We’ve heard mixed reviews about Managua itself, but felt it was important to give it a chance especially since our “dad” was leading the tour with school. Managua is different than other Nicaraguan cities we have visited because it is not built around a central park. The city is very spread out, there is no main business area and the poorest areas are those closest to the water (totally backwards from the ocean view idea in the US).
On our recent trip, we visited Las Huellas de Acahualinca which are a series of footprints found in the 1800s dating back to 4,000 B.C. Scientists have decided that the footprints were fossilized by the combination of ash and rain and belonged to three groups of people walking toward Lake Nicaragua. It was interesting to hear that the hypothesis has been changed multiple times as science has advanced.
Then we visited two wonderful outdoor museums dedicated to the Sandinista movement and the battles of the FSLN which helped us finally make sense of the pictures we’ve seen and discussions we’ve had with our teachers at La Mariposa.
Next we visited the National Palace where the congress meets. It is also the location where the Sandanistas celebrated after the revolution. We couldn’t get very close because the president was in the building signing land deeds the day we visited. Interestingly, the government was moved to the National Palace location after the earthquake of 1972. The clock on the tower is stopped at the exact time the earthquake occurred.
We also visited the location of the government during the Somosa regime. He built his palace on the highest hill in Nicaragua so he could see the entire city. He also had prison cells built around the palace to keep his worst enemies “close.” All that is left are some remnants of the building and a large Sandino statue.
Our night ended at the boardwalk in Managua that is being developed by the government. It was right along Lake Managua and had strict “no blatant drinking rules” that were only enforced until 7:30pm. I believe this was because the president was giving a speech at the nearby National Palace, and there was some worry about drunks causing disturbances. We ate a nice dinner with the group and left right as the karaoke started (thank goodness).
We hopped over to the Hermanos Godoy concert. The 6-7 person band played beautiful and traditional revolution music. The accordion is the central instrument in the band. The best part had to have been when they invited an 8 year old boy to the stage—he was part of some music program for talented youth—he sang with the most heart and soul I’ve ever experienced. His mother was next to us mouthing all the words and reminding him to do more hand gestures. It was absolutely the sweetest thing.