I never knew seeing lava rushing through the mouth of a volcano was something that needed to be on my bucket list, until I actually got to see it. Visiting Volcano Masaya, also known as La Boca del Infierno (Hell’s Mouth), was one of my favorite parts of my weekend trip to Granada, Nicaragua. I left mesmerized and the child in me couldn’t help but wonder if there was a dungeon filled with toy-sized creatures that roamed its mysterious mouth, like the ones I had watched one too many times on Spy Kids 2.
Even though my trip to San Juan de Oriente didn’t compare with the exhilarating rush of excitement I got from the lava tour, my visit to the indigenous community grounds was very interesting. I took a tour around the “clay factory” that the indigenous tribe run. The leader, who’s name I can’t pronounce or remotely spell for the life of me, taught us about the laborious work that goes into creating the pottery they sell. He taught us that the process takes 16 days.
The entire process begins with digging up hardened clay and softening it during a religious ceremony. The tribe stomps on the clay for three hours, stopping after seven rounds of polishing their art with different materials. The materials vary from Sapote fruit seeds to granite rocks. He told us that children in the tribe begin learning how to draw at the young age of 8 and begin creating the pottery at the age of 11. The machine which they use to sculpt the clay is self-powered, they spin the machine with their legs. I teasingly joked with the tribe leader that his quads must be in great shape and he simply nodded. The entire process was fascinating and I left the factory with a new-found respect for the art of pottery. I also left with a beautifully decorated mug for my mom… and one for myself… or three…
The rest of our activities included taking a nice swim in a crater that was flooded with rain water, a boat ride to one of Nicaragua’s 365 famous Isletas and a hike to Mombacho Volcano. All in all, it was a combination of Nicaragua’s mouth-watering foods, colorfully painted buildings and traditional music that blasted through the streets that stole my heart; for which I must return.