Yesterday I spent the day at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua Agricultural Sciences campus. The campus is outside of town, and the bus that goes there takes absolutely forever because it winds around every part of town in a crazy way. At first I was annoyed, because it is hot and crowded on the bus, but then I realized that it is actually a great way to see residential parts of the city that I otherwise wouldn’t necessarily explore. We passed some absolutely beautiful houses and churches (lots and lots of churches actually) that I am going to try and find again after I buy a bicycle.

At the University I got a wonderful tour of the labs for Biological Pest Control (they are reproducing and selling a parasitoid, a predator, a virus, and a fungus), and the fields that surround the campus. Right now is the summer, which is the hot dry season. All the crops growing now – corn, tomatoes, sesame, peppers, cotton, dry beans, and Jamaica flowers – were seeded at the very end of the wet season, in November and December, in order to be established, and now only some of them, like the tomatoes and peppers, are irrigated with drip tape. More on that coming soon.

This city is magical, mysterious, and elusive. I haven’t been here long enough for the map and the rhythms to sink into my head yet, so things keep happening like I find a street vendor who is super sweet and we have a nice conversation but next time I go back she is gone. I found a sweet little bakery with absolutely scrumptious croissants (tons of butter…), but I swear I walked that block again today and the blocks around in a circle where I thought I remembered it being and I couldn’t find it. I feel like every time I leave an area, somebody comes and slides the city blocks around like one of those little slide puzzles, so I am thoroughly confused and disoriented when I come back. I can see the video game advertisement, the colorful blocks of stucco houses with clay tile roofs distorted into an Escher-inspired impossibility…