FSLN Holiday in Nicaragua

Unfortunately all good things do eventually have to come end. After spending a few great days with our new friends Elisha and Gord, it was time to say goodbye. We packed our bags and got ready for the bus ride back to San Juan Del Sur. We gave hugs to Elisha grabbed a beer for the road and got in the car with Gord. We both expected Gord to drop us off at the nearest bus stop approximately three miles away from the Apoyo Lodge. Being the nice guy that he is, he wanted to drive us to the main bus station in Granada (about 30 mins away). We would soon become extremely thankful that he did.

While driving out of the Laguna de Apoyo National Park, we all noticed a significant increase in the amount of drunks sleeping on the side of the road. Victor the gardener mentioned that there was some sort of holiday celebration going on that day, but we were unsure of what it was for. When we got to the highway, we found out. 

There were thousands of people on motorcycles, in busses, or stuffed in trucks and cars facing the opposite way towards Managua. The vehicles were not moving causing a 3 mile traffic jam. We saw at least 12 busses completely filled with Nicaraguans. The people were either waving an FSLN flag or dressed up as a Sandinista soldier. FSLN (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional) was a rebellious group that opposed the Somoza dictatorship and eventually, after years of violence, led to the Nicaraguan Revolution. 

The holiday was celebrating the Sandinista victory, Nicaraguan Revolution and ousting of the former dictatorship in 1979. Some of the people were wearing all camo as if they were ready for war and all of them were chanting and cheering. It was a bit eerie to see thousands of people celebrating the end of a civil war and praising Daniel Ortega, the man whom claimed victory.
To be honest it was a bit scary, especially considering all three of us are not from Nicaragua. You almost got a sense of what it might have felt like in Nicaragua when FSLN claimed victory in ’79. It wasn’t the most comfortable place to live back then if you were American as the US originally supported the opposing party of the FSLN. Luckily, that was quite some time ago and things here have evolved in a positive direction.
After all of the excitement, we approached the bus station and I jumped out to ask when the next bus was leaving to Rivas. The bus coordinator smiled at me and told me tomorrow morning. All of the busses are being used to transport people to the country’s capital, Managua. I jumped back in the SUV and shared the news. We were all happy that we got to hang out another night, but we were looking forward to getting back as soon as possible as Scott and Monique (Quinn’s dad and step-mom) were visiting the next day.
Today was not a the best day to be a foreigner, or worse an American. We had to take the back roads to get to Laguna de Apoyo because the highway leading up to Managua had been taken over and blocked off. We made nachos and drank rum to celebrate, just with friends, at quiet Laguna de Apoyo.

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