Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Between two Devils

  1. #1

    Default Between two Devils

    On Monday March 12th 2018, I decided to return to Tipitapa. I'd already visited Tipitapa from my current room in Managua (and walked from Tipitapa to Mayoreo in Managua), but this time my plan was to explore the country road that extends east from Tipitapa out along the wetlands that connect Nicaragua's two lakes.

    I'd been down this road once before long ago (on September 8th of 9th of 2012). Back then, I took a weekend trip with my then girlfriend Marling Vanessa and her family out to her ancestral home near San Juan de Tipitapa. I wrote an article on TRN about this trip called "SanJuanDiablito."

    I made some great memories on this trip, but I didn't have any photos to show for it. This time, I made sure to bring my camera.

    I got off the bus in Tipitapa just south of the mercado, and then I walked north to the end of Tipitapa. I wound a bit west and then south to get around the start of the wetlands and then I turned east. This part of Tipitapa is covered in garbage and there are lots of shanties build along the roads. It's the sort of area that a tourist should not go. I left my camera stowed while I made my way past a little hospital and the "Puente del Diablo" (a foot bridge over the waterway) to the dirt road that goes to San Juan.

    I took some photos along the dusty county road after I was beyond the shanties and garbage near Tipitapa. I remember that the people were friendly and that I felt safe once I got out into the far-flung communities, so I figured I would be safe enough once I was away from the large city. I came across come cattle. I moved to one side of the road and took pictures as they passed. I small car (going the other direction) waded through the cattle at the same time. Once I got past them, I turn around (thinking that I'd take another photo) and I saw a man on horseback perched atop a hill next to the road. The hill was high enough that I didn't notice him as I was moving past his cattle. He was looking at me, so I waved instead of taking a photo.



    A small pickup truck kicked up dust as it drove past me, but then it stopped a ways ahead and back slowly towards me. The man driving asked where I was headed, and when I told him San Juan, he told me to jump in the back. He took me part of the way--from a ranch (where the cattle that I'd passed probably originated) to a town called San Martin. I was surprised when the road transitioned from dirt to adoquines (at La Coronera) and stayed adoquinado all the way into San Juan. It was all dirt the last time I was out there.

    I recognized some of the houses and trees in San Martin. I walked back up the road a bit, and then I asked a young man at a house if he knew Marling Vanessa or Roger or Magali or Julissa. He told me that he did, but he didn't recognize me and seemed to not know how to handle a white guy showing up and asking him questions. I told him that I'd been there years ago (6 as it happens) and was looking around. I thanked him and starting taking some photos from the street.



    A woman called to me (as I was walking away) from the house. I walked back, and she greeted me warmly and talked to me about the time that I had visited. This was the sort of welcome that I had come to expect in Nicaragua. After we chatted for a bit, I asked if I could walk down to the edge of the water to take some photos--because I went down there last time with Julissa and a little girl who lived/lives there (who is now a beautiful woman) walked me down there. She told me that I could. I found the water choked with those floating lettuce-like plants--much more so than last time.



    When I walked back to the house, I spent several minutes picking cockleburs (or the Nicaraguan equivalent) out of my pants. The young man who first spoke to me offered to take me to a place with a clearer stretch of water to take photos. I hopped on the back of his motorcycle, and he took just a short ways down the street and then down a side trail to the spot. We climbed around the outer wall of a nicer place owned by foreigners. From there, I got a good view of the river and of some nice sized fish too. I asked him about it, and he told me that the fish are plentiful, easy to catch, and tasty.



    I thanked him for taking me out there, and as I walked back to the main road, I saw a turkey. This struck me as novel (in Nicaragua), and so I took a picture.



    I walked the rest of the way to and through San Juan de Tipitapa and took photos along the way. The people there are just as friendly as I remember. This is a special spot in Nicaragua...part of what I would call "the real Nicaragua."

    Soy el chele mono.

  2. #2
    Active TRN Member RGV AG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sweatshops R-US Nicaragua again
    Posts
    860

    Default Re: Between two Devils

    Drlemcor:
    I really enjoy your posts and read them frequently, although I don't post too frequently. Your tales and experiences are really enjoyable and your pictures are fantastic, and very enlightening/entertaining. You have allowed me to visit several places vicariously that I find most interesting. To hear your stories is really neat.

