One of the first things Quinn and I noticed when entering the colorful city of Granada was that it had very few buildings with more than two stories. This was not the typical city that we were used to. As we pulled up to the Granada bus stop there were hundreds of vendors up and down the streets selling everything from backpacks to bicycle tires.
This was by far the biggest outdoor market I had ever seen in Nicaragua. The bus came to a stop. The bus station was right on the edge of the Granada market. We jumped out and looked at the clock. The bus ride from San Juan del Sur took five hours. Time to stretch our legs and check out the massive market. We grabbed our bags and followed our noses towards the interesting scent of different foods sitting out in the hot sun.
We walked down the street from the bus station, turned the corner and stopped. We both looked at each other. In front of us was a massive tent of rusty sheet metal that created a rooftop over the market inside. Excited to go in, we walked together underneath the tent and entered, what looked and felt like, a completely different underground city. It was dark so it took a moment for our eyes to adjust to the change from being outside in the sun.
Once we adapted, we realized we were walking through a confusing maze. There was no one direction–there were alley ways every which way. From fruits and veggies to raw chicken and beef to shoes and backpacks to deodorant and makeup there was a market vendor for everything.
One of the most prominent scents in the market was the strong stench coming from the white salty dry Nicaraguan cheese called Cuajada. The cheese can get very stinky if exposed to heat, hence the strong smell inside the market. There was also a variety of raw fish and meats being sold inside the market which contributed to the aroma.
The different meats were all just sitting on the tables, fully exposed in the open. The merchants would simply wave a stick with leaves over the meat to prevent the flies from settling, for the most part, however, this didn’t quite solve the problem. Maybe one day we’ll try the market meat, but today was not the day. As we continued to walk we noticed huge bags of rice, beans and other grains.
After walking through the maze of the market we were in full look out for the “yellow church” where Gord told us we would meet them. Quinn looked at me and asked “How many yellow churches do you think are in Granada?”. Due to the city being very colorful, we decided to walk around a little bit to make sure that we wouldn’t miss our new friends when they came to pick us up.