Monday, December 19, 2005

MTU Gringo Parade

WHO: Essa (aka Vanessa)
WHAT: Peace Corps, Environmental Education
WHERE: Nicaragua
WHEN: Sept '05 - Nov '07

WHY: La vida es un carnaval

Had an exciting Gringo packed I mentioned before, my advisor, John and nine MTU students are here in Nicaragua for a few weeks. They took the weekend off, and I joined them for a little tour around some of the highlights. Above is a picture of Volcan Mombacho - still alive and kicking.

We started off the weekend with a party at Melvin and Amparo's (Amaparo's in yellow below) home, where John and I stayed last year when we came to visit. In true Nica style, they brought in live music, tons of food, and cleared the living room for dancing. I didn't bring my drum (which I'm still determined to learn!), but I did get to play along with some claves.

Jill and Gary picked up the Palo de Mayo right away - one of Nicaragua's traditional dances that comes from the East coast. The East coast is made up of people mostly of Afro-Carribean descent (many fled slavery and landed in Nicaragua), and the dance is high energy, kinda savage, and very suggestive. There are movements to tone-down the dance a bit, as evidently in the last few years, it's gotten even wilder.

Fatima and I - she's Melvin and Amparo's helper. I tried to pick up some dance moves from her...but I lack the 19 years she has behind her.

Local live music (Houghton's Koskinen would fit right in)...

Tried to pick up some moves from her too...

I wasn't the only one trying to learn how to dance. Fatima's a great teacher, but she's not a miracle worker, John.

Tango is not traditional Nica, but they lovedGary and Katy...

We left Boaco on Saturday morning and headed to Volcan Masaya

This isn't the best picture, but this is what an active volcano looks like...evidently there is a species of parakeets that use the caldera as their breeding grounds. Sulfur doesn't bother them, I guess.

This is a view of a dormant volcano that is right next to volcan Masaya

Masaya has a great museum too - information on geology, geography, ecology, and anthropology.

Onwards to Granada!

We found a Spanish restaurnt there in Granada - we shared some great tapas - jamon serrano, queso manchego, spanish olives...made me all nostalgic. The woman in background is the owner and is from Barcelona.

Here's Debbie and I at Catarina overlooking Laguna de Apoyo. We went down to the lake afterwards and had a swim before heading home.


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