I Heart Nicara-goo-a
Trip Start Jul 19, 2005
45Trip End Ongoing
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I left La Fortuna (Costa Rica), and lucky for me, rode the local busses with loads of other tourists, one who was actually heading up to Nicaragua as well and going to be travelling the country for about 10 days. After talking to him a while on the bus I decided that he was not psycho or weird (well, not creepy type weird, maybe a little crazy type weird) and was actually really entertaining, talking a mile a minute in his English accent and singing practically every song that has ever been recorded - including techno songs that are a little hard to decipher, seeing as they have no words to them. His name is Richard and heīs been travelling for the past 6 months and had about a week to see Nicaragua - so we decided to be travel buddies
We hailed down a nicer tourist bus at the border and made it all the way to the quaint, colonial town of Granada. We spent the next day just looking around the city and relaxing after our hectic travel day of catching five buses just to make it to our destination. The town of Granada has old Spanish buildings and main plazas and looks quite picturesque - but its the people who are my obsession. Its such a subtle thing, but if you walk around and keep your eyes open, you begin to notice how great they are. (Example: when getting on a very crowded local bus, the little 12-yr. old assistant, asked me to skoot over and make room for another person to sit down. He offered the seat to the man standing in the aisle above me, but when he saw a little old lady get on, ran over to her, took her by the arm and assisted her back to the seat next to me. They are all so polite and respectful and the women all great each other with caring expressions, and the men nod at you without making you feel all creeped out).
Walking down the hot, sunny streets, you look into the doorways of the buildings and you see many older people sitting in rocking chairs, rocking back and forth in the cool shade just visiting with each other. It seems like everyone you pass on the street either smiles at you, or at least smiles back at you
The next day we decided to catch a bus up to a town known for its artisan workshops and markets called Masaya. There was supposed to be a festival of the virgin that night with processions in the street carrying the virgin statue down to the water to bathe her and then bring her back to the church. Either these people hadnīt seen the inside of a confession box in many a moon, or there was no festival, but no one we talked to knew anything about any virgin. It was pretty funny when one guy replied "There is no virgin in this town." (Not one!?) So that gave us a good laugh, and lucky for us there was a weekly festival being held that night as well.
The great thing about Nicaragua (and the festival) is that its not YET run over by tourists. A lot of the people out and about were the local people and entire families from the town, ready to hang out, enjoy the company of their friends and be happy
After the dance troupe was finished, a Marimbo band started to play (think fast-paced salsa-type music that makes you wiggle in your seat). At the table behind us, four older men with pot bellies had been drinking their rum and enjoying the show. (I kept thinking we were in Havana, Cuba). One of them got up and just started dancing in front of everyone, doing his little two-step shuffle thing. (PS - I LOVE that the men dance here, no matter what age!) I looked over at him and smiled (hadnīt stopped smiling since I got into the country) and he extends his hand out for me to join him. What else are you going to do? So I got up as well and shuffled my feet and danced with him
When the festival was over, it was about midnight, and we still hadnīt eaten anything since breakfast, so when we walked past this bar/club, we paid the cover to see the live band, just to get some food. What better way to end the night than with live music (the band was covering 80s songs and such in really badly accented English) and chicken wings!!! Again, all the locals inside were dancing, having a great time, making me smile and smile even more. All in all, it was a really great night. I think I want to take this country home with me.