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Thread: Western Edging

  1. #1

    Default Western Edging

    I charged my camera battery, used the toilet, and applied talcum powder this morning in preparation for what I anticipated might be a long walk.

    Masaya is old hat for me. I've lived in Masaya half a dozen (or so) times. I've walked through it so many times that I've lost count. However, there are still parts of the city that I have not seen. The main reason for this is that there are outer edges of Masaya that are sketchy or even dangerous for a solitary chele. Today, I had my sights on the neighborhoods that extend to the edge of the drop off into the Masaya lagoon.

    I started in a neighborhood in the northwestern part of Masaya called San Carlos. There's a large cobble street through this neighborhood that parallels the lagoon that I've walked many many times. I had no idea how deep the neighborhood was to the west of the large street, so it was an adventure.

    The possible threaten situation caused my muscles to tense up and get stiff. I had to focus on relaxing to stay loose. Several dogs ran up to me barking and attempting to bite the backs of my legs. They started early on--just a handful of blocks from my apartment. I suspect that the dogs (which usually leave me alone) could smell my tension and were reacting to it. I thought that this might prove annoying, but confronting each dog had a calming effect of me.

    A couple of blocks west of the main road, I was forced left. I could have also gone right if I were willing to cross a tiny metal bridge over a gorge, but I decided to following the main road this time. I'll return to explore that bridge another time.



    The houses to my right were spaced enough that I could see through them in places to water beyond. I was surprised to see that the water level was almost as high as the houses. I knew for a fact that the lagoon was far below Masaya, so this confused me. About three blocks south, I found a turn that took me back northwest. This road let me see the pools of water from another side. Judging by the smell, they're sewage recycling pools.



    When the houses stopped, I discovered a great view out over the lagoon. A dirt trail continues on and began to descend quickly. I knew that if I were to keep going, I'd drop down to the bottom of the cliff, and I didn't want to go there today. I've already been down to the water level of the lagoon on the Nindiri side. I remembered that under Masaya is the dirtiest part of the lagoon--choked with garbage and tainted with sewage. No...just no.



    Instead, I retraced my steps up the road and then took every road that I came across on my right side. The lagoon was to my right, and my idea was to try to find more awesome views out over the lagoon by following every road (even dead end roads) on my right. It's the same technique that I use to get through a corn or hedge maze.



    I found a couple of spots until my 'staying to the right' eventually led me to the stadium and the malecon. I've photographed this area before, but I could resist doing so again. It was a beautiful day today--perfect for photos.




    After the malecon, I considered walking back to the middle of Masaya and then returning to my apartment. I had successfully explored a previously unexplored section of Masaya. However, I still had energy and water, and so I decided to keep to my previous plan. I walked past the malecon and continued following every street on my right in the hopes of more views of the lagoon.

    The first street that I came across was a two lane street that ended up being a dead end neighborhood that forced to to back out the way that I'd come. While I was up in that neighborhood a found a small loop with some views over a gorge--but not over the lagoon.



    Next, I had to walk just a block shy of reaching the central park before I found another turn to the right. I could tell that this road was taking me into Monimbo. Monimbo is part of Masaya, but it has its own identity...sort of like Sutiava in Leon. Monimbo has a large pink sign on the road up to Catarina that says "Monimbo es Nicaragua Jodido."



    The next major turn to the right took me past a large school and then down hill to what I thought was going to be a dead-end, but when I got there, I found some concrete stairs descending out of sight. A man came out of his house, and I asked him where the stair go. He told me that about 300 meters or so down I'd come to some ancient writing on a cliff. He also told me that there are pictures of what they look on the wall around the school.



    I got an uneasy feeling when I began walking down the stairs, and so I decided that I'd come back some other time to check out these ancient drawings. Instead, I walked back up to the school and photographed the wall.



    The next main right turn led me to a Y split in the road. I took the right fork, because of course I did. There was signage about ancient writing at the intersection, and so I suspected that this was the other was around to get to the same drawings. After a bit, I dropped down a ways and noticed a group of young men with machetes hanging out in the road ahead. I saw a motorcycle emerge from a road to my left, and so I took that road instead of pushing forward in order to avoid running into the group of what I suspect were predators in search of prey.

    This new road led me over a rise to connect to the left fork that I hadn't taken previously. I turned right on this road and followed it for quite a ways. This road seemed like a major road, but it also seemed to be directing me out into the middle of nowhere. I couldn't see the lagoon anywhere. I stopped to ask a guy in a pulperia, and he told me that the road leads to Niquinohomo. He told me that it's about 7 kilometers off. (I checked on Google Earth, and it turns out the guy was spot on in his estimation--this is a first.)

    I was running low on water, and I had already been walking for about 4 hours, so I decided to come back and walk this road some other time. I turned around and followed the road back into the middle of Monimbo. There, I bumped into the old market (now a place where people sell prepared food) and the large yellow catholic school. I'd been here before many times.

    I turned north and walked through the central park all the way back to my room. I took a brief pit-stop to eat lunch (C$45 for fish, rice, fried plantain chips, salad, and squash).

