Friday, February 6, 2009

A Visual Aid: Matagalpa!

You want to know how good life is right now? It's beyond wonderful; it's practically hallucinogenic. It's so good that my friend Doc compared my recent life experiences to the early signs of schizophrenia. I'm going to pretend he was kidding. Sadly, I don't have photographs of the absolutely best things, but here's a couple to at least put you in the right frame of mind.

Last weekend I went hiking with a Dutch woman who also works up here, and oh my sweet lord. To live in a place where I can, in 15 minutes walking, be out of the city and up in the hills... God, I am SO not a city girl. So here's me, up in some of the grasslands above the city. Please ignore the very attractive muffin-top poking over the waistband of my yoga pants. It's just a figment of your imagination, anyway. Are you schizophrenic?

This hiking trip got a little more exciting when we realized that a small yet significant portion of these gorgeous grasslands were on fire. And furthermore, that fire was spreading and would in a matter of minutes be directly in our path. Ah, the joys of trekking about in a place with no forest service rangers! This picture didn't come out too well, mostly because once we'd identified that strange crackling sound and smoky smell we just ran like hell for quite a while, and I took this photo from a safe distance.

See what I brave for you, my poppets? Wild grass fires at high altitude, all to snap a nice picture of the city from up on the surrounding mountains. Well I hope you're satisfied, because I ALMOST DIED, and if that had happened wouldn't you be sad now. [Surgeon General's Warning: Egregious Exaggeration May Be Dangerous To Your Health, But Still Is Damn Good Story-Telling Technique]

So here you have it: my new city, as seen from above.

I'm kind of sad that this is the only picture I have to share with you, as the other night I saw what was, categorically and in no uncertain terms, the most breathtaking sunset-with-double-rainbows I have ever seen in my life. I'd gone up to have dinner with my friend who owns the chocolate factory, El Castillo de Cacao, which sits on a hillside overlooking Matagalpa, to the right in that picture up above. From the turrets above the castle (the factory is built to look like a castle) we stood there drinking beer and watching the sunset. A strong wind blew in at our backs, from the east, and with it came a fine mist of precipitation. As the wind blew the particles of moisture down into the valley they collided with the rays of a setting sun and created a double rainbow that was so clear, so bright, so perfectly arched... Well, it just took my breath away. The sunlight was that perfect goldy-orangey color and the hills upon which Matagalpa lies draped seemed to take on a life of their own, undulating and perfect, and crystal clear.

In a way, I'm actually glad I didn't have my camera because if I had I would've likely wasted that time trying desperately for the perfect shot to capture the moment. In the end, I don't have a picture, but I'll carry this memory with me forever. So there you have it. Matagalpa, my posies.


Prunella Jones said...

Wait a minute, did any of this really happen? Or are you just high on computer duster right now?

Ooops, sorry it's me that's sniffing duster. Weeeee, it's like walking on sunshine!!!!

Prunella Jones said...

Just kidding. (Wink, wink) It looks lovely. Glad you had fun.

Frank Irwin said...

You have a friend who owns a chocolate factory? You are living right!

And thanks ever so much for risking your life just for us.

Alison in CO said...

My father was a photographer. When he would explain some of the beautiful things he had seen on vacations or elsewhere, people would ask for pictures. His reply? "A picture is worth a thousand words, but a thousand pictures can't show the beauty of some of life's scenes. Sometimes you have to put the camera down, take a deep breath and enjoy, seeing the beauty through your eyes and not the lens." A double rainbow, the perfect sunset, a light mist, the city below ..... sounds like you had one of those moments that Dad talked about. A flat, lifeless snapshot or a memory for a lifetime? I'd opt for the latter.

Kate said...

Your description was just as good as an actual photograph. You shore do have a good way with them words!

Can't wait to compare muffin tops-- Mine SO wins!

Cheasty said...

pru. you are too sick for words, and that is why i luv ya.

frank. the pleasure is all mine. and yes, my friend owns a chocolate factory. a chocolate CASTLE, actually, which is totally better, and they make all the chocolate by hand. even grinding the cacoa beans. it´s awesome.

alison in CO. your dad was a very smart man. the sunset tonight was pretty amazing as well, so maybe i´ll post somepics of that sometime.

kate, you flatterer, you. you´ve had two babies, so you´re allowed a muffin top. me, i just eat too much gallo pinto. not okay.

Anonymous said...

bring back more CHOCOLATE. weeeeeeeeeeee!


Anonymous said...

The pictures are awesome!! Looks like a very serene and beautiful place.
U ever thought of writing a novel? U have a very good knack of describing things in sharp details.