Granada Travel Blog› entry 19 of 43 › view all entries
After coming origianlly from Antigua then stopping for a night in San Salvador we finally arrived in Nicaragua at the capital Managua. NIcaragua was the poorest country in central america. This was quite visible after being here for just ten minutes taking the taxi from the ticabus terminal to the main bus terminal. There were just huge areas of people living with nothing more than black bags to shelter them or at best maybe some metal sheath to protect them from the elemements. The capital just looked so unstructered with people everywhere, just sitting around on the streets. We didnt remain in the capital long. Just 20 minutes after getting off the ticabus we jumped on a crowded local bus to take us to our destination of Granada, the most developed and cicilised area of Nicaragua. The bus took a bumpy detour as the main road was closed for works. We took a detour through small dusty local villages. Again it was clear to see how poor the country and the people that occpied it were. Most houses being very basic, probably lacking clean water maybe even electricity. We made it into Granada finally and found somewhere to stay. The hostel we origginaly wnated to go to was full but just dwon the road we had found a nice place with en suite bathroom and TV. Bad point was that we were on the main pavement so anyone could just see through our open window when walking past. The netx day we had a looked around the small city. Although very small and poor compared to most countries it still boasted some beautifull old colonial buildings such as churches, houses and cathederals. Aswell as some beautifull architecture the twon also had a very pretty central square with one side lide with horse drawn carts, i think for the tourists more than anyone. A 5 min walk from the square lied a huge lake. We took a walk down the shore of the river. The shore was just lined with old rubbish, with the odd cow walking around. Just set off the shore sat a few old parks and lots of other buildings that looked derelict or just very disused. Altogether not avery nive place, it didnt even make our pictures that was how crappy it was. That night we met up with Henrik who had found us after hearing our voices as he walked past where we stayed on the main pavement. We went to watch the sunset with him in a bell tower where I could not resist to pull the rope for the bell. The following day we went to visit the markets of the nearby town of Masaya. One market having nice more expensive souvenirs also other hand crafted garments and other nicer items. With the other market pretty much what like most markets are like in cental america. A maze of different stalls selling anything you like. The quality usually pretty crap but this represented in the cheaper prices and being able to usually barter the item down. Myself and Katrina enjoyed just strolling around the different markets in cental america, is nice to just spend a day even if not buying just looking around the hundreds of varied stalls playing the bartering game on the calculator when you do want to buy something. While in Granada we stayed another day extra so we could do a your wth a local charity organization of the nearby school and village, of how most the people live in Nicaragua. We met at the office with the 2 western volunteers who were going to be showing us around. It was just the four of us, myself and Katrina and the 2 volunteer guides. They had paid so they could come out and work volunterring in the charity. They helped in the schools and with other activities. Our first stop was to be shown around a school just a short cab journey out of town. The first thing I noticed about the school was the large metal sheath to the primary school was just left opened so we could just walk in without anyone knowing. Oncw in the school just seemed very unstructered, kids running around anywhere. There was a main playground in the middle with the boys playing football, surrounding this a few hut that the classrooms were based in. We spent half hour walking around taking pictures of the kids, which they all posed for and loved seing themselves on the screen. The volunteers told us of how tough it is to teach in the schools. The kids attencion span is very small, some of the kids just getting up and walking out of class when they want or just talking to there freinds paying no attencion to the teacher. All the kids were at different levels of learning making it really difficult for the teachers. Just looked like there was no real structure in the schooling system , with no real curriculum or way of testing the children. Although unstructured I think it is probably 10 times better than five years ago when most the kids were not receiving education. After the walk around the school we walked back through the local villages. This was an insight to how most of the villages in Nicaragua lived not the nice tourist areas that we get to see. The houses all very basic, mostly made from metal shething or some made from brick and some sticks and straw. Nearly all of the small houses having chickens outside these probably providing them with there staple food of egg probably with rice. The people when seing us all said hello, it was so nice to see hoe freindly the people were even though we were tourists walking through there village. After leaving the village and school it really made me realise how lucky people back home are. Although obviously a different world apart from the western society we should still sometimes just stop and think how lucky we are. These people have nothing compared to us but most the people I saw were stills smiling. That night when we were sitting in our room we had a random guy poking his head through the opened window, we didnt really understand what he wanted but I think asking for money that bening the bad point once agaion about being on main road. I just told him to go away and shut the window. After spending four days in the nice little sometimes manic city of Granada it was time to move again. This time just a short 2 hour journey to the coast resort of San Juan Del Sur near then Costa Rican boarder.