Friday, January 30, 2009

Volcan Masaya

Yesterday afternoon, some of us students at the Laguna de Apoyo language school in Nicaragua went to Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya. This is an active volcanoe that had tourists running for cover as recently as 2001. The visit, though pleasant, was not without danger.

OK, so it didn’t happen to erupt during the 2 hours while we there, but even at rest, this volcano produces enough fumes to keep you from peering over the edge inside. We did this, very briefly, at the very end of our visit, wearing gas masks.

Visible in the depths through the smoke was a faint glow. I decided to keep my camera inside my backpack inside the minivan, and not get that photo. Figured it wasn’t worth risking damage to my optics.

After visiting the crater, we visited a couple of caves, one of which had a bunch of bats swirling around. We went inside the bigger of the two, where we were shown rock formations, one of which was supposed to resemble the face of the God of Darkness. Someone said it looked like Elvis, although I thought it looked really more like Gene Simmons, of Kiss. Everyone brings their own cultural references to these kinds of things, I guess. The bat cave was much narrower, so we only peered inside. Our guide asked us if anyone wanted to get photos, which he would take for this person from the best seat in the house. Sure, I said, I would appreciate that, and he proceeded to take a series of photos, including the one above. As will happen on such occasions, in the dark the camera accidentally got set to manual focus. This greatly reduced the possibility of me getting decent bat shots to those instances where the bat just happened to be flying in the fixed focal range.

Afterwards we went into town (Masaya) where every Thursday in the old market, dancers perform for tourists. The food was good and the dancing fairly entertaining, so all in all a nice afternoon and evening out.

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