Today we got up and grabbed a quick breakfast from the bakery down the street, Pan de Vida, which is a good place. Pricey, but just like the bakeries back home. The cinnamon buns were delicious. Then we packed up quick and checked out. The German lady who runs the hotel was really great during the stay helping us with all sorts of things and she even was able to split one of our big bills for us and get us smaller change for our day today. If in SJDS, stay at El Puerto.
We were heading to Masaya today to do our last day shopping. We caught the bus back to Rivas and were directed by the guys on our bus to catch this green one going to Managua. I was a little skeptical as that was the last place I wanted to go on this trip, but they said that it stopped in Masaya first, so off we went. Pretty much got on and the bus left. We never seem to have time to get food or drink anywhere, or use the washroom for that matter. When you’re about to do a bus day, be ready to go for the whole trip as you might not get a chance to stop anywhere for anything.
Eventually we got off the bus on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere for all we knew. We were following a Costa Rican family that we had met on the bus after overhearing that they were going shopping at the market as well. (eaves dropping in Spanish is very hard and took a lot of work but ended up working out in the end). We all started walking into town and the farther in we got the sketchier it seemed. Eventually we decided it would be best to catch a cab out of there. The first cab driver didn’t know where we were trying to go and by that time I had tweaked my lower back somehow and could barely stand let alone lean over into car windows asking about going places so Lindsay had to try. At one point a woman came over and told Lindsay to hide her camera in her pocket as having it, in the case, in her hand was not a good idea. So apparently we weren’t in the best of places. Same women helped us get a cab driver to where we needed to go though and even told him how much we were going to pay him, which was pretty cheap So the locals can be very helpful and keep you safe even if we had felt pretty safe anyways.
Taxi got us to Hotel Regis which is not the most spectacular place but is very clean and very functional, super cheap, closeish to the Markets (walking distance) and the owner is the most helpful guy I think we met on the entire trip. Staying a night cost 90 Cords each, about $4, so $8 ish in total. Lindsay did not like the really old mattress, but I actually found it great and had an awesome sleep.
After checking in and getting advice on getting to the market we walked down to the market which was about 5 blocks, and 10 minutes or so. Masaya is definitely a more happening city with lots going on and a decent infrastructure from the look of things. So we made it to the Artesan Market, which translates as Tourist Market full of souvenirs and hammocks, pottery, leather work, cigars, etc… a good place if that’s what you’re looking for and we were. Our hotel guy said the Municipal Market was cheaper and has lots of Artisan things, but we figured we’d go here first.
So we spent the next 3 hours or so shopping. It was actually kind of fun. I enjoy how as you leave a stall the price of whatever you were looking at drops substantially. So that became my bargaining tactic. Pick something up you like, ask the price, offer something way way lower. Say you’ll come back then leave. Boom price drops substantially. Ton of fun.
We ended up leaving with a bunch of hammocks, some presents for people back home that I can’t mention or else they’ll know, a really cool tea set (yes for me, not Lindsay) it’s rustic pottery, looks very manly, $18, pot, 4 cups, 4 saucers, and a sugar bowl. (I have now discovered though that the pottery is not glazed, so my tea kind of tastes like dirt. I’ll have to get someone to glaze it if I’d like to actually use it in the future). Also grabbed a few more t shirts. They were not as good as the ones I got in SJDS I have now discovered. The silk screening is coming off after washing them so try to find quality t shirts as they’re less than $5 each anyways.
So we hauled our 4 bags of stuff back to the hotel and decided to go to the Municipal Market the next morning to find a duffel bag to hold our stuff as we obviously don’t have room for anything we purchased.
We then decided to go see the Parque Central and the token church. This park is only one of the many in the city as Masaya is a bunch of old towns with their own central parks now joined as one big city. It was a lot of fun at the park. We got stupidly cheap ice cream, sat an watched the shoe shiners (why don’t we do that anymore at home), saw a ton of people and familys out on a Saturday night in the park. I must say we’ve enjoyed all the central parks and how people gather together in the park at night to visit and eat and play, we need something like that in every community at home. We found a cool little fruit drink place that has giant furniture. It was fun. The tables are about 6 feet in the air and you have to climb up the 5 1/2 foot chair to sit at it. Too much fun and a riot. The lady at the fruit place finally was able to show me what a Guayaba looks like, looks kind of like a really green avacado crossed with an apple and a pear. Never seen one in the supermarket a home.
Grabbed some supper at a Mexican restaurant we passed while walking. Cheese is Nicaraguan though so doesn’t quite do the dishes justice. Power went out during dinner, that was fun, came back on eventually and we could see our food again.
Headed back to our rooms which are beside a cyber cafe and a night club or two. Cafe very helpful for checking into flights for tomorrow and printing tickets, Night club helpful for making loud noises and having next to no people in them. You drown it out eventually and it really isn’t so bad in the hotel for volume. Finally we crashed ready for some more shopping in the morning before catching a flight home the next day.
Masaya is fun, I could see people visiting here for more than just shopping. The park was the second busiest that we saw on the trip and we very much enjoyed hanging out there for a few hours.