On July 19, 1979 the Sandinistas revolutionized Nicaragua by kicking out a lousy dictator (Samosa) and placing Daniel Ortega as el presidente. (If you want the details, look it up). Every July, a portion of Nicaragua gathers in its capital city Managua, waving black and red Sandinista flags to celebrate the 1979 Revolution.
Despite several warnings, we ventured to Managua ourselves.
At 3pm we hopped on a capital-bound express bus and traveled for an hour alongside the parade of free buses transporting fanatic Sandinistas, also on their way to the rally.
As soon as we arrived at the plaza, I did a quick headcount and arrived at the figure 8,198,210 hundundred bizgillion people. I could have crowd surfed for DAYS.
The gathering had the air of a funeral. Even while the national anthem was playing and the flags were waving wildly, few people smiled. In fact, most people looked pretty callous and rough hearted. At first, I hid my camera under my jacket due to all the drunk mofo’s stumblin’ around startin’ trouble, but pretty soon I was sitting atop Adam’s shoulders with my back against a palm tree snapping the sea of red and black flags until the sun went down.
The darker the sky got, the drunker the people got.
So we decided to skip out fast before the tidal wave of belligerents was released.
We started heading toward the field of free buses, hoping to catch one back to Granada, but found out that they weren’t leaving until midnight!
Hell Na. We are NOT getting trapped for 5 hours in this cantankerous crowd, pumped on politics, spoilin’ for a fight.
We start weaving in and between the maze of busses (and some muchachos pissing in the grass), lookin like some stupid gringos, “A Granada?? Saliendo ahora? Qual autobus? Quando va a ir a Granada?”
In our search, we happen upon a stream of cars exiting the area and (breaking my No Hitchhiking after Sunset rule) we stick out our hopeful little thumbs to hitch a ride back.
Unusually, we were ignored by every passing car – so you can stop biting your nails now, Dad.
In FACT, you can start thanking your answered prayers because at that very moment we were approached by a shadowed man with a giant drum attached to his chest – “Hola!” he says. “Ustedes viven por la calle Santa Lucia, si? Ustedes connocen Lilly? Yo trabaje para ella, se recuerdo?”
YES! YES we DO live on Santa Lucia Street and YES we DO know Lilly and YES We DO remember you from the very first day we arrived.. And How the heck do we get home??
“Follow me,” he says.
And as we follow our friend Huicho in the dark, across town, through the 8,198,210 hundundred bizgillion people, he kindly scolds us for venturing to Managua on the craziest day of the year. “Managua es muy peligroso.”
(This trip made us ever grateful that we randomly chose Granada to live in instead of Managua. Granada es no muy dangerous. In fact its one of the safest towns in Central America.)
Huicho led us to the buses returning to Granada and as soon as we hopped on the bus, it took off town-bound, leaving the raucous multitude behind.
Riding home, we felt a sort of Santa Lucia pride, for all of our traveling companions were nuestro vecinos (our neighbors) from our street! Not only was the bus heading back to Granada, but it dropped us off right in front of our house! Buses here don’t do that.
Viva la Revolucion!