Granada, Nicaragua, November 11, 2003. It was a work day, but a mercifully brief one that was over before noon. My hosts had recommended a restaurant in the nearby town of Granada. It’s been a while since I did this, but at this point, I’ll refer back to my journal…
As we drove through the narrow streets, my photographic guardian angel, Frances, stepped into my life once again and provided me with a grand opportunity to witness a local funeral procession. We pulled over to the side of the road, and as I began to shoot through the windshield, M said that she was sure that, if I’d like to get out with my camera, the participants would surely understand that I’m not from here, and it would be ok. This was something that she did not have to say twice. I was immediately out of the car and—while doing my best to radiate obvious respect for the deceased and the mourners—rapidly prepared to do what I could, in the limited time I had, to get ready for what may well be the best photos I would be able to make during my stay in the country. I was particularly taken with the shawls that adorned the horses that were pulling the beautiful hearse.
When the procession had passed, V drove unerringly into what appeared to be an ever-deeper poverty area of town with rough, dirt streets, garbage lying around, unbelievably skinny dogs, and nearly-naked children; what little they were wearing looked like it hadn’t been washed in many days. When I was sure he had made a wrong turn somewhere and we’d soon find ourselves stuck in some deep rut, he made a right turn into a side street and parked next to what turned out to be a famous restaurant, Las Colinas (The Hills), with a smoothed dirt floor, whose specialty was pan-fried guapote, a fresh-water fish indigenous to nearby Lake Nicaragua, which is, I learned, the seventh-largest freshwater lake in the world. Both M and V ordered this, and being adventurous, I did too. It had been carefully filleted from the top but the sides were left attached at the head and tail, so it still looked like a whole fish. The scales had all been removed and the skin was crispy and the flesh firm and really delicious. It was accompanied (as you see) by salad, fries, and rice. If you’re ever in Nicaragua, add this to your adventure!
When I sorted this slide out for inclusion in my posts, I had originally intended to offer it in my new Fleeting Beauty category, and though the horses are certainly beautiful (please click on the photo for a higher-resolution image) and the fish dinner was memorable, the nature of the experience drew me more toward the melancholy side.