Wednesday, October 21, 2015

72 HOURS IN GRANADA

Some things are just worth the money. For us being greeted at the airport after a long day of travel by a man with a sign that has our name on it- is one of them. And so we prearranged for it to happen. Thankfully our driver didn't mind silence because we were exhausted. He drove us the hour from the Managua Airport to the tourist town of Granada on surprisingly smooth roads, with surprisingly little traffic, minimal stray dogs and not a single honk. Not at all what I was expecting from our first hour in Central America.
Although Nicaragua is only a two hour time difference, we still found our first day to be a bit rough. The 40 degree weather was also probably a factor. And the humidity. Oh boy, is it hot here. That's a statement, not a complaint. I've had three cold showers today and foresee a fourth before getting into bed. HOT.

We started off our first morning in Granada with a huge plate of gallo pinto. Jonathan was in heaven. Rice and beans for breakfast! It was a dream come true. Rice, beans, scrambled eggs, toast and grilled tomatoes, to be specific. Delivered with a bottle of hot sauce. What's not to love about a country where hot sauce is automatically offered with the salt and pepper.

Granada has an interesting past. Its been a major trade centre since its inception, when it was built as a showcase city by the Spanish in 1524. Granada is one of the oldest cities in the new world. It's a resilient city too. Granada was sacked by pirates three times between 1665 and 1670 and burnt to the ground by Tennessee-born William Walker in the midst of a civil war in 1850. Each time, Granada was lovingly rebuilt and because of this, we get to enjoy its regal beauty and masterful architecture today.

Chock full of gallo pinto, we headed out on the town to take in the sights. We strolled through Parque Central and confirmed approximately thirty times that no, we did not want to take a romantic horse and buggy ride around town. We admired the churches, colonial streets, bright houses, and colourful window shutters. Granada is a very photogenic city. We headed down to the lake via a wide promenade lined with promisingly-refreshing-looking patios. I had intentions of renting kayaks or going out on a boat ride out on Lake Nicaragua around the nearby islands. Unfortunately J read somewhere that there were, at one point, abundant Bull
Sharks in the lake and despite them being massively overfished (like thirty years ago) to the point of almost extinction, J still refused to go anywhere near the water. (J: anyone at the top of the food chain shouldn't have too much trouble recovering population numbers) I had to kibosh the kayak AND the boat tour plans. We went to the market instead. A busy jumble of colourful stalls selling everything
from food to flashlights. We settled on icecream.

Just before sunset we headed up the bell tower in Granada's Iglesia de Mercad. The view was amazing, especially because we had the whole tower to ourselves. It was worth both the dollar (or so) entrance fee and the sketchy narrow staircase to be able to take the city in from the high vantage point.

Red Beard Fan Club Update:  Dear devoted fans, just a quick note to say that membership in this most ridiculous of clubs, J's Beard Fan Club, has now transcended nearly every continent. No culture or ocean can divide the devoted. The newest fans, joining the Tibetan monks, Canadian folk musicians and Chinese businessmen (just to name a few) are now gay Nicaraguan men that we met at a sports bar in downtown Granada. Let me paint you a picture of this fascinating situation. We were in a sports bar for dinner, because it was Sunday and everything else was closed. A Nicaraguan joint trying to be a Western bar. This is not somewhere we would usually be. Homer Simpson was painted all over the brick walls enjoying his Duff Beer. There were tvs tuned into some sporting event or another and neon beer signs hung from the ceiling and walls. Our new friends, a gay couple, were very interested in telling us their woes, dancing and constantly plunking coins into the karaoke machine to ensure that Shakira, their most favourite of all singers, continued to croon away. They loved Shakira so much that they insisted that the server turn the huge projector onto the big white wall, so that they could watch the Shakira music videos in larger than life format. They stroked J's beard and kissed their fingers in the Italian "muah" way and told J how beautiful he (and his glorious beard) were. I told them that I was going to cut it off in the night. They pleaded with me not to, and told him that if I did sneakily cut his beard, then he should cut up the dress I was wearing!! Jeez! Don't mess the the Red Beard Fan Club!

Where we stayed: Hostal El Momento. Clean, friendly, great atmosphere and food. $30 USD for a private room with a bathroom




1 comment:

Penelope Pomes said...

I would have gone ON the lake with you Kristen.
But with it being that hot, I may have been tempted to go IN the lake and that doesn't sound like a good idea.