When I left Mateare, I jumped into the back of a yellow chicken bus and stood in the back with my 50lb pack on the floor in front of me all the way to Managua. It was hot as hell in that bus, but I was used to that after a month in Mateare.

Every day was hotter than the last. We visited Leon once, and it felt cooler there than in Mateare. The biggest problem is that it never rains in Mateare. Clouds will build up and itíll look like itís going to rain and bring a bit of blessed coolness, but it never does.

I found out that less than an hour after I left Mateare, it finally rained, and hard. Iíve decided that Iím cursed.

Anyway, when I got to Managua, I caught the 114 and took it to La UCA. It was a bit tough getting off a bus so full that even the people standing were squished in like sardines, but Iíve long since learned that you just have to power through people. Courtesy is for the weak on crowded Managua rutas.

In La UCA, I walked over to the awning for the buses to Masaya, and I found a line that wrapped all the way around the awning. I had to wait for three buses to come and go before I was able to get on. I usually travel in the mornings, so Iím not sure if this is usual in the afternoons/eveningsÖ

On the bus, I found a seat behind the driver with a little more leg room so I could place my pack in front of me between my legs without being in anyoneís way. The bus filled to capacity, and then we starting driving down carretera Masaya. Iím not sure how, but the door guy just kept picking up more and more people and cramming them (standing) into every nook of the bus.

When we left Managua, he leaned around the bus to collect the C$16 fair to Masaya. I paid mine, and then he tapped me on the shoulder and made a pointing motion with her lips. I made a scrunching motion with my face (which means, ďWhat?Ē), and he told me I had to pay for my bag too.

I told him that it was ďchineadoĒómeaning that I was holding it, so I wasnít going to pay for it. He told me that the space in front of me was a backward facing seat, and that Iíd have to pay for it. So, I lifted it up onto my lap, invited him to sit someone there, and told him I wasnít paying for it. After this, he left me alone. The only down side, is that with the pack on my lap, I couldnít see anything the rest of the way into Masaya.

I jumped off at the parque artesenal (also called the parquet central), and I walked a half a block south from the south-east corner to a hostel name ďSanta Maria,Ē where I found a good room for $10/night. This isnít a great rate from Nicaragua, but itís private, has a private bathroom, is comfortable, and they provide free soap, clean towels, and purified water.

After I settled in a bit, I wandered out to familiarize myself with my surroundings. The Cafť Nani is just around the corner, as well as a supermarket, and a pizza/hamburger/hotdog/subway place thatís fairly inexpensive. At Nani, thereís free wifi, and there are also two cybers within a one block radius. I have everything that I need.

The sunset over the high stone walls of the Mercado Artesania was beautiful that night (Friday the21st of September)óprobably because of the rain in Mateare.

I bought saldo for my Claro phone in the supermarket, ate a Hamburger in the American food place, and then called the family in Mateare to let them know I was ok and to make sure they were too.

Iím planning on spending this next month living in Masaya. Over the last couple of days, Iíve walked all over this city. Saturday, I walked south and west and ended up against a giant canyon. I followed a road past a large white/blue building that says ďAlcalde MasayaĒ on it. A small neighborhood follows the road down to the canyon.

When I walked down there, a woman told me that I was heading for an arrollo, but that there was a way to cross it to a neighborhood on the far side, but that the other neighborhood was dangerous. I couldnít see any way to cross it, so I backtracked.

One the way back, I ran across a woman walking with a small boy. He walked up to me with his arms extended and his little hands pressed together. This is how many little kids are taught to shake hands his adults. You just grade the two hands together and shake the whole thing.

I asked the kid how he was doing, and he said fine. Then, he asked me how I was. I told him that I was good, just checking out the huge arrollo. Then woman told me that there was indeed a way across. I asked how, and the kid replied, ďSaltando.Ē I think he meant that you sort of hop down one side of the arrollo, but I made a joke about needed to be superman to jump the arrollo.

I also walked down all of the main streets between the central park and the entrance to Masaya near the Tip-Tip, thereís a Z of streets around the churches and the old train stop. The people of Masaya canít seem to tolerate straight lines. Thereís an intersection here called ďSiete EsquinasĒ (seven corners). Theyíre not kidding. There doesnít seem to be any rhyme or reason to the layout of the city. Itís like people throw up homes and churches and other buildings and random and then everything just sort of grew together.

On Sunday, I decided to pack up and move to another place that offered me $7/night instead of $10/night. Plus (unlike Santa Maria), they have wifi. I had spent an hour chatting with them Saturday night about coming by and staying there, but when I showed up on Sunday, the place was locked and nobody was answering.

I suppose itís possible that they were out enjoying the patron saint party that lasts every weekend for three months in Masaya (and just started), but even so, I need to know that when I show up at the door of a place where Iím going to be living that someone will be there to open it. I canít be stranded out on the street.

So, I spend the next hour and a half walking around Masaya in the middle of the day with a 50lb pack looking for other places to stay. Iím in fairly good shape, but after all of that time in the mid-day sun with my pack, I finally took a cab back to Santa Maria and rented a room upstairs for another two nights. Iíll try again later when itís cooler, and when Iím not carrying everything.

It rained shortly after I got back to Santa Maria. I guess the intense heat was partly due to the high pressure before a storm. Itís cooler in my new upstairs room than it was in my downstairs room, and the view is better. This place isn't that bad. I just wish it had wifi.

Because of the patron saint parties, all of the main streets have platforms with large speakers blasting music (and blocking traffic) and bombs are going off (mostly in the early evening). This creates an interesting sensation of startled excitement.

Itís been nearly 15 years since I last spent any significant time in Masaya, and Iím excited to give it another shotÖonce Iíve rested enough to feel like I want to move again.

Saludos!