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Thread: Downtown MGA

  1. #1

    Default Downtown MGA

    Yesterday (Thursday), I headed to Managua to meet up with a girl, walk around a bit, and maybe see a movie. I tend to time my visit to Managua on Thursdays for two main reasons. The first is that Thursday is when new movies come out. The other is that the McDonald's quarter pounder meal is only C$79 on this day. For whatever reason, I have a craving for there about once a week.

    I met her in Multicentro Las Americas at 11:30am, I ate my quarter pounder, and then we discussed where we'd walked. In the end, I left it to her saying, "Tu sabes mejor que yo donde ir en Managua, pues que decidas tu." She prefers not to be put on the spot, but she finally ceded and suggested that we take a bus to Plaza Inter and then walk from there to either El Malecon or Tiscapa.

    We caught the 119 (only a block from the mall) across the city to a spot know to her. Then we climbed off and caught the 101 to Plaza Inter. The 101 winds all over Managua--a serpentine indirect path past El Nuevo Diario, Migracion, Oriental, and eventually to Plaza Inter.

    Once we arrived, she couldn't decide which way we should go, so I flipped a coin. It came up tails, so we walked north towards El Malecon. The road is wide and clear and devoid of shade. We cooked for a few blocks, and then we noticed an arboretum. She told me she'd never been in, because every time she'd been by there it had been closed. We ducked in an enjoyed the shade and fresher air for a bit before continuing north. A woman guide told us that it's open Monday through Friday from 10 or 11 in the morning until 5 in the evening.

    We made it a couple more blocks when we came upon a nice, new, and large park filled with basketball courts, soccer fields, and playground equipment. We just walked in past a group of police, and after wandering a few blocks into the park, another uniformed man told us that the park doesn't open until 3:00pm. The gates guards dropped the ball.

    We had entered the park from the west, and we exited it from the north. We came out on the wrong side of a blockade, and we had to backtrack to the main wide road so we wouldn't be trespassing on government property.

    The midday sun continued to cook us as we made our way the rest of the way to El Malecon. A solid wall of dance clubs, bars, and restaurants blocked out access to the lake. We had to trek westward in what felt like an oven until we reached an pay to enter area that took us right up to the shore with benches, and eateries, and more importantly shade.

    We sat for a few hours in the shade and enjoyed the view and the gentle breeze coming off the lake near the pier. At this point she and I first starting cursing the fact the we'd left our cameras at home. I don't usually bring it when I come to Managua, as my experience has been that one patch of urban sprawl pretty much looks like another. I didn't take into account the old buildings and statues and views in the ancient center of the city.

    We left El Malecon around 4:00pm and walked south back towards Plaza Inter. Along the way, we passed by the old cathedral that survived the earthquake, the presidential palace, tombs for leaders of the FSLN marked with eternal flames, and the other government buildings. We tried to enter one, and while we could enter, they wanted to charge me C$80. They asked where I was from, and then they spent the next five minutes making snarky comments about how the north (Canada and the US) had stolen their gold and owed then large amounts of money while eyeballing me. They also gave my date a hard time about being out with a foreigner. They made her noticeably uncomfortable, so we walked away. They've been drinking a bit too much of their Cool-Aid.

    We followed a back road (with better shade) to the east of the large road we'd followed earlier up to Plaza Inter. This back road is exclusively for pedestrians and its flanked by signs with pictures of historical Nicaragua and famous Nicaraguans. It felt like a museum, and I commented to my date, "Estamos en la calle de la historia."

    This road came out just to the east of Plaza Inter and continued across the main east-west road (the one the goes to Oriental) and up the hill towards the Tiscapa lagoon. I'd never been up this road, but she told me it wasn't far to get to this side of the lagoon, so we decided to press on before I made my way back to San Marcos.

    The road leads up to a large white monument with stairs in the middle on flanked by artillery. At the point, it turns east. I asked an army soldier dressed in camo (there were many of these on this part of the road) if I could climb the stair and I was told no. We also asked when access to Tiscapa closed, and we were told between 5:30 and 6:00. It was nearly 5:00 at this point, so we climbed on.

    I was charged C$24 (it would have been $1 if I had any on me) and she passed by for free. The road wound east and the west up the hill to the top. Along the way, I marveled at the view north back over Managua and the lake, but my date kept telling me, "Estoy no es nada, espera." We passed a tree with a noisy bird that's white on its belly and light blue on its back sharing a branch with an owl. And I without a camera...

    The top of the hill offers an (almost) 360 degree view of Managua from what appears to be the highest point in the city. The the south, I looked over the lagoon and the new cathedral with the domes on top and over Metrocentro and even all the way to the Masaya volcano. The the north, I looked over the old center of Managua (where we'd just walked) and over the lake, and even all the way to a large volcano (probably Momotombo).

    We stayed up there until the place closed (around 5:45pm), and I was giddy the whole time. The views from El Mirador de Tiscapa are unparalleled in Managua. I can't believe I've spent so much time in Nicaragua and Managua and never before been there. While there, I got to walk right up to the base of the giant black Sandino relief statue that's visible from all over the city. I will definitely be returning soon with my camera.

