The Nica version of “Carnaval”

Last week was the annual bull run through town, which we witnessed last year and frankly were not keen to repeat. Its’ a Nica version of the well organized, but still potentially dangerous famous Bull run in Spain. Bringing it to Nicaraguan proportions this means that instead of a herd of bulls running in a straight determined path, here an occasional large bull runs on a random path, with groups of children and grown men both running and screaming at intervals (bull or no bull) and an equal amount of people in trees and on top of other high surfaces. We have come to understand that the degree of success of this bull run vintage is measured in terms of how many people got hurt. Ok, so we went to the beach instead.

Last night was yet another opportunity for a city wide fiesta. The usually sleepy and quiet Parque Central was transformed into the Rio carnival of the North. Two huge stages with live music, concert size speakers, Las Vegas style dancer or two and TV camera broadcasting “Live from Granada” to the rest of Nicaragua (and some other Latin American countries.)

This is a big event, and a big opportunity to sell stuff and make a dollar or two. Most street corners had makeshift street food stands. We had some yummy crispy corncakes filled with Nicaraguan style feta cheese (a specialty from the North of the country.) Vendors aplenty…
Pretty good homemade candy apples on plastic trays… Hard core Sandinista fan on left.
Respalda (a block of shaved ice smothered in Dulce de Leche sauce) is served from old fashioned clunky wood carts.
“Carneval” is also about floats and groups of dancers with homemade costumes.

The floats are sophisticated looking, from a distance, crude from up close, yet very creative.

The blue crew seems to have used plastic piping from the local car shop to make their head gear.

LOTS of noise – music, drums, constant announcements at high decibels and of course in the middle of the park behind the stage, fireworks which went off above the crowds (lets just say that safety standards are pretty relaxed here.)
Ceremony was launched by Granada’s mayor, i.e. the guy with the cowboy hat on right.

In the middle of the square a few booths with games such as roulette using a homemade wooden spinner, hand painted.

The best part for us comes when we realize that there is an additional layer of enjoyment: namely, “Hey…we LIVE here!”

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