Sunday, January 22, 2012

Big Cities: Granada

Yesterday was the first big travel day that I've had in Nicaragua. We took a bus to Granada, which is about 45 minutes from Managua. The school is part of a major bus line that runs buses in between major cities. For 20 cordobas (~22.8 cordobas=$1US) we were able to take the bus there.

The city is full of tourists. We were there for a tourist trip too. We wanted to see the island with the monkeys. The parque central (central park) reminded me of New York with its vendors selling ice cream, sunglasses, shoes, etc.

We walked about 15-20 minutes on the colonial cobblestone streets to a the waterfront of Lake Nicaragua, or Lago Cocibolca. From there we took a boat to the islands.

One of the volcanoes of Nicaragua was visible on the way to the islands. Nicaragua is on a fault zone, so there are volcanoes in Nicaragua. Therefore it is not uncommon to feel tremors here. In 1972 there was a gigantic earthquake that destroyed the city of Managua, killing thousands. That is why most of the buildings in Managua were constructed in the last 40 years and they are relatively low to the ground in order to withstand seismic pressures.

When we finally reached the island a half hour later, we were able to see the monkeys. There were two males and a pregnant female that they had brought from a different country. These are the two males.

The island was relatively small for the monkeys, and it seemed they were very accustomed to human interaction. The tour guide said that the tourists usually fed them and they would come onto the boats. They said the female one likes cookies. I asked them if it was the last island with monkeys, and they said it was the only island with monkeys. They hadn't answered my question.

I wondered if they brought the original two in from somewhere else too. I also wondered how many had been on the islands before if there were any. Something about the situation didn't seem quite right. There were two males of one species and a female of another? It seemed like they just bought all the monkeys they could find and placed them on an island.

We had a friend from Granada showing us around the whole time. After the boat ride, her father came to pick us up from the shore to bring us to a pizza restaurant.

We had the awesome experience of riding in the back of a pickup truck. Its so common over here to do that, but its illegal in the United States. It's something I've always wanted to do ever since I saw people do it in the 70s movies back in the U.S. I'm glad I got the chance to do it.
And that's all I have to say about that.
Nos vemos!

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