al Cazar el Carpincho Azul

Musings on my move to Nicaragua in search of the elusive Carpincho Azul.


Central American Idol

Saturday night Paulo and I went to see the Third Annual Festival of Youth Songs, which was dedicated to Salvador Cardenal (of Duo Guardabarranco). Actually, we thought it would just be a concert of his music and music of his friends; however, it turned out to be more like American Idol.

The concert was televised live on Canal 12, local to Managua. Miss Nicaragua was one of the emcee's--a slender woman with an odd lisp and practically no recognizably Nicaraguan features. She came out wearing a very bizarre tiara. It must have been at least 10 in. tall at its highest point.

The Festival part of the show was a competition among 14 young people from around Nicaragua. They each sang one selection, and there was a range of musical styles and themes, from Ranchero to love ballads. There was even one rockero, dressed in a long black leather coat with black leather pants. His legs seemed to be made of wood, especially when he danced in a strange, pogo-stick fashion.

Happily, the judges agreed with Paulo and my judgment on who were the best performers. First place went to a young woman from Matagalpa and the composer of her selection, another woman. The song was about Nicaragua (as were many others), and had a lovely lilting quality with a typical melodic style reminiscent of Nicaraguan folk music. Second place was taken by a trio from Estelí, also in a typically folkloric style, but one that more approached ranchero style. The trio was composed of a guitarrón (giant guitar), accordion, and regular guitar. They had written the song themselves, about environmental destruction and each person's responsability for protecting our surroundings. It was very good.

The part that was dedicated to Salvador was ok, but the musical arrangement of his songs was not very good. Our friend Osiris participated in a quartet of singers performing a medly of Guardabarranco songs. The arranger totally deformed the music. Also performing (as soloists) were Alejandro Filio (of Mexico) and Luis Pastor (related to the Mejía Godoy family of Nicaragua). Filio was pretty good, nice guitar work and folksy songs.

Overall an enjoyable evening, even though not quite what we had expected. Osiris gave us tickets in the orchestra section, 4th row, so we had a good view of everything. We're going back to the theatre tonight. I'm sure our seats won't be quite as good.


One week in Managua

Today we left my Mom at the airport for her return to the States. It's been a full time, juggling tourism with getting settled in my new home.

Since last Saturday, we have:

- gone to la Isla de Ometepe, where we spent 2 nights at the Villa Paraiso Hotel (our favorite spot on the islands)
- watched a few members of a Zarzuela troupe from Spain, who performed at the Casa de los Tres Mundos in Granada
- saw our first procession of the Purísima (Immaculate Conception), which is a big deal here
- hosted a party at our house with some of our musician and other friends
- visited the Reserva Natural Chocoyero, a nature reserve that protects the nesting area of local parrots, as well as a large number of other wild animals--we saw a family of monkeys and guardabarranco del monte (Nicaragua's national bird)
- went to see a concert of Duo Guardabarranco, and were lucky enough to hear them play my favorite song, el Colibrí. You can find the words to many of their best known songs on the site; I've copied here the lyrics to Colibrí:

COLIBRI (Salvador Cardenal)
En el jardin de Dios creció una flor
que un colibrí sintio
voló sobre la tierra
campos de paz y guerra
pero no encontro su flor

El colibri volo sin ver atras
hacia el jardin de Dios
la flor del arcoiris no era la que buscaba
ni la de mas noble olor
ni la de increible olor

El colibri lloró detrás del sol
por su adorada flor
pero habitaba adentro
de su corazoncito y no la podia ver, no
y no la podia ver
la del nectar del amor

After Mom passed through security at the airport, Paulo & I went over to the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte to see their end of year graduation. In addition to the awarding of graduation certificates to the students, the theatre, music and dance groups gave presentations. For theatre they presented the Grasshopper and the Ant, the old fable about the importance of work. The kids did a great job, especially the girl playing the Grasshopper. Quite the actress!

Tonight we'll see another concert related to Guardabarranco, with multiple performers honoring Salvador Cardenal. With any luck we'll get to the film festival tomorrow, showcasing Nicaraguan short films produced over the past 10 years.


3 days in Managua, 3 hours with luggage

We arrived in Managua on Tuesday (3 days ago), but my luggage didn't arrive until today. Although it was annoying not have anything from the 4 giant suitcases I packed, I actually survived ok. The only things I really missed were clean pants and my sunscreen. And sunscreen I was able to borrow from my mom.

The rabbits seem to have survived the travel ok. If anyone knows how to get good hay in this part of the world, or names for equivalent hays from the USA, feel free to leave them in comments. This isn't my only effort and identifying a new source, but it's best not to leave any stone unturned, right? Anyway, Joan and Frida are settling in, and the zoo on the hill is intensely curious to know about these new "cats".

We're off to Ometepe for the weekend. I'll try to find a link to post here so you can see what that's like. There are some pictures from my last trip there, in on of the previous posts.

Otherwise, the past three days have been mostly about settling in to the house, visiting various markets, and eating. We also visited the Cultural Center which had a nice survey of Nicaraguan history and art. The tour guide was a friend of Paulo's that he knew from Chelsea; now he's the bilingual guide at the Center.