From the sidewalk, it looked like a bunch of people just crawling around on the ground. But as we walked closer, it was soon evident that it was nothing of that sort. Instead, it was a dance called, Capoiera. Dating back to the colonial period and the slave trade, this is a traditional dance of those who were brought over from Africa to Brazil. With a 8-piece musical group playing the music, there are two people on the dance floor. They move around in fluid motions, to the beat of the music. It is as if they are battling. Making movements that emulate kicks and punches. There is a gymnastic element to the dance, some dancers stalling on their hands; others flipping over into backbends. The dance is organic. From the eyes of a first-time spectator, it seemed as if the dancers chose their movements as they danced; they chose the next kick or punch in the midst of it all. After an hour and fifteen minutes of this battle-like dancing, accompanied by singing and music that enveloped its listeners in its calm and tranquil tones, the routine came to an end.
All the while, we were sitting in the a soon-to-be fully functioning cultural center called, Quilombo. Like the dance, the name of this center dates back to the slave trade. When slaves would become free and run away from their owners, they would create clandestine communities that would allow them to express their traditional cultures, religions, dances, etc. This center hopes to do the same; the center hopes to allow its visitors to express themselves in whatever way they choose to, adding to the peace and harmony here on Earth.
The following day the group had our community day, which consisted of taking a quick visit to the top of the Masaya Volcano, and then onto the colonial city of Granada. This city, according to some historians, is the oldest city in Central America. The buildings are characterized by Spanish-colonial architecture; columns accompanied by terra cotta roofs that showed the weathering of years; wrought iron window grates; and cobblestone streets. In a way, it reminded me of St. Augustine, Florida, which was also a Spanish city at one point in history as well. That night, we chose to go out to a paint party at a lakeside night club called, WeekendBar. Though there was no so-called paint, there was a black light on the dance floor, bumpin’ music, and an open bar. Need I say more?… we had a good time.
The next day, after filling our stomachs at Kathy’s Waffle House (if ever in Granada, I totally recommend it!), we jumped in our privately chartered microbus to head back to Managua. Of course though, a blog post is always made better by a little insight into a transportation situation—which we had on our way home to Managua before even leaving Granada. We noticed that our driver was periodically opening the driver’s side door, stick his head out, and looking back at the left side, rear, tire. Upon Drew, who was sitting in the passenger-side front seat, asking him if everything was alright, he said, “No, no está llena.” Otherwise known as, “We have a flat tire.” Luckily though, we the driver knew of a tire shop just off the main road, which provided service that would rival even the best Jiffylube back in the States. Before we know it, the guy at the shop is jacking up the microbus, with all thirteen of us still inside, and proceeds to fix the leak. He pries the tire off by hand with tire irons, continues to inspect the tire, and finds a small piece of re-bar, about 5 inches in length, inside the tire… Who’da thunk?? A few minutes later, he had the hole sealed over, the tire back on the rim, and the wheel back on the bus. An hour and a half down the road, we were back in our neighborhood of Batahola Norte in Managua.