19.01.2014 - 25.01.2014 25 °C
Back in Nicaragua, we decided to top up our Spanish skills again at a school attached to the Estacion Biologico - an environmental research station next to Laguna de Apoyo. This time around, we had a teacher each.
As well as cramming our heads full of more grammar, we learned some useful things about Nicaragua - for example, don't ever argue with your partner, because there is a legend that if you do, this nocturnal half-person-half-monkey-like-creature will come and steal your chickens.
The Estacion itself does a lot of work to combat the illegal felling of trees in the conservation area (like those on the right that have been cut for their valuable cedar wood). They systematically monitor sightings of the many different bird species and insect species in the area. Pablo (below) also provides free nature tours to students of the school, cares for scrappy looking parrots with broken wings, and likes to torment squeamish gringas with the centre's slightly ghoulish collection of bits of dead creatures.
We saw some 'petroglyphs' down by the lake shore - symbols carved on rocks by indigenous inhabitants prior to the Spanish conquest. The carvings have survived on these hard rocks for many centuries, but in some cases nature seems to be trying to take them back.
One afternoon we climbed into Pablo's 'rustic' old Jeep and took a ride to the mirador (lookout point) where you can see the whole laguna from above.
On our way back to Granada at the end of the week, we stopped at Masaya - a busy and attractive town with a famous artisanal market, and an enormous open-air fruit and vegetable market. Here are a couple of shots of the latter as its winding down in the late afternoon.
Having brushed up on our Spanish we were ready to move on to Granada where, as you shall see, we put our skills to good use.