Saturday, May 24, 2008

Granada at night

John G wasn't feeling great, so Marcia and I walked to town tonight to attend a party at a friend's house. Unfortunately, we didn't find the party. But fortunately, it's a blast to walk around Granada at night. Everyone's either at the park, hanging out at sidewalk cafes, or sitting in chairs outside their front doors (which are right on the sidewalk).

Earlier this afternoon, we designed and printed flyers (below) to hand out in the barrio, inviting people to come to an outdoor dance tomorrow at 4:30 pm. When we left for the party this evening (and never found it) Marcia passed out the printed invitations to people who were hanging out in front of their houses. I shot video of this process, including some insanely cute little girls giving us a preview of their Latin dancing skills. This is going to be probably the greatest dance video ever made. These Nicaraguans are like Dance Fever Pro 2.0.


After failing to find the party, shooting night video of Granada as we strolled along, we stopped at Nectar, a cool night spot along a street lined with cool night spots and outdoor tables. We had a drink at a sidewalk table as we watched the Nicaraguan world go by. Young and old out for a walk in the cool night air.

When we returned to Marcia's house, the party that had started several doors down the street earlier today was in full swing. I'm inside but the open-air roof is like a giant amplifier pumping the band's music into my room. The tuba player, the drummer, and the trumpet player, whoever they are, are damn good. And they're probably setting a world record for non-stop Latin music. I fully expect to be listening to this party for the rest of the night, followed by bombas (explosives) around 4 am. And this is a religious celebration. I hope I get to visit when it's really party time.

Which reminds me, when we walked past the Cathedral earlier tonight, you could hear a choir inside practicing. It was beautiful, in a New Orleans/Negro spiritual/hand-clapping style. Very cool stuff. YouTube clips coming soon.

The singing at the party next door has started now. I'll sign off so I can listen for a few hours.

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A fast food stop in the Market, downtown Granada.

Granada's Market

Walking through the market is like being in an Indiana Jones movie. Action on all sides, scary stuff like pig heads laying around, and passageways to explore that are rabbit warrens, weaving walkways that go from dark to light, open to crowded, food and produce to furniture and clothes. And, of course, getting there is half the fun - walking through downtown.

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Granada - downtown

Downtown Granada is a busy place on weekends. Maybe every day. I'll let you know. But I haven't been shoulder to shoulder with this many people since I visited the Cairo Bazaar. Since Marcia is fluent in Spanish, John G and I just follow her and shoot away.

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Granada - as in Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua. Less than 24 hours here and I've already been awakened at 4 am by the sound of bombas (fireworks explosions), singing, and mariachi music wafting in from the open roof of the house I'm in. Some sort of religious holiday is happening this weekend, so it'll be another early wake-up call tomorrow morning. But that's cool, because when in Nicaragua, do as the Nicaraguans do.

Santa Fe friend, John Gough, and I flew down here yesterday to visit (and stay with) his amazing sweetheart, Marcia, who's been living here for four years. She remodeled a crumbling, traditional barrio dwelling into an amazing, contemporary work of art. I'm not sure how many other residents on this street have a small swimming pool inside the front entry, but I'm guessing not too many. Between the pool and the Wi-Fi network, this is the best place to stay in Granada. But you have to have connections... Bwhahahaha!

This afternoon, as I downloaded the morning's photos, I heard a band playing. It sounded very close. A trumpet or two, a bass drum, snare drum, tuba, and trombone. I ignored it, figuring it would be gone by the time I ran downstairs and went outside. 30 minutes later it's still playing so I grab the video camera and run downstairs and out to the street. About three doors down a band is on the porch of a house playing for what looks like a birthday party. Very cool stuff. People stare at me with curious looks as I slowly circle the small crowd, aiming the video camera at them and at the band. I'd be paranoid about being intrusive, except I figure they're thinking "I don't know who he is, but he's gotta be staying at Marcia's house." Marcia later confirms that they were thinking exactly that. Later tonight I'll put a clip on YouTube and post a link to it.

This place is fascinating. Colorful. Unique. Friendly. Happy. Where else do you see a funeral home with a sign like this? Unbelievable.

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