Friday, December 7, 2012

San Carlos

For the final Nicaraguan adventure of the semester, Manfred and I went to San Carlos to see the annual water parade on the San Juan River. Getting there was half the adventure. We had to go to basically a Nicaraguan greyhound station in El Mercado Mayoreo. It took about an hour and a half in the city bus to arrive only to find out that the next bus to San Carlos was leaving in three hours.   Hanging out at the markets and bus stations is not the smartest nor safest idea by far,  but heading home would have been a waste of time. So we sat around and played UNO. Time flew quickly and at six thirty at night we hopped into the bus and were off to San Carlos.

Because it was a Friday, a lot of the people on the bus were heading to their homes either in San Carlos or somewhere along the way. These people mainly worked in the markets so the whole roof of the bus was covered with large baskets and boxes filled with merchandise.  The bus was also so crowded that the aisle was quickly filled with people willing to make the seven hour journey standing up. I felt terrible for these people, especially knowing that we would be traveling in the middle of the night, but they seemed accustomed to it.

The bus ride was not terrible and I did get to sleep a little bit and by 1:00am we had arrived in San Carlos. The city seemed really relaxed. We walked around and did not feel in danger at all. It was great!

At ten AM Saturday morning the festivities started. First was the water parade. The few floats in the parade were amazing.

 After the water parade a small parade of marching bands started up. They walked all around the down town area of San Carlos. Afterwards there was a short rowing competition back in the water.
The competitors jumped into these little boats and manuevered through a small obstacle course. The men did well, but the women's part was terrible. Two of the boats got in right away; meanwhile, the other three boats were paddling in circles in the distance.

As the afternoon drew to a close, a mini Carnaval started up. Groups of dancers came from all over Nicaragua. Their costumes represented the history of each region of Nicaragua. It was really interesting and the dancers did a great job!

The whole day was amazing. There were so many people in San Carlos just enjoying the free celebration. The atmosphere really gave me some Nica Pride!

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