Masaya Jan 23-25, 2013

There really isn’t much to Masaya.  We shared a taxi with our Kiwi friends and went to find a room.  We found a place for 200 cords a night but only one room available.  The Kiwis said if we want it we can have it so we thanked them and said “we’ll take it”.   We really needed this to help with the final weeks of our budget as we are way over what we anticipated.  We can afford it… it will just be a bit tougher on the bank account and we’ll have to work harder when we get home. I’m cheap.

And lazy.

The Kiwis found a room across the street for around 320 cord so they did okay as well.  We met up at a smoothie place a couple hours later then went to a mexican place for dinner.  We had a tasty, cheap meal and went for dessert a couple blocks down the road.  We all hung out until about 9pm before heading back to our hotels.  Ours has a 10pm cerfew and theirs is 10:30 so we are kind of questioning how safe the city is at night.  To add to that, we notice places don’t like breaking bigger bills and make a point to carry small amounts of change. Also, most places, our hotel included, are barred up and locked even during the daytime and you have to call for someone to come let you in. We also noticed all of the furnature outside was chained up.  If it aint nailed down, it aint yours no more.

The following morning the power was out.  We attached our headlamps to the curtain rod in the shower so we could have light before heading out.  I looked at the map, and read it wrong (It showed the place we are staying on a corner and we are to the left of it so I put us on the street beside us).  We then walked 10 blocks in the wrong direction before zigzagging back to where we inteded to go and I had no idea were we were in relation to our hotel.

The old Artisan Market has the biggest ripoff prices. Chele Prices.  Grumpy and frustrated, we try to find our way back.  Finally we get back, I look at a better map online something I wish I could have done earlier that morning and figure out where I went wrong.  We find where a cheaper market is after figuring out what we want to buy and find everything but one thing at half the price.  I can’t tell you what all we bought because it’s Christmas presents for family at home and they’re probably going to read this if they actually love me like they say they do.

Looks like we have to stop back at the Overpriced market.  We find the store that had the item and begin going back and forth.  They didn’t want to come down on the price to where I was because they are the only place in Masaya that has them.  Turns out I was haggling with the designer.  I guess they saw the look of the sale walking away and finally agreed with me at the max price I was willing to go.  I probably would have buckled and just payed what they wanted had they not given in first.  I have a lot of patience and determination to get what I want.

We head back to the hotel and are hungry so we drop our goodies off and go back to the Mexican restaurant because it was good and cheap.  By now we’re exhausted, turning a 10 minute walk into an hour and going back and forth on prices with people that do this for a living is tiring.  We relax for a couple hours then Kristi sends me to get a couple smoothies from the place across the street.  They only have one to-go cup so I only got one.  Kristi wasn’t impressed because they are way too good to share one.

We unfortunately didn’t get to see our Kiwi friends again but wish them safe travels as they make their way to Panama.  It makes your time much more fun when you’re in good company.

We got a late start to our final day in Masaya.  Had a great breakfast and found a taxi out to the Fortress “Coyotepe”.  The taxi tried to charge us $10.  We said we would pay $5 and he said okay.  We probably could have gone for $3.  Either way the taxi drove us up to the top of a big hill a couple KM out of town.  Coyotepe was pretty cool.  Unfortunately, Kristi turned on the camera and before she could take a photo, it died.  Strange… we charged the camera 2 days ago without using it.  This kind of sucked as we had a great view overlooking Masaya and a great view of the Volcano.  We also got to go down into the torture chambers which were extremely creepy.  We only made it a little way in before going back.  They were full of creepy looking cells and the ceiling was littered with bats.  You needed a flashlight to walk through.  We assumed it was likely the same all the way through after seeing the first 4 rooms.

We went back to the market where we bought ourselves a new hammock to take camping this year.  A guy at the expensive market tried to sell us the same hammock for $25… we bought it for $8.

I also decided I would have some fun.  We had already bought our hammock and some people walk around selling stuff instead of having a stand.  As Kristi was buying something a guy is standing behind me saying “hamaca! hamaca!”… “You want buy?”… “good price”… I had my back turned the whole time trying to ignore him.  He finally tapped me on the shoulder so I would look at him.  “Hamaca?”  Holding it up.

Me: “one dollar”

Him: “Cinqo dollars”

Me: “Uno dollar”

Him: “quatro dollars”

Me: “No muy caro (too expensive).  Uno dollar o nada”

He may have come down to $3 but I stood my ground and he walked away looking offended realizing that I wasn’t going to budge and his soul would be crushed if he gave it up any cheaper.  Maybe it was a dick move but he’s the one that insisted on tapping me on the shoulder and interupted me while I was trying to ignore him.

After that we went and had one final smoothie before leaving to Leon.  Our bus driver from Masaya to Managua was nuts.  He drove like a maniac, cutting people off, running red lights and taking a bumpy detour when traffic was bad.  We were fortunate enough to arrive safely and jumped in a microbus to Leon.  Slowest driver ever.  Out for a relaxed cruise, I thought we may never get to Leon.  I think I liked the maniac more as he kept me on my toes were I was yawning and dozing off on the way to Leon.

Either way, we arrived safely.  Carlos has all of his rooms rented out so we found a hostal with $12 private rooms.  The shocking part: It came with a private bathroom! The not so shocking part: One of the glass panels was kicked in so we have a big hole in our door.  We can also hear a mixture of music coming from the bar upstairs and the club across the street.  But the second cheapest room we could find was $17 and it didn’t include a private bathroom so we’ll save a few bucks staying here.  Time to kick back and relax for our final 10 days.

A couple side notes about Masaya: We stayed at Hotel Central which is next door to Hotel Regis and across the street from Mi Casa Hostel.  200 cords for a private room with private bath, I believe is the cheapest in the area.  Though the street is lined with Hotels and Hostels, Mi Casa is expensive but home to the delicious smoothie bar we enjoyed.  Hotel Regis was the first place we tried but it was full. Lonely Planet talks about the clean bathrooms in their book.  The entire hotel looks very clean.  If you’re going to shop in Masaya, you want to go to the Municipal Market not the Old (Viejo) Market.  It’s huge and broken off into sections, you can eat, shop for groceries, or shop for souvenirs.  Keep your money in zipped pockets as this is where pickpockets hang out and never agree to the first price thrown at you.

Sorry we didn’t take any pics in Masaya.

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