In our first week in San Juan del Sur we have had the opportunity to see a couple of sides to life here. We arrived on Friday and the final two games of the World Cup were Saturday and Sunday. Even though Nicaragua did not have a team playing there was no lack of flags, jerseys, and streamers flying from ceilings in celebration of the event. A very upbeat affair with giant TV’s blocking streets and everyone cheering no matter who scored.
This week had a decidedly different flavour to the festivities, with the celebration of “La Virgen del Carmen, Patrona de los Marineros”. Being a fishing village before it was ever a tourist hotspot this celebration was quite interesting to observe. And lucky for us the start of the celebration took place immediately outside our condo windows. We got an idea of how things were going to be when the local municipal workers dropped off the makings of a stage in front of our place.
My understanding is that a vigil is held throughout the night of July 15.
There is a bit of a recovery period built in the morning and mid day of July 16 then the Virgen del Carmen is paraded through town with live music to the docks where she is loaded onto a boat and leads a procession around the bay.
This was one of the busiest times we had ever seen the beach as people made their way to the docks or just loaded into boats from the beach. This is all accompanied by frequent explosions as people launch a pyrotechnic into the air that reminds me of shells used to trigger avalanches in the mountains.
The emergency worker in me was troubled by the apparent free for all as the boats manoeuvred for position in the procession around the bay. But they sorted themselves out and to the best of my knowledge everyone returned intact.
So far life here has been as relaxed or busy as we would like it. It bodes well for our months ahead here.