31 Dec 2015

Central America by beginswithq


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I can see the large stream of tourists pouring in. It's going to be filled with foreigners from all over the world. The buses and shuttles are all pouring into downtown. The intersections are filled with people, cars, bikes, donkeys, buses, you name it. For new years in Nicaragua, the two most visited towns are San Juan Del Sur and Granada. No wonder it was so hard to find lodging here in Granada.

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In the late morning I rented a bicycle. I wanted to bike across town to buy El Toro; a box of fireworks in the shape of a bull. During New Years festivities these Toro's were the crowd movers of the party. How El Toror works: hold the box over your head, lite it up, then run like hell.

When I arrived at the market behind the stadium at 11am, it was nothing more than a field with about 15-20 stalls. They all sold only one thing: fire works. With my new found Spanish skills I walked through all the stalls and none of them had El Toro. Fuck that! What?!

One of the merchant women told me I was too late. Just 20 minutes ago a gringo came to the market. He bought all the El Toro's in Granada. I was out of luck. There was to be no El Toro to have. The only way to get El Toro is to find that man or the party where all the Toros would be at.

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I began the night alone, no plans, no place to go for New Years Eve. The night was mine to be made. I walked out of the hostel to La Calzada, the main strip of downtown Granada.

Upon my arrival I run into Toine and Reinier two Dutch guys I met the night before. They invited me to come along for dinner. We met another two Dutch girls, Sarah and Lieke who brought along three more travelers, Ralph, Jocelyn, and Paige. We all sat down for dinner at the outdoors tables.

The street kids from the other night all stopped by to say hello to me. Poy dancers, fire performers, put on a show right in front where we ate. After dinner we cracked into the bag of fireworks I bought earlier that day. I even gave fireworks out strangers and kids for some fun. It was nice to see their faces light up with joy.

Just as the party was getting started, a marching band lead a parade of people through the strip. The parade was filled with dancers and people in costume. Without hesitation our small group jumped into the parade. We followed them as they went from block to block. We marched across town till we finally landed at a small block party put on by locals and foreigners. The street had people strewn on both sides. There was a DJ blasting music. The parade ended here but the games were about to begin.

The first event was a potato sack race. I lost horribly. The second race was balancing a lemon on a spoon using only your mouth. The girls put up a great race. After that we were treated to woman poy dancer. Once her performance was done they raised a piñata and kids got the center stage. While the boys tried their best, the piñata was finally broken by a chubby little girl. The piñata bursted open the kids swarmed to pick up the candy. Reinier refashions the piñata into be filled with beer cans. I was given the stick and busted that piñata open in a few fell swings.

In between the games someone would light up a toro and run like a madman up and down the street. Normally there is only one toro, but tonight this party had all the toros in town. They light up 6 to 10 toro's that night. I had found the party of the man who bought all the toro's in Granada.

The party goers had other various types of fireworks. From small sparklers to full rocket into the sky fireworks, everything was being lit up that night. At one point the fire department came to watch over the burning of an effigy of a man. The effigy was a life sized human being which when set on fire burned up in a blaze of glory. We finished the night by dancing till our heart's content.

In all my years of partying and going to big New Years parties, this unexpected little party was the best party in my memory. I was amazed and astounded at every turn of events. The music, fun, and magic of the night put together makes this the most memorable New Years party in my entire life.