    I have basically spent 8 out of the last 11 years in Nicaragua and it really is more home nowadays than anyplace else, I truly enjoy the county and the people and should I live many more years I will spend more time there for during the course of the rest of my life. I liked it back years ago and I like it now, it has its issues but it is a neat place.

    All that being said, I am convinced that Tipitapa is the butthole extraordinaire of Nicaragua. I worked out there during a couple of spells and to me it is the dirtiest, most foul, and less inviting place that I have ever experienced in Central America. I think a lot has to do with the prison's there and then with too fast explosion of that big Free Zone going towards Coyotepe. About 95% of all labor unrest in the Free Zone's is in that one Industrial Park, yet the companies there are the most easy going and most giving to the employees in the country. It just seems that the folks from Tipitapa are just outright combative and thieving. At the other Free Zones I worked in Nicaragua, we had issues, but they were minuscule compared to the experiences in Tipitapa.

    Tipitapa is the one town in Nicaragua where being hit with the "Gringo Tax" is the rule and not the variable exception. I hope things get better out there over time, but I am not holding my breath. You are a tough hombre to venture out into Tipitapa and its environs.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Between two Devils

    When I got to the bus stop in San Juan, I decided that I had enough energy left to keep going. On my previous trip (in 2012) Marling Vanessa, Julissa, and some local kids took a walk down to a swimming hole in a place called Diablito. This is quite a ways past the end of San Juan. I figured that I might as well recover all of my steps as long as I was out there.

    I found fields of cacao and a much more organized farming setup just past San Juan. There was a security guard at the entrance. I walked up to him, and he asked me which farming group I was with. I told him that I wasn't with any group, but that I'd gone down to El Diablito years ago with friends and wanted to go back there. He asked me why, and I answered, "Nostalgia." He repeated the word back to me like a question. I assumed (at this point) that he'd turn me away, but he shrugged and told me that I could pass.



    I walked the (now dirt again) road along the edge of the water all the way out to where I saved Marling Vanessa from a snake. This stretch of road has more varied and beautiful birds than any other place that I've been in Nicaragua. I remember noticing the birds when I was there 6 years ago, and there were just as many (if not more so) this time. I saw a couple guardabarranco (the national bird of Nicaragua). I'm guessing that this is because this is technically wetlands. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take any photos of them, because the buggers are quick and I suck at taking photos of wildlife.

    The river was covered with a carpet of floating lettuce for most of the way, but eventually it cleared up. I passed some houses and smiling people (just a few of each) on that road. I stopped to ask for water at the exact some house where we stopped to ask for water the last time we were there.



    I found a man fishing (and cleaning fish) at the place where we'd stopped to swim and rest years ago. He has at least a dozen medium sized fish. I said, "It looks like the fishing is good today." He looked my way and nodded not saying or word or needing to.

    I turned around at a "no trespassing" gate with a windmill beyond. I walked back (taking some more photos as I went).



    I thanked the guard (who let me in) as I left. I walked to the bus stop in San Juan and I took a set on the edge of the street in the shade next to a group of men. They engaged me in friendly conversation--asked why I was there, about my profession, and about my writing. I'd generally avoid sitting next to a group of shirtless men hanging out together on the side of the road in Nicaragua, but the rules are different out in the country. These people are delightful.



    I waited about half an hour for a bus back to Tipitapa. While I waited, I listened in as the men talked about the new crop of cacao. They believed that the crop would fail and that the owner would lose a LOT of money on the venture: "I don't have a lot of faith in these cacao..." I don't know how "in the know" the locals are, but it was interesting to get there perspective.

    The bus charged me just C$7 to Tipitapa. I walked across Tipitapa to catch another bus back to Managua (for C$12). All told, I spent C$31 (or $1) on travel for this trip. I don't recommend walking alone (or even in groups) in parts of Tipitapa, and I don't recommend trying to walk the long and dusty road from Tipitapa to San Juan, but I do highly recommend going to San Juan de Tipitapa in a bus or a car and then exploring the road to El Diablito. This is a beautiful and relatively untouched part of Nicaragua.
    Soy el chele mono.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Between two Devils

    Quote Originally Posted by RGV AG View Post
    Drlemcor:
    I really enjoy your posts and read them frequently, although I don't post too frequently. Your tales and experiences are really enjoyable and your pictures are fantastic, and very enlightening/entertaining. You have allowed me to visit several places vicariously that I find most interesting. To hear your stories is really neat.

