FSLN Revolution Epilogue

Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
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Trip End Jul 29, 2008


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Thursday, November 22, 2007

We speed off on Tuesday in our trusty catamaran to the mainland of Honduras leaving behind our first Canadian friends!!  So sad! From there we jumped on a bus headed for Tegucigalpa, spent the night and then headed the next day for Managua, Nicaragua.  We arrived around 8pm on Wednesday into Managua which at that time it was pitch black.  The freakiest thing was that when we stepped out of the Tica Bus station the entire area had no street lights at all.  Pretty strange, the hotel that we stayed at was only 2 blocks, but, it was down some super stechy no lighted streets.  Luckily and unluckily we met this helpful guy named Luis, who said that he knew the place and that he would take us there and also take a commission on our room.  Hahahaa, Welcome to Nicaragua!
 
We were both super-stoked (I guess this is a word) about Managua.  We read a lot of history about the successful revolution that happened in 1979 and wanted to see what they did to remember their heroes.  We had planned on a few days to take it in, but, cut it short by a day or so because we got fed up about not really being able to walk to anything.  In Managua, we thought that it was pretty safe and that the size was smaller than some of the rougher capitals (Belize City, Guate City, San Salvador).  Nothing happened while we were there, but, all the cabbies and the hotel owner said it was sooooooo dangerous in the areas we were walking.  Our hotel owner would stop us from walking at 10:30am and our cab driver circled around after dropping us off to make us get back in because he was afraid for us.  It felt really restrictive and so frustrating!!
 
The first place we hit up was a monument on top of a hill in Managua.  On top of the hill up until 1979 there was a palace of the former dictator family (ie/The Bushs) Somoza.  In 1979 a group of armed rebels killed the entire Somoza family, the group was called the FSLN or Sandinistas.  They took their name from a farmer named Sandino who hated the Somozas and their rule.  The Somoza family basically ran Nicaragua for 3 generations, with the help of the US Marines and also the Iran-Contra mercenaries.  But, now there is a pretty cool looking silhouette of Sandino standing atop the hill looking out at the city.  This area was protected...more or less..by a bunch of military guys who were soooo bored that they all stopped us to talk (listen?) to them until they got in trouble and had to go back to work.  Nice guys. 
 
Second stop, the mall.  We hadn't really been in any malls in Central America and decided to take in all of American culture that had rubbed off on the Nicaraguans.  Pretty interesting, pretty much the same the only difference is Spanish brand chains, all the clothes are smaller and the movies in the theatre are all Spanish.  Next stop the footsteps of the indigenous.
 
I don't know too much of the history of these footsteps, but, they are neat.  They are around 6000 years old and are the footprints of the indigenous people of Nicaragua.  The footprints are the earliest signs of history of Nicragua and they were formed by people walking in the mud, then a volcano erupted and sent a butt load of ash down on the footprint, basically they are concrete because of the sulphur, lime and calcium that was spit from the volcano. One thing to note, the indigenous of Mexico were Aztec, then there seemed to be a gap on the continent because in Guate all the indigenous are Maya, then again in Nica the indigenous are Aztec again. 
 
The Malecon is the cool looking conch-amphitheatre that was built for Pope JPII, we saw this along with a cathedral and the royal palace.  The cathedral has a bit of unlucky history, first built in 1885 then an earthquake hit in like 1902, then it was rebuilt again and then another earthquake destroyed in the 60ties. Now, it is a pretty nice ruin. Other things that were interesting in Managua were a Soldier holding up a rifle with a flag attached to it and opposite to that was a park where people had created an amorphous wall and concreted the guns used in the 1979 rebellion as a sign of peace for the future.   But we had to take a taxi because it┤s actually not safe...ironic. 

On the way to all these monuments we got to take in the sights of Managua, including a Leper colony.  Didn't quite know what to make of it at first, it was basically a bunch of black tarps strung up all over the place with make shift walls made out of cardboard.  Our cab drivers just explained that ┤Ëh, that? Yah, they┤re just sick people, no big deal┤...Oh my god they have leprosy!! The colony was about the size of one city block.  Holy crap, one city block filled with lepers, what is this the f#$% middle ages.  When we got to Leon, we saw a bunch of advertising showing how to reduce leprosy with rats and dead animals.  We had no idea this was such a big problem here.            
 
We had been eating across the street of our hotel for about 3 nights.  Really good traditional Nicaraguan food, it consisted of these piles of potato and cheese, chicken tacos, crepes filled with cheese, quesadillas and grilled chicken.  At first we were a little skeptical because it was borderline street food.  But, we saw so many locals eating it, the manager said it was good and we had no other options because there are no streetlights.  It was really fantastic.  On the third night, we had a bit of a problem.  We paid for the meal and I asked if the owner could break a 500 Cordobas ($25 CDN) for the bill.  The whole restaurant is lit by candles even where the woman takes money.  So I pay, pull out the big 500 Cs and then get my change and go back to the hostel.  Not 5 minutes later there is a knock on my door, problem with the bill.  We go across the street and the woman says she has no 500C bill (all the lights in the restaurant are on at this point) we start arguing and I pull out my bills and say I don't have a 500 either, she also states that I try to give her a folded 20 Cordoba to trick her.  It goes back and forth until one of the waitresses says that she saw me give a 500 bill.  I felt a little bad she couldn't find the bill, but, the place is so friggin dark and woman keeps all the bills shoved in the front of her apron. 
 
Next day we took in one of the nicest museums in Central America.  Sort of a mix of everything, there was paleontology, a library, traditional cultures of Nicaragua, abstract art such as a pile of ripped tires...art?? and then a lot of wicked murals depicting the past, present and future.  Really amazing museum and a pretty relaxing last day, the following day we took a bus to Leon...next entry!

Bye for now.  Niko y Sarita.
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