volcan masaya parque national has 2 volcanoes and 5 craters. i visited masaya which is a pyroclastic shield volcano that lies within a greater caldera.
it last erupted in 2008.
no one died but some visitors here on that day were injured from flying rock and their cars were damaged. needless to say julio, my guide, backed into our parking space just in case we needed to make a quick getaway!
not having the benefit of scientific knowledge that we do today, both the indigenous people and the spanish conquistadors feared the wrath of the volcano. the spanish baptized masaya and gave her the name LA BOCA DEL INFIERNO (the mouth of hell). in the 16th century a cross was erected on the crater’s lip in the hopes of exorcising the devil that lay within.
i was impressed with the visitor center’s displays of local flora & fauna.
there were also many models of volcanoes, maps, and tectonic plates. i couldn’t help thinking of my students back in LA’s chinatown. how they would have loved to come on this field trip!
whenever julio spotted something he thought i needed to see he would exclaim, “mareeeeee moss come to look at this!” in the most fantastic accent you can imagine.
which he did when he found a dozen live little bats hanging up behind a display.
and while we were at the overlook of the visitor center.
and when he saw this glorious canna poking through the fence of the train station, where we had stopped on our way out of town.
each new thing a source of wonder.
from the park entrance we sped along a narrow road through dense trees, a great valley of lava rock, and finally fields of grass.
oh oh oh.
that such things exist!
that we are alive to see them!
finally julio backed the car into the parking space and we leapt out of the car and hurried to the edge.
directly below you can see and hear the gentle roar of the magma.
from the great maw of the caldera, sulfuric smoke billows out. and occasionally it parts to reveal a hint of red. so fantastic!
one cannot stay for long at the lip of the volcano. after only 5-10 minutes you begin to feel the effects of the smoke and your body instinctively wants to move away.
we climbed back into the car and coasted down the road that wound its way through the green grass…all the way down the mountain, through the dense trees, and the valley of lava rocks. the view on the way down… stunning.
heading to managua in the morn and then off to LA via mexico city after that. during a layover i’ll clack out another dispatch about my experience in catarina, one of the villages i visited. you will want to see my new patron saint of art retreats. a plus sized queen in a skintight pink leotard. i’ve named her thusly catarina de apoyo.
blowing my last kiss from nicaragua…xo