Thursday we went to Masaya for the day with our spanish class. Masaya is known for its diverse mercados (markets). They have everything from food to stores you would see at the mall to artisan shops.
There are two mercados there one called the mercado viejo (old market) and the other one called the mercado popular (popular market).
In the mercado popular you can virtually find anything. There are small stores with jeans and shoes that remind me of Charlotte Russe from the mall back home. There are also artisan shops and places to buy nick nacks, DVDs, even food. It's a little crazy in there because it's closed in like a building and there are small alleyways to navigate through the shops. Two people can barely squeeze past one another in the alleys of el mercado popular.
This is where los turistas (tourists) shop. It is generally more expensive, but it is less crowded and less hectic. El mercado viejo was the original mercado before the mercado popular was created. It is also much smaller than the mercado popular. It's generally outside, but el mercado is located inside the wall ruins of a colonial building, giving it a rustic feel.
We also went to a zoologico (zoo) in Managua. We were able to see all the animals there. Comparing them to the zoologicos in the US, these were very different.
They had a diverse bird section. These were my favorite birds.
They're called Tucan Pica Navaja (Jackknife-beaked Tucan) because their beaks have elaborate patterns on them that look like the decorations on a knife.
They kept one of the primates in a small concrete place and then let him out to walk around in a cage that was a little bigger when it was time for him to be fed.
Maybe it just me imagining him in his real habitat, but it did seem a little small.
We also were able to see a really old lion, and I was able to get a video of the old lion communicating with the lionesses.
Everything about the zoologico fascinated me.
They also had a classroom at the zoologico. It was a Centro Educativo del Medio Ambiente (Envrionmental Education Center). I would have loved to talk to someone there about the types of subjects they teach, but they weren't open.
There were so many interesting things in the zoologico, but the one I enjoyed the most was the squirrel exhibit.
On the sign it says, "In Nicaragua they're found in almost every territory and their distribution is from Mexico to Panama. They are threatened by the destruction of their habitat and by being commercial pets."
I thought it was interesting how they had the squirrel at the zoo when they're so abundant in the US. The sign said that they're found all throughout Nicaragua, but I haven't seen any since I've been here. Although I was wondering what the wild dogs ate around here...
All in all, Thursday was a pretty awesome day.