I decided to take a stint up north in hopes of gaining a tour in the Flor de Cana rum factory. After numerous dialogues (in Spanish) on the phone with various personel, I discovered that it was impossible this week due to some construction going on in the actual factory. I then opted to thoroughly explore the town of Leon on foot and attempt to engage myself with various locals.
The town of Leon hosts the largest cathedral in Central America. Local legend has it that when the idea was proposed by the leaders of Leon to the Spaniards, they were required to submit a set of architectural plans on what they planned to build. But, the leaders thought that the impressive design would be turned down by the authorities, so instead, they sent a set of bogus plans that did gain approval. I just wish that the people of the Americas had realized from day one that they couldn’t trust the white man. Construction began in 1747 and took over a hundred years to complete. I’ve seen quite a few cathedrals, and personally believe that once you have seen one, you’ve seen all of them. But, considering it is the largest in Central America, I went ahead and made the journey.
The cathedral was nice, except that it looked like the other six hundred I have seen. Always the same features… put up lots of gold, make the pulpit higher (because the preacher is obviously more superior), have wooden benches that provide no comfort at all, and of course, have confessional boxes that I’m sure people paid money in to have their sins “forgiven.” Ahhh…you have to love olden churches. Although I think that churches from this period were over done, it’s astonishing to think that it is still happening today. Back in the states, a church just put over eight million dollars into waterfalls for their building. I would love to hear what Peter thinks about all of this. To me, it always seemed better to funnel the money that is poured into these extravagant buildings (past and present) into societies that could use the aid…such as all of Central America.
The installation of fear by cathedrals is summed up in the photograph to the right. I wonder if this lion worked? Never the less, it was still a beautiful structure, and hopefully they can raise the necessary funds to provide future restoration.
One museum I definitely wanted to check out was the Revolutionary Museum. I wasn’t expecting any fancy exhibits, but more or less just an insight to the struggle that Nicaragua, and particularly Leon, went through over the past century. Upon entering the small room, a man came up to me and began explaining the first set of photographs. I didn’t think a guide was included with the tour, but it turned out to be just that. After introductions, my guide, Eduardo, explained (in Spanish) the Somaza dictatorship and how it was eventually overthrow. (Writers note…I’m hoping to get a history of Nicaragua infused with bits of humor posted within the next week or two. Much focus will be put on the Somaza family).
In the corner, there was actual video footage being shown of the war. The images were terrifying, yet Eduardo was eagerly answering all of my questions pertaining to it. He then pulled out a photograph of four young men in military uniforms, with guns resting their hands. Now, look at the zoomed in version of the photograph. The second guy on the left was Eduardo. He fought in the FSLN for eight years and was lucky enough to survive. After hearing horrifying stories, I sincerely thanked him for sharing his experiences. Not very often do you get to learn history from those who created it. Without a doubt, my conversation with Eduardo has been one of the highlights of this trip.
I paid a quick visit to the art museum, but only took a quick stroll through. Afterwards, walking through the streets, I ran into a friend from Granada. Both fascinated with history, we went to find a historical site just a few blocks away. Casa del Obrero is the site in which Anastasio Somoza Garcia was assassinated by Rigoberto Lopez Perez, a poet and journalist. Of course, Somoza had set it up so his brother would succeeded him (usually necessary to have a line of succession set up in all dictatorships, since quite often, the entire country hates you because you suffer from asshole syndrome). There wasn’t much to see except for a plaque, which says this act marked the “beginning of the end” of the Somaza dictatorship.
Time was spent walking the streets and snapping photos of the historical buildings. One of my favorite photos I took today is the one off to the right. I like how it’s advertising English lessons in English. That is the equivalent of someone in the states reading “Pudes hablar español en 120 horas… somos 100% de resultados” in the states. Ahhh…I love stupidity.