Category Archives: People & Culture
Just Another Day in Paradise
When Emilie from Nica Sail and Surf called us out of the blue to ask if we wanted to help with the Quarterly San Juan del Sur Elder’s Luncheon Elisha and I had no idea what to expect. I envisioned a quiet stuffy environment with a few people leading the group. Maybe a few speeches followed by a solemn lunch.
Once again Nicaragua had a surprise in store for us.
Mother’s Day with the Elders
Once every 3 months over 200 of San Juan’s finest gather for the elders meeting and luncheon. Mother’s Day is more like a week long event in Nicaragua. Accordingly, the gathering that coincides with this holiday is highly anticipated and well attended.
A special Mother’s Day mass at the church proceeded the elders meeting so the well treed church courtyard made for the perfect location. After mass and before lunch there are gifts passed out to each of the mothers.
These events are free for the elders, but they take some cash, planning and lots of hands working together to pull off every quarter. Consequently many of the local businesses and prominent families help with funding. Payita Solis, Hermanas Sanchez, Sunday Funday Pool Crawl, Eduardo and Angelita Holman, Arenas Pizzeria, Pizzeria San Juan, Frida Fajardo, Iskra Travel, Casa Oro, Madera Futura y más all pitch in.
The Sanchez sisters – who own clothing, grocery and tourist shops in town – not only help fund the event but run point on organizing logistics.
Pacha Mama and Naked Tiger hostels round up most of the volunteers/dance partners for the elders. Nas (sporting her Sunday Funday tank top above) the General Manager for Naked Tiger brought the idea of volunteering for this event to her team over a year ago. They have been a fun part of these meetings ever since.
This was just an all out party with constant dancing and laughing culminated by some piñata smashing. One man tried to sit with the women pictured below and they sent him packing. Elisha overheard them saying they were busy gossiping so he needed to go sit with the men.
The elders were not shy about grabbing up the cute young men and women volunteers and dragging them up on the dance floor. The elders not inclined to dance didn’t let that slow them down from flirting. One fellow Elisha chatted up gave me the stink eye and made a gun pointing gesture (all in good fun) at me when he heard I was the competition.
Once lunch arrived we served it up as quickly as possible because this group wanted to get back to dancing. Some of them were already eyeing up the piñata.
You know what’s better than watching kids smashing a piñata? Seniors smashing a piñata.
After some serious hits on the heart shaped piñata candy finally started to rain down.
Once the candies hit the floor those elders dove on the ground and scrummed like it was a rugby match. I’m still blown away there were no injuries.
After three hours of dancing, a big meal and a candy scrum the elders of San Juan were ready to head home.
Elisha and I stayed long enough to pack up the chairs and tables and help clean up the courtyard. We were ready to go home for our afternoon nap after all the excitement.
We felt privileged for the invitation to help out at this event and grateful to have the time to give back to our community. Thank you Sunday Funday for inviting us and special thanks to the elders of San Juan for allowing us to be a part of your special day!
Semana Santa in San Juan del Sur equates to the biggest party of the year in Nicaragua. To avoid the crowds and craziness this week long celebration brings many resident expats and locals prefer to get out of town, while on the other hand, many of us choose to stick around.
This year, like previous years, Gordon and I decided to round up some friends and get in on the action.
The Heineken stage has always been a favorite spot of ours so it became the meeting place for our motley crew. With upbeat music pumping, the sun shining and cold inexpensive Heineken flowing our Semana Santa expat gathering was off to a great start!
Unlike major festivals and events in Canada or the United States — where drink prices usually double or even triple — here in Nicaragua it’s the complete opposite.
Whether it’s beer, rum or Micheladas you’ll be hard pressed to pay much more than $1 USD for a drink. One place was even selling litres of Victoria Classica beer for just $1.25 USD.
Next we made our way a few steps down the street to the Claro booth. Local beer (Toña and Victoria Frost) were available for just $0.89 USD.
Needless to say more frosty cervezas were enjoyed by all!
There was no shortage of cold (and even cheaper beer) at the Victoria Frost tent, which is where we found ourselves next. Here we paid just $0.71 USD per can.
High above us nubile young women representing one of Nicaragua’s big name beers gyrated to the beat of the music.
We made our way through the crowded dance floor and out onto the beach. The cool mist that sprinkled down on us and was a welcome reprieve from the heat.
Here in the Victoria Frost tent — as with all the other venues we visited — purchasing multiple beers meant you were eligible to receive free swag. Our friend Everett scored a cap with a built in bottle opener.
It’s fair to say that by this time many of us were feeling no pain! From here we wandered up the beach through the crowds of people in search of something good to eat.
After enjoying a little snack of fried chicken we made our way back to where we started – the Heineken stage – for a couple more cold ones, further people watching and — for some of us — a bit of dancing.
Semana Santa in San Juan del Sur is definitely not for people who don’t like crowds or loud music. For me it’s best experienced a couple hours at a time.
Having started this particular party at 2:30 in the afternoon I was impressed that I lasted as long as I did; it was 8 o’clock when Gordon and I finally decided to make our way home.
There’s no denying the fact that today I’m missing the flavours of turkey, ham and mashed potatoes with gravy…not to mention those oh so sinfully sweet Cadbury Creme Eggs…and more importantly time with family…but I can say I’m grateful to have enjoyed another day of fun in the sun with good friends celebrating Semana Santa here in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.
Have you experienced Semana Santa in San Juan del Sur? What did you think?