have a 4x4 vehicle (we were in a Jeep) and they even checked to make sure that we had enough fuel!  It was a challenging climb up to the top, at times the road was at least 45 degrees. On the way up we heard monkeys (unfortunately, didn't see any), saw lots of butterflies, flowers and birds, as well as some coffee plantations.  The view from the top was amazing!  These pictures do not do the view justice.  It was cool and breezy (a welcome change from the 100 degree heat!) and you could see Granada and Lake Nicaragua from the top.  

This is what got us to the top of the volcano!

Peering into the volcano.  
The view!

On the way down, we stopped at a local coffee plantation's shop for some coffee.  I'm saving my purchase for my coffee loving mom and her husband, but it smells amazing!  After we surpassed the difficult terrain, it started to get dark.  It was impossible to take pictures of this, but the fireflies started to appear.  There were  millions in the fields!  I can't even express how beautiful it was. I have always loved and been mesmerized by fireflies and seeing this many in one place, is something I will never forget!   Simply magical.

A Nicaraguan sunset.
From Mombacho, we headed to Granada.  (About 10 km away.)  Unfortunately, it was at night time and rather dark, but I could still see how charming this town was!  It's the oldest european-founded city in Central America (founded in 1524) and the 2nd oldest city in Central America!  We visited the Cathedral of Granada.  It was a night, so I only have pictures of the inside, it was so beautiful!  I love color and this church had a lot of it.  

Beautiful tile floor.  

After visiting the church, we stopped for a quick dinner before heading back to Managua.  We had an early flight in the morning.  Here are a few pictures of the street, around the square.  

Granada, Nicaragua at Sunset

I read about Nicaragua before traveling there.  I read that it was a frustrating, bewildering and most difficult to navigate location in Central America.  While that may be true, it was so much more than that.  Beautiful landscapes, beatiful people.  This is what I will remember.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Nicaragua. Part 1.

I'm back!  From Nicaragua!  I went there for work and that part went really well.  But I thought I would write about the more interesting part, the experience.  Traveling in and of itself is the best education.  It's how you learn that the way you live isn't the only way to live.  I went to Managua (population 1.5 million), the capital of Nicaragua.  It was once a fishing village and had been devastated twice by earthquakes, the first time in 1931 and more recently in -1972, killing 10,000 people.  Only recently has the city began to re-emerge.  Industry is coming there-manufacturing, bringing work for the people.  As you might imagine, there is a lot of poverty.  But among the poverty, there are rain forests and lakes-beauty all around.  The people are kind, loving and funny!  (What great senses of humor!)  These people are laid back.  From a business perspective, irritatingly so.  They say, "If you can do it tomorrow, why do it today?" So with that, here are some pictures from my Nicaraguan adventure!

 View from my hotel room.
 Statues were in the center of each roundabout.
 The local brew.  A few of these helped you forget how hot it really was.  (Triple digits each day.)
 Karaoke is a beloved pastime in Nicaragua.  (There are karaoke bars everywhere!)  Here, two of my Nicaraguan colleagues join in a duet!
 Another statue in the middle of a roundabout.
 Viva la revolution!  There was some political unrest, graffiti like this, everywhere.
 This was one of the only street signs I saw.  We went to Tipitapa each day-that's where the factory was.  No one really observed any traffic laws.  Maniacs on the road!
 A typical house.  It's unfortunate that we don't see more teal houses in the US!  I loved the iron work and color.  
 A typical restaurant.  Open air.  Brightly painted.  Disturbingly slow service!
 This was my typical meal all week.  Chicken, rice, salad, plantains.
 This is a native fruit, I can't remember what it was called.  The fruit was delicious!  Papaya and white pineapple!

 Roundabout statue.
 A lot of people tooled around in these little vehicles.
I'll write later this week about a visit to Mombacho and Granata!  I am thankful for safe travels and for the United States!!