Here we go. Let’s explore Managua’s cultural side. The Museum of the Footprints – It’s not actually called that. It’s an archeological site called Huellas de Acahualinca. The museum surrounding it is dedicated to documenting and preserving this find. In 1874, a group of workers came across a set of footprints in the ground near Lake Managua. The Carnegie Institute sent scientists to study the footprints and came to the conclusion that they were from over 6000 years ago. They are considered to be the oldest footprints every found and preserved in both North and South America. They are thought to be petrified footprints from a group of Indians who lived in the area.
They were able to be preserved so well because of all the volcanic activity in the area. A scientist by the name of Jorge Espinoze dug further into the ground and found even more footprints.
The footprints themselves were extraordinary; the museum not so much. It was a run-down building covered in Spanish posters that gave the history of the footprints and the discovery of them.
They also held over artifacts that we didn’t get to see. It was in a sketchy part of town that made me thankful for the boys I was with and even more thankful that Jorgba spoke Spanish. As we were leaving, an uniformed old man informed us that the price was 100 cordobas each, although the sign said differently. Nonetheless, we paid our ticket and took off again to the National Museum of Nicaragua.
The museum is in an incredible building, the National Palace. The building was created in 1935 on the orders of President Juan Bautista Sacasa. It houses the National Musuem, the National Archive and the National Library. It had been used as the main seat of government for years before the revolution where it was captured by the Sandinistas. It was then decided that the building would not be used for any government purposes. The museum sits in Managua’s historical centre, called the Plaza de la Republica.
Since we visited shortly after Christmas, the decorations were still up, reminding us all how important the religion of Christianity is to this country.
The nativity display was incredibly detailed and huge. The tree stretched out so high. The decorations were everywhere. We would see even greater decorations in Leon.
Upon entering the museum, a guide who spoke wonderful English brought us around the room, showing us the displays of statues and ceramics that were pre-Colombian.
An interactive nature display showed us the evolution of the land. There was a room dedicated to National Symbols, rooms dedicated to pottery and art work and artifacts.
From there, we wandered down to the lake. Since it was the week after Christmas, there was still tons of decorations up. It seems like a ton of different businesses and organizations had put together their own version of the nativity scene. Next to all of these were hundreds of little food carts.
We made our way to the port and hung around, drinking beer and talking about our families, our lives back home, our heartbreaks. Opening up to strangers seems like such an important part of travelling – like baring your soul and knowing there are no repercussions.
From there, we walked to the end of the dock and tried to get on a boat. Ok this part is kind of embarrassing. So there was a boat that was tied to the dock. We wanted to see if we could get a boat ride. James walks down to the boat and asks them the cost. They said it was free with the purchase of a drink. So, we excitedly run down to the boat, find a spot up top, take a bunch of pictures and settle in.
After about 20 minutes, we realize the boat was not leaving. Jorgba went to ask them when the boat would be leaving. It is then we learned that it was not. It was just a restaurant/bar for the day and it would be staying firmly attached to the port. Well, we left after that. Completely humiliated.
On the way back, the ex-pat we were with started in on us about how Canadians were rude and he would never visit. It was such a surreal moment. Personally, I didn’t speak to him most of the night because he just made me so uncomfortable. It was worse that night. A group of us kind of just sat around the pool and talked about our lives. Germans, El Salvadorians, Canadians, Finish, Swedish – such a mixture of culture and stories and accents – I felt drunk off that energy.
The next day, after an uncomfortable sleep, we set off for Léon! **
** ok, it wasn’t that easy to get Jorgba and James packed and out the door. It took forever. We ended up leaving at like 1 or 2 in the afternoon. After much gentle prodding.