My accidental trip to Masaya

Trip Start May 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 03, 2009

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Saturday, June 6, 2009

After a week of orientation, we had Friday free - I had been charged by the Municipal Director for the Ministry of Health to bring some documents to my puesto de salud, so I got a sneak peek at where I would be working for the next two months.
     When I got there, I got to talking with one of the nurses there, and we really clicked! She has a degree in public health, and has an interest in natural medicine - in fact, it was my lucky day, because she mentioned that there was a

course on indigenous natural medicine at the university in Masaya,

the next day - so Claire, the sole other intern (we are guinea pigs for FSD's new program here.. YAY.) and I agreed to go with her
         I woke up bright and early to catch the 5am bus - turns out Claire couldn't go, because her host mom's pregnant friend had to go to the hospital for an emergency check up (high blood pressure, dangerous for the baby... so I got on the bus (I was going to meet

Martha, the nurse, along the bus route because she lived further

down).  When we get to her stop, someone else hands me a note, telling me that because they found a case of swine flu in Masaya, the course was SUSPENDED.  Here I am, 30 minutes-bus ride away from home...what do you do?  Really wasn't prepared to trek home on foot (it was an

express bus, and there wouldn't be another one until about 10 hours later) sooooo off I went to this city that I did not know at all.. alone.  aha. another entry for the list of things my parents will

never know about.  I have to admit.. a fear trickled down my spine as the ayudante (the guy who collects money) asked me, "are you sure?" - I'm 6 days into my first experience in Central America, and I'm traveling solo... definitely a fair question, but I was determined to see it through.  I began talking to the lady sitting beside me, who just happened to be from my town as well, and she took good care of me, talked to the guy who collected the bus fare to make sure I got off at the right stop - which was by the side of the road, with nothing resembling a city in sight. O_O it took me a few minutes, but I had to gather my wits about me to ask where the city center was... after which I blundered into this HUGE outdoor market - an explosion of stimulation for all five senses.  My trusty guidebook told me that there was a lot more to the city, including this awesome outlook of a

lagoon - but I dared not venture forth alone, for fear of losing my way back to that random piece of road where the bus would return to bring me home (yup.. there is only one).  The thing with buses in Nicaragua is that they are absolutely temperamental - they don't have set schedules, and basically come/leave when they like.  so I meandered around the market like the lost little "chineta" I was.  even if I was lost, nobody lost sight of me... >_< stuck out like a sore thumb.  finally mustered enough courage to haul out my digital slr to snap a few photos (honestly, I've adopted the attitude of: FACT: I stand out as it is.  a piece of technology hanging around my neck will not attract THAT much more attention.  I've decided this is the way to go) Then, a

grandfatherly-figure approached me and struck up a conversation.  he was really nice, and we parted ways - I continued wandering along the same few streets when we crossed paths YET AGAIN.. this time, he offered to show me around the city.  alarm bells went off... a bit. but I guess they weren't loud enough.  honestly, I had about 9 hours to kill in this city, and I couldn't spend it all in the same little market, so I followed his lead.  aaaaaaand it was all in good faith! As we walked around, he told me quaint little stories about different sites, and we took a horse carriage ride to the outlook over the lagoon, which was absolutely beautiful!

     The guy had to leave - so he left me in the central park (oddly enough - much Western influence in the architecture); spent a little more time there exploring some of the other churches and sidestreets - then proceeded to make my way back to the bus stop... AND I FOUND IT!!! haha albeit was there 3 hours early (hey, I'd rather wait 3 hours rather than miss the one bus that will take me back.)
     never travelled this way (actually letting things unfold by the minute), but I suppose as they say, there is a first time for everything.
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