It's HOT, it's dry, it's windy and it's dirty. Such is life during March and April in Nicaragua. Just when we think we can't possibly get up and go forward another day, we get a call from family stateside to say they are coming to visit. It is the first time that family members have visited us - 7 years of "loneliness".
Our oldest daughter had made a trip to Nica with us a year before we moved here. At that time, she had been drafted by her siblings to accompany us on a trip to do reconnaissance and determine if mom and dad should be admitted to a mental institution. This year however, she wanted to be able to spend her 50th birthday with us.
Nicaragua does not use the term Easter, it is called Semana Santa (Holy Week) and resurrection day is Holy Sunday. It was a wonderful time of year for our daughter and her husband to visit and experience the festive life of Nicaraguans. Even the streets are decorated with colored sand portraits.
Life comes to a halt on Wednesday evening of Holy Week and the city empties out because everyone heads to the beach. Buses are loaded down with campers and supplies; pickup trucks are riding on their axles because of overcrowding. The tradition here is so different from what we experienced in the U.S. In Nica, Easter Sunday is no different than any other Sunday. They seem to acknowledge the death of Christ more than His resurrection. Life for the average Nicaraguense returns to it's usual pattern on Sunday.
We ventured out to the beach but only on Wednesday afternoon for lunch; any time after that would have been foolish. Las Peñitas and Poneloya are small fishing villages on the ocean that experience a tourist explosion of tens of thousands of people during the 4 days. We love the fact that we practically live on the Pacific and look forward to showing it to anyone who comes to visit, just not during those days.
We live on a cul-de-sac with a park out our front door and an old Catholic Church across the street from there. The church is very active and there were continual events the entire week with lots of beautiful fireworks in the evening.. We love that we have a front row seat, but the noise can be deafening and spent bottle rockets landing on our roof or patio is more than our dogs can take. They hide in our room in fear.
The last day of their visit, we rented two tricyclos and toured the city. Our goal was to visit each of the major Catholic Churches - 14 of them. We took pictures inside and out of all 14. Who would have guessed we'd have had such fun touring our city. The sites that are so familiar to us everyday, I hope we never take for granted.
A week was too short, but being able to share our life with a member of our family was priceless. The time off from the usual routine was a welcome break. They talked of coming back at Christmas, it is something to look forward to.