Last week my brothers and sister-in-law toured Nicaragua with us in tow. As anyone who knows Tyler and Jason can imagine, the visit had us doubling over with laughter. We loved it. Where shall we begin? For starters the five of us arrived in Granada on what was probably the best day of the year. Weather and action-wise. Granada was host to an international poetry festival which had attracted some of Nicaragua's most famous writers, and moreover the city had gone out of its way to make the evening exciting. After checking into a wonderful hotel that Tyler had scoped out online La Gran Francia we walked out on the famous 500 year old central square that makes Granada a major tourist attraction.
Who else is singing on-stage at the festival but none other than Carlos Mejia Godoy the most loved and renowned Nicaraguan singer, musician, cultural icon and songwriter. Not much later we had the great luck to see Ernesto Cardinal, poet laureate and renowned Latin American poet-writer, read a poem. He is aging so this may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity.
After the group had enough with the poets spraying words in a language only 1 out of the 5 of us could understand, we looked around at kiosks and tables of artisan goods, searched unsuccessfully for good cigars, and dodged a sketchy huckster named Ricardo who Jason and I have encountered in similar parasitic-like experiences. Ricardo is a fluent English speaker who hangs out in the Hotel Alhambra where he is employed - the equivalent of a cruiseboat entertainment director - wearing high-guy white shorts, green vertical stripe shirts and all. Jason and I know enough to stay away.
Right before dinner - Tyler, Jason and Michele witnessed what we could only decipher as large-scale puppets - the traditional big lady and head man puppets - doing the dirty symbolically on the main street outside of the hotel. Oh yeah, there are pictures to prove it. Tyler threw a dollar. After dinner we got to business finding a good bar and good music. We landed in Cafe Nuit to see some local acts from Managua. Sitting next to us was the lead singer from the band PerroZompopo (DogLeaf-CutterAnt), whose name is Ramon Mejia. We had no idea who he was. People just kept coming up to get pictures and signatures. Jason leaned over and said, "Well you must be famous, but I don't know who you are." Ramon's Italian girlfriend entered the conversation to resolve the international dispute. Friendship blossomed. We got Nicaragua's hottest new singer's cell number.
That night after the live music the three fearless travelers - sans Bradley and Cynthia - cruised the lake-side strip to go dancing at one of the local bars. More humor ensued, something about large beer bottles, hypnotic drinks and Tyler testing his sign-language. Everyone went to sleep content. We were all in Nicaragua together. Amazing.