    I have basically spent 8 out of the last 11 years in Nicaragua and it really is more home nowadays than anyplace else, I truly enjoy the county and the people and should I live many more years I will spend more time there for during the course of the rest of my life. I liked it back years ago and I like it now, it has its issues but it is a neat place.

    All that being said, I am convinced that Tipitapa is the butthole extraordinaire of Nicaragua. I worked out there during a couple of spells and to me it is the dirtiest, most foul, and less inviting place that I have ever experienced in Central America. I think a lot has to do with the prison's there and then with too fast explosion of that big Free Zone going towards Coyotepe. About 95% of all labor unrest in the Free Zone's is in that one Industrial Park, yet the companies there are the most easy going and most giving to the employees in the country. It just seems that the folks from Tipitapa are just outright combative and thieving. At the other Free Zones I worked in Nicaragua, we had issues, but they were minuscule compared to the experiences in Tipitapa.

    Tipitapa is the one town in Nicaragua where being hit with the "Gringo Tax" is the rule and not the variable exception. I hope things get better out there over time, but I am not holding my breath. You are a tough hombre to venture out into Tipitapa and its environs.
    Tipitapa is dirty. Tipitapa is dangerous. Tipitapa is generally uninviting and often outright hostile. Tipitapa is a rough town--there's no doubt. That being said, I have known (and know) some good people in Tipitapa. Also, once you get past Tipitapa (out towards San Juan de Tipitapa) there's a night and day difference.
    Soy el chele mono.

  5. #5
    Active TRN Member RGV AG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sweatshops R-US Nicaragua again
    Posts
    860

    Default Re: Between two Devils

    Quote Originally Posted by drlemcor View Post
    Tipitapa is dirty. Tipitapa is dangerous. Tipitapa is generally uninviting and often outright hostile. Tipitapa is a rough town--there's no doubt. That being said, I have known (and know) some good people in Tipitapa. Also, once you get past Tipitapa (out towards San Juan de Tipitapa) there's a night and day difference.
    You are very correct. Where your latest pictures going toward Tisma or the other direction? I am not sure I know where San Juan de Tipitapa is in reference to Tipitapa prior. I agree with you, there are quite a few real pretty and neat places around the immediate vicinity of Tipitapa, I visited a few. You are also correct on the people, my experience has been that there are nice people everywhere, if you look well enough and make an effort to get to know folks. The previous being said, what I found in Tipitapa proper was that there was an inordinate percentage of slackers, miscreants, and outright hostile folks. Nowhere in Nicaragua that I have been have I ever experienced a populace like I did in Tipitapa. Long time locals attribute it to the effects of the prisons and many former guests staying in town and or families migrating to be near a family member.

    Also, the Tipitapa area was a very prosperous agricultural area before the revolution. Some of the most productive and successful "Finca's" were in that area. After the Revolution many of impoverished and revolutionary supporters squatted there and took land. I know two families that lost nice farms there which they were not able to recover due to them being settled. That one area of Nicaragua is the only place in the country that I have negative feelings towards, and it is the town itself really.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Between two Devils

    Quote Originally Posted by RGV AG View Post
    Where your latest pictures going toward Tisma or the other direction? I am not sure I know where San Juan de Tipitapa is in reference to Tipitapa prior.
    The waterway that runs into Tisma and then into Cocibolca is just to the south of the road that I took to San Juan de Tipitapa. So, I went east and then slightly south-east from Tipitapa to get there. I haven't made it all the way to the larger body of water that is labeled "Tisma" yet in my travels. I'm not sure if the wetlands that connect the two lakes is called Tisma as a whole or if Tisma is just the larger body of water in the middle...
    Soy el chele mono.

Similar Threads

  1. The devils made them do it
    By GreenGold in forum Today, in Nicaragua...
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-14-2008, 08:31 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Also visit the False Bluff Blog!