    According to Google Earth, I walked around 16 kilometers today. I got burned. I feel worn, but I feel good at the same time (now that I've eaten and showered). I'm glad that I made the preparations that I did before I started my day (bathroom and talcum powder). Today could have been much worse for me otherwise.

    It's probably not a good idea to walk the parts of Masaya and Monimbo that I walked today--especially not alone. I don't recommended it, but I'm glad that I did it. There are some great views on the western edge of Masaya over the lagoon and all of the gorges that run down into it.
    Soy el chele mono.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Western Edging

    Great pics, some beautiful views of the lagoon. Shame its so trashed in some places.

  3. #3
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Western Edging

    Quote Originally Posted by kwah2249 View Post
    ... some beautiful views ... Shame its so trashed in some places.
    Our sense of beauty is strongly influenced by novelty. Being pleasing to our senses and a new experience, it captures our attention. The flip side of that coin is that things/places/people overly familiar to us tend to get subtracted from our awareness and their beautiful qualities go overlooked. The man is rare who after 10-20 years of marriage sees in his wife the beauty that captured his youthful heart, despite both aging side by side. We see the lagoon in its breadth, depth and the sweep of sky it contains as a place of beauty. Natives of Masaya, living on its edge, see it everyday, part of their taken-for-granted world.

    Trash just is. The disposible part of everyday life. Not all see it as ugly. Some poor, I suspect, don't even notice it. Most Nicaraguans keep their homes clean, often including the sidewalk/street in front of their house. The collection of trash by municipalities costs. Unorganized (sparse) communities dump where it's convenient and away from someone's house, preferably, as seen here, at the end of an unused road, where it'll roll down out of their sight.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  4. #4
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Western Edging

    Quote Originally Posted by drlemcor View Post
    ... there are outer edges of Masaya that are sketchy or even dangerous for a solitary chele. . .

    The possibly threatening situation caused my muscles to tense up and get stiff.

    I got an uneasy feeling when I began walking down the stairs, ...

    ... noticed a group of young men with machetes hanging out in the road ahead. ... so I took that road instead of ... to avoid running into the group of what I suspect were predators in search of prey.

    It's probably not a good idea to walk the parts of Masaya and Monimbo that I walked today--especially not alone. I don't recommended it, but ...
    One doesn't have to go far from any city center to find the wildness, areas of refuse/trash, where men behave lawlessly. It's true here and there. Chicago's South side, LA's Watts, NYC's Harlem. Leon, Nicaragua, has a mirror city of the poor that has grown rapidly from farm land in the last 10 years, on the east side of the 'by-pass' (highway north to Chinandega, south to Managua) behind the industrial 'zona francas'. It consists of at least 20 repartos (neighborhoods), and is as large as all the rest of Leon. Several repartos are accepted no-man's-lands after dark. Probably no-chele anytime. Development began slowly with Violeta Chamorro (selling the railroad to fund it), but took off when Ortega was (re)elected and gave away lots to qualifying poor.

    The poor migrate to where there are jobs, to live in places they can afford. Comfortable, planned suburbs, ubiquitous in the industrial North, are, for the most part, absent in Latin America - those that did exist were usually rapidly swallowed by urban expansion (always ready to absorb a rich tax base). Peones earn a pittance as farm hands on their patron's estate, esp. as they become more mechanized. But they are secure; they won't starve (unless the patron flees, bankrupt). Financial opportunity is in the cities, or foreign lands (for desperate individuals that must leave family behind).

    Absent the welfare state, those who live in the worst of circumstances must fight to survive. Adolescents naturally form packs. Adults are often absent.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Western Edging

    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy-YO View Post
    Leon, Nicaragua, has a mirror city of the poor that has grown rapidly from farm land in the last 10 years, on the east side of the 'by-pass' (highway north to Chinandega, south to Managua) behind the industrial 'zona francas'. It consists of at least 20 repartos (neighborhoods), and is as large as all the rest of Leon. Several repartos are accepted no-man's-lands after dark. Probably no-chele anytime.
    I think that you're probably right about it being a no-chele anytime area of Leon. I know that the four or five times that I walked through that area (always during the day) that I got a sense of it being unsafe. Nothing happened to me in this area the last time that I was in Leon, but that doesn't mean that my decision to walk there was smart.
    Soy el chele mono.

  6. #6
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Western Edging

    Some areas are not particularly safe for nobody. Last Saturday the lead mason on our project got paid, and went into Rosario to go to the farmacia to get some meds for his new baby on the way home. Well, his moto broke down and before he knew it there were 2 large knives pointed at his stomach. He lost a week's pay and his cell phone. Monday he was back on the job, sober and working. Nic's raging drug and alcohol problem is a treat to everybody.

    I've walked a lot of places I shouldn't have entered, from Vietnam to Los Angeles, to C. A. Call me dumb and lucky. Now I ask at least 2 intelligent looking people before I go anywhere.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"

    ...with a 6 foot stick and mask and gloves....


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