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Managua addresses

When you're making your way around Managua, don't be surprised to receive directions along the lines of “de donde fue el Cine, 50 meters abajo y uno cuadro a la montana” (from where the theater was, 50 meters down and one block towards the mountain). Other than the largest roads, such as Carretera Sur and Carretera Masaya, Managua has no street names, numbers or other regular addresses. The whole system of identifying locations is based on the old city, before that beloved place was destroyed in the 1972 earthquake. Back then, south was “a la montana” (to the mountains), north was “hacia al lago” (towards the lake), east was “arriba” (up, based on a now obscured hill) and west was “abajo” (down, same hill). Although the city has changed dramatically – outgrowing the old up and down boundaries, spreading out chaotically – the old directions have remained, as have references to landmarks that no longer exist. That theater you're looking for? It's now a fried chicken restaurant. Luckily, Nicaraguans are patient and helpful. They may not know where Av. Bolivar or the Zona Monumental are, but they're sure to point you in the right direction if you explain that you're looking for the old cathedral (take a right at the chicken restaurant and keep on walking).



By Rachael Hanley
A sometime newspaper journalist with a heavy side of wanderlust, Rachael moved to Quito in November to work on the V!VA staff. She is currently...
20 Mar 2009

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