Beyond Marin: The Magic of Nicaragua

The magnetic attraction so many travelers have to a particular place usually is due in part to the friendliness of the people. And Nicaragua is no exception. This country has captured my heart. It’s partly due to the genuine and deep smiles that magically spreads across the faces of so many Nicaraguans. It’s not a half smile that feels trite or customary or polite. This is the essence of the Nicaraguan people or Nicaraguense.

In this jewel of a country that is still raw and unscathed by hoards of tourists, it is common to observe a sincere warmth and contentment that is unique and admirable given the lack of material wealth. The colonial of streets of Granada pulsate with energy and nonstop bustling activity. There are vivacious markets with the necessary items such as shoes and food and simple luxury items such as dried crimson hibiscus flowers for tea and exotic deeply colored spices. On the sidewalk, big cauldrons sit propped up on a makeshift stove, steaming with the daily “almuerzo” for a mere 25 cents. Vendors are busy on the corner selling giant papayas and juicy watermelon. Colorful buses zoom through the packed streets where bicyclists, horse pulled carts, and school kids decked out in blue and white uniforms all share the road. The houses are painted brilliant colors that infuse a day-glow mood throughout the city.

It’s a delight to pass by a family sitting out on the sidewalk during the afternoon siesta and watch them all look up with curiosity and a warm smile. The smiles and laughter of the people here seem to emanate from a place deep inside most likely due to the tight social connections within a culture that places high regard for family and friends.  A highly significant expression in Nicaragua contains the word “compadrazago” which literally means co-paternity and refers to the extended family bond. This bond is evident along the streets and in the homes between blood relatives and customary godparents as well as between co-workers and friends. And luckily, as I observed, after several short conversations with both individuals and families, it transcends outwards to strangers.


As a photographer, writer, psychotherapist and nature lover, I am passionate about living in Marin County, CA. The perfect home base, Fairfax, CA is where I get out daily on the miles and miles of open space and find inspiration and plot my next journey out of Marin into the world. More about Mary... Mary is a New York Native who has been living in Northern CA for the past 20 years. She is a "Creative Image Photographer" infusing digital images with innovative techniques. Her favorite spot to take photos is muddled amidst the trees of Marin County CA, or in an exotic urban environment near the ocean, under the sky, and completely in awe. Mary's goal is to capture this scenery, to reach into the mystery of life, into the everyday magic, use the light and the dark as guides, delve into the chaos or the quiet and capture and whittle away at these snapshots, without disrupting their original essence, until they come alive and rich with depth and mood. Her mission is to create unique works of art that bring this depth, mystery, upheaval or serenity to people's walls and homes and ultimately that her work becomes a catalyst to help shift onlookers mood and outlook even if for a moment in time. Her work has been described as dreamy, ethereal, mysterious and mythical and yet also simple and straightforward. Currently her photos are on display at Google Headquarters in California.

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