Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tourista in Rivas

On Tuesday I went for a little tour of Rivas. For the last month and a half I’ve been at the offices in San Jorge, the new property near Jinotepe or in Managua for meetings. So I hardly know the town of Rivas.

Technically, I live in San Jorge. San Jorge is a small little suburb next to Lake Nicaragua. The main ferry to the island of Omotepe is located here. Neighboring San Jorge on its inland side is the ‘city’ of Rivas. Miguel, a pequeno who is working at the offices while on break from University offered to take me on a tour.

We started by walking from the offices which are located in a neighborhood to the main street running through town. From there we caught a taxi to the market in Rivas. Now there are many little tiendas in all residential areas selling random snack type foods and miscellanea. They are basically rooms in concrete block houses that have a doorway open to the street. But this was street upon street (although they’re little streets) of shops. There was the women’s clothing area, shoe area, vegetable area, meat area, jewelry area, you get the idea.

I pause to take a photo of whoever passes by as Miguel buys a watch

From there we went to a museum. Miguel doesn’t really like museums, but I was paying and he was my guide so I guess he decided he should own up to the fact that there was a museum. It is officially the ‘Museum of Anthropology and History of Rivas’. There were dusty birds and badly taxidermied cats (one large cat looked like he had a cross between a sneer and a goofy grin) and a fair amount of pottery. The island of Omotepe has been occupied for centuries and has left behind many artifacts that are still being uncovered during current excavations. The museum was pretty much just two rooms, but it was interesting for the small amount of time we spent there and it cost just over $1 for both of us together.

Miguel offers to be the sacrifice to a very surprised looking puma

From there we walked around a bit, past one of the churches (of several) through a nicer part of town which is about ½ of a block long and to the supermarket. The supermarket was my idea. There is only one in town and I wanted to see what was available. It wasn’t part of a chain, and I checked my backpack in at the front desk. With a concrete floor and open shelving it was crowded as we walked through the four short aisles of food. The toiletries/soap/paper goods area was smaller, but a little less crowded except for the line against the wall waiting to do business at the little bank area.

We bought some chocolate milk, which at $1.50 for both of us was more expensive than the museum, and headed to our last stop, the central park. Like virtually all Latin American towns, Rivas has a central park. It takes up about a block of space and has one large gazebo. The rest is made up of walkways and benches and occasional trees. There’s even a swing set (which made me think back to the newly remodeled park next to my apartment in Seattle where the swing set has rubber chips underneath for a softer landing). It was being used by a lot of people to gather, chat, walk, be a community.

Random busy-ness at the park

We joined in by occupying a bench while we finished with our drinks across from another church, then we headed back home in another taxi and back to work!

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