    Not only are the view from this high point amazing on their own, but in the cool of the late afternoon with the sun obscured by a large cloud and the sun's rays escaping around the cloud above and below, it's almost indescribably beautiful.

    We walked back down and out to Plaza Inter to catch a bus that'd take me to Huembes--my best chance for finding a bus back to San Marcos this late. We caught the 101, and around 6:20pm, my date told me where to hop off so that I could catch the 119 the rest of the way to Huembes. She told me it was only a couple of stops, but it'd be safer/faster to take to ruta. She stayed on the bus, as it took her right past her home.

    It was dark when I climbed off the 101, but even so I figured I'd walk the rest of the way to Huembes instead of waiting for the 119 to pass by. It took me around 10 minutes to walk the 7-8 (or so) blocks to Huembes, and I'll admit that this stretch of road looked a bit sketchy.

    In Huembes, I waited in a line for a microbus back to San Marcos for 10 minutes before the first one showed up. I was 12th in line, which means that I should have made it onto this bus. However, just as it pulled up, a bunch of people (mainly older and stockier women) bullied their way up and into the bus ahead of those of us in the line. The next bus didn't get there until jut after 7:00pm. I was told that it was the last bus, but luckily I was at the front of the line when this one arrived and I was in no mood to tolerate cuts. I got shotgun.

    I've learned my lesson, always bring my camera.
    Soy el chele mono.

  2. #2
    Active TRN Member StickMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown MGA

    Sounds like another good time. As you mention, the view from Loma de Tiscapa is pretty amazing, and typically there is a breeze blowing that can help with the fact that there is limited shade. Toward the lake and the west, you can see smoke rising from La Chureca on past the stadium.

    We did the first couple of legs of the zipline that starts there a couple of years ago, but couldn't do the final leg as the water in the lagoon was up, and the landing zone took you right into the water. We ended our zip near the road on the south side of the lagoon.
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  3. #3
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown MGA

    We visited that new, developing stretch of the malecon, Puerto Sandino, before flying out last month. Pretty nice.

    If the pics got attached OK, we ate at the restaurant in the 2nd photo. Table right by the water, cool, stiff breeze (air actually smelled good, surprised we saw no sailboats), ice cold beers, good steaks, and reasonable prices. OK, since this is drlemcor's thread, let me qualify that last point: the tab was less than it'd cost at a Shoney's or somesuch similar stateside sit-down eatery. And the service was excellent.
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  4. #4
    Active TRN Member StickMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown MGA

    Wow! The malecon has really been fixed up since the last time I was there. Very nice pix.
    "Find out what it is in life that you don't do well - and then don't do that thing." -The most Interesting Man in the World

  5. #5

    Default Re: Downtown MGA

    I went back today. I started in Plaza Inter, and then checked out the Mirador de Tiscapa. Because it's mother's day in Nicaragua today, they closed it down at 3:00pm instead of 5:45pm. I finished taking pictures right before 3:00pm, so it all worked out.

    I tried to walk north to the other spots I mentioned in this article, but the through road was closed and so was the arboretum. I'll come back another day to take pictures of the Malecon and the rest of the downtown.

    While I was in Plaza Inter, there was live music in the food court with a couple of dancers. I hung out and watched for about 10 minutes and then took a picture, but it turned out to blurry to post. I love watching Nicaraguan women dance...
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  6. #6
    TRN Science officer bill_bly_ca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown MGA

    My Sister In Law lost her father in law in the Coyotepe prison. His body was never found.. . His name Homberto Ruis is mid way down.

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  7. #7
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown MGA

    Several of drlemcor's pics include the Crown Plaza Hotel, the white trapezoid (squashed & chopped pyramid-like). Here's a bit of history from factoid no. 17 of Oro Travel :


    One of the wealthiest people in the world, Howard Hughes (age 66) came to Nicaragua in 1972 to negotiate with president Anastasio ‘Tacho’ Somoza for an oil pipeline that would cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He stayed in the Presidential Suite on the seventh floor of the old Intercontinental Hotel Managua (today Crown Plaza) for most of the year. He also rented the whole sixth and part of the eighth floors for his employees. Hughes had O.C.D.; he barely went out and would not allow any maid to come into his room. He had his personal doctor, nurse and chef. Mr. Hughes abandoned Nicaragua on December 24th, 1972 after the powerful earthquake that destroyed Managua.


    If interested in Somoza's comments about Hughes, check out this curious website .


    December 24th, 1972, was Hughes' 67th birthday. Did this American magnate have tectonic influence? Or was Mother Nature just saying "unhappy birthday and no returns!" to this American mega-capitalist?
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  8. #8
    Junkyard Dog randude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown MGA

    TRN has gotten a lot better in the recent months with your stories and pics Drlemcor. It has become extremely more informative and it brings out lots of interaction from the sites veterans.
    Survivor

  9. #9

    Default Re: Downtown MGA

    Thanks to all of the veterans (and everyone else for that matter) who provide details and insights about Nicaragua present and past. These enrich my experience.
    Soy el chele mono.

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