Once settled in Granada at our little B & B, we spent a little time chatting with the owners asking for suggestions of what to see. As you saw on the previous blog, they suggested the Bell Tower, the Lake, Downtown, the Park, a great Pizza Restaurant and...the Old Market in Masaya about 25 minutes away. We had heard of the Market from some of our other travelers who had taken a $30.00 taxi there and spent the day. Being who we are, we opted for the $.80 bus ride and headed for Masaya first thing Tuesday morning.
To begin with the bus ride was an experience all its own. Each bus is owned by the driver and on our ride there, it was obvious that the bus was also the drivers home. There was a t.v. and bright colors everywhere. As in Berlin, the bus was an old school bus and very short of knee space for US tourists. As most Latin Americans are a bit smaller, it is probably not a concern for them! Anyway, the bus also has a steward who hangs from the bus calling for passengers and helping people aboard and collects money. While this is all going on the bus driver has a very special "horn" (almost sounds like a train whistle) that he honks at each stop to get riders attention. Unlike Berlin, the area is very flat, hot and dry but also very beautiful. It's always a treat to see the incredible trees and flowers that grow naturally and to view a totally different lifestyle. Along the way we see all kinds of "homes" from shacks to spectacular homes to some places that almost look like camping.
We arrive at the "Old Market" and are awestruck at what we see. It is very large and bustling and some of the vendors make their "store" also their home. First off I fell in love with the beautiful large baskets shown in the picture here. We were first introduced to them when a lady boarded our bus and tossed one on top! At the time we thought that was pretty different until we noticed all the other buses going in the opposite direction. Not only were there baskets on top but many of them were full! In addition to baskets we saw pipes and bikes and other things I can't remember at the moment.
The market was colorful and busy and full of things we recognized and things we didn't so we jumped right in not knowing which way to go first.Chickens were sitting in one of the wonderful baskets along their relatives already butchered and ready to be eaten.
Personally, we preferred the live ones! Can't imagine eating a chicken that has been sitting in the hot sun all day!
Can you believe all those papayas ?? They went way back inside this particular booth and some of them looked a little beyond the sell by date!
Don bought a pair of work boots and took them to one of the shoe fix it guys, of which there were many, for reinforcing. For $1.50 the boots were hand stitched around the bottom where they were initially only glued. Very fascinating to watch! The variety and quantity of shoes new and used that were available was staggering. I looked and looked but couldn't find anything to fit my large feet!!!
There were many places to eat and somewhere along the way we were adopted by Jose, our personal shopper, who took us to his aunt's place for lunch. Great food! Jose also knew all the good places to go to get Don a hat and his boots---cheap!!! Well, reasonable anyway. As our shopping ended Jose took me aside and asked me for $20.00 as his payment for helping us shop!!! That is more than we pay our worker--who works much harder--and in Nicaragua the wage is about half of Costa Rica's, at least for coffee workers!
BASKETS! And, believe it or not, people put stuff on these carts and pushed them through the narrow pathways of the market!
Our day has come to an end and it is now time to head back to Granada on one of these wonderful buses! As before the trip was an adventure in itself land we loved every minute! Check out the paint job and the rack on top for baskets and other necessary items!
With a little help from "Flat Mistaya" we left Granada early in the morning for our 6 - 8 hour bus ride depending on the time it takes to pass through customs and immigration. We arrived in San Ramon about 2 p.m. hoping to pick up our repaired vehicle and drive home! Unfortunately, work was not completed so...off to lunch, a bit of shopping and home on the bus!! By Friday and my Spanish lesson the car was ready to drive home! Although an expensive visit to the mechanic, we are happy to have a vehicle that is working!! Thanks Jorge!