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Thread: Unsanitary

  1. #1

    Default Unsanitary

    Last Thursday (the 3rd of November), I walked down to the Rivas bus terminal early with the intention of visiting Nandaime. Iíve learned that Nandaime is the gateway to the south. Itís fairly close (even within walking distance for a madman like myself) to both Jinotepe and Granada, and it almost touched the intersection between those two roads. It costs C$25 to get from Nandaime to Rivas, but only C$11 from Nandaime to Granada and even less to Jinotepe. I thought that it might be a better place to look for a place to stay in order to stay connected to the rest of the countryóas opposed to remote Rivas.

    I got off the bus and walked west (more or less) into the city. I found street after street after street of seemingly identical houses. Unlike many other cities in Nicaragua, all of the house were about the same height and had the same architectural styleómore like old Leon that way. The streets were all so similar, that after going in about 8 or 9 blocks, I had no idea if I were near the middle of the town or on the edge of the town.

    I decided to turn north, because the only things that I could see sticking up above the houses were two Claro towers to the north. I thought that I had remembered the center to Nandaime being down where I was, but I knew that the Claro towers were almost always in the center of towns, so I obediently walked towards them.

    I went 10 blocks (or so) before I found the towers. They were in an open field, and I could tell that I was clearly on the northern edge of Nandaime. I kept going a bit farther, and I ran into the open air Mercado.

    After wandering through the Mercado, I turned south again and walked back into Nandaime. I started weaving through the streets like a rat in a maze hoping that at some point Iíd see something other than nearly identical houses. Eventually, I stumbled upon the cathedral and the central parkónestled deep inside the warren.

    At this point, I had to pee like a racehorse, so before I did anything else, I kept walking south and west until I found an open lot that was walled off on three sides. I climbed up into the monte and peed in a back corner, and then I walked back to the park.

    There, I sat under a gazebo in the corner of the park next to some shoe shiners and started writing. I did so for maybe fifteen minutes before a little girl sat down next to me and started talking. She asked me if I took pictures. I answered her that I did sometimes, but that I also wrote. She told me that she didnít have a dad and that she never knew him. I had no idea how to respond to that, so after looking at her carefully for a bit to see if she was trying to play me, I said, ďBut youíve got your mom, right?Ē She smiled and said that she did.

    I moved to another seat in the park to look at a cute girl and read for a bit, and then I tried to refocus on my writing. I couldnít tame my thoughts. I felt restless. I ended up stowing my stuff and walking back out to the highway. I caught the next bus to Granada for C$11. Once I got there, I ate lunch in the tiny bus terminal tucked in the Mercado for C$50. Then, I walked down to the central park.

    I took my camera out and decided to play tourist for a bit. While I was walking around the park trying to think about what I could capture in a photo that I hadnít already seen in Granada, I was reminded of a comment that one of you left about how I tend to sanitize my photos. I wait until people are out of the shots in order to capture just the buildings or the sunsets of the clouds or the trees or the ocean or whatever Iím trying to capture.

    I decided to intentionally take pictures of all of the things that I usually took pains to sanitize out of my photos: people, garbage, vendor carts, etc.

    It felt weird point my camera at people. I had to fight against that feeling, but after a while it became fun for me to watch how different people would react to having me focus on them. Some would get haughty and aloof. Some would preen and get curious. Some would intentionally move out of the way.

    I walked from the park down to the port and from the port southward along the shore trail until it ended. There, I sat on a stone bench and wrote and read for a bit before I once again felt restless. I walked back up the road towards the port. I needed to pee again, and I saw a sign for ďbanosĒ off to the left. I followed the sign and found a building with several doors on both sides and a privacy wall on both sides, but all of the doors were locked.

    I smiled at the irony a moment, and then I peed on the inside of the privacy wall before moving along.

    I walked from the port back up to the park and then back to the Mercado and the tiny bus terminal. I climbed onto the bus back to Nandaime (there are no buses from Granada to Rivasóat least not from there). I got on the bus too early, and it was really hot. When we finally got under way, the breeze was wonderful.

    This was especially true, because a woman was resting her arm fat on the top of my head, and a man had his loose out shirt in my face. I made the mistake of picking an aisle seat. Nobody in Nicaragua seems capable of adjusting to the fact that some people sit higher in their seats.

    The bus took a long time to make it from Granada to Nandaime, as it stopped very often and didnít seem to be in any hurry.

    I waited at the bus stop in Nandaime for 15 minutes or so for the next bus to Rivas. I noticed the hundreds of birds nesting in the trees along the highway squawking as loudly as they could around sunset. I asked a woman if they are always like that, and she told me, ďAlli duermen.Ē Iím not sure if telling me they sleep there is really the answer to the question that I asked, but she seemed to think so.

    I went back to my room and crashed early. It didnít feel as if I walked all that much today, but it was a sunny and hot day, and all the little walks must have added up.

    I will add the unsanitary photos to this article once I have my own WiFi.

    Saludos!
    Soy el chele mono.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Unsanitary

    Great read. I hate taking pictures with strangers in them. Obviously during parades and events strangers are part of the image you are trying to capture but its acceptable to photograph people during events. I don't like having my picture taken by strangers and feel like I should ask permission to take a picture if a person is in it. But its more than avoiding awkwardness, it kind of feels like people detract from what you are trying to photograph if they aren't related to the focus point.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Unsanitary

    Here are the unsanitary photos that I promised:
    Soy el chele mono.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Unsanitary

    I ran into a character limit, so here are the rest:
    Soy el chele mono.

  5. #5
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unsanitary

    “Unsanitary photos” has the ring of “dirty pictures” which is to say, ‘porno’. Ordinary snaps of ordinary folk in picturesque scenes gets skewed, becomes a distraction from the subject as soon as people realize they’re being recorded. Concerns for our privacy evaporate when it’s a machine filming us. But put a man behind the camera and it’s something suspicious, if not sinister.


    Years & years ago when Dad was stationed in Corpus Christi, we took a day trip to Monterrey. Mom had a 16mm camera and took movies of us boys in the colorful marketplace. Mexican boys, who came up to us to touch our bright blonde hair, ran from the camera’s eye. The Mexican woman selling veggies would cover the faces, or turn and hide from it. For an adult upon first seeing a photograph of themself, the image must have been frighteningly real, like a mirror image, but captured, ‘permanent’. A diabolic device that takes our identity, our soul? Moderns have long since shaken that primitive attitude toward the technology. Rather they prefer to be shot posing.


    Photos that include native Nicas would probably come across most natural, which means you can focus on the subject of the shot. That’s cause the Nicas are at home, going about their normal business. Tourists (& expats) are foreigners in a strange land, forever awkward with a 16th century Spanish church as a backdrop; flamingos on an iceberg.

    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Unsanitary

    Good analysis and some excellent pictures in there.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Unsanitary

    That dog looks so tired. I like seeing the people. And the live pigeons.
    I like the colorful buildings, bikes, horses, and large platter of fruit carried on a woman's head. I liked seeing the vendor cart at the park, and the twisty roots and branches of the tree there. The park is beautiful. I think the people make your photos feel alive.
    I think the old cathedral has a lot of character.
    I don't think I've ever seen a nest in power lines before. Birds, yes. Nest, no.
    A cool shot up into that big old tree.
    Nice pictures.

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