San Juan del Sur

9 05 2009

There is an idyllic bay in some far flung corner of the world I spent some three weeks at, which had some of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. Clear blue waters and a wide sandy beach lined with wooden beach side cafes, San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua seemed like paradise, particularly with the exchange rate on got on the black market for the US Dollar which was controlled by a leftist leaning government that came to power on the back of a bloody revolution fueled by a intense resentment excesses of the US supported dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza (Jr). As a result, the locally brewed Cerveza Victoria cost something like 10 cents a bottle, a bottle of the local rum went for something that translated to maybe $2, and a plate of Langostino grilled to perfection and served with a generous serving of plantain prepared as we would french fries, and fresh salad, cost maybe $1.50.

Las Lugos Restaurant Receipt, Dec 1984.

Las Lugos Restaurant Receipt, Dec 1984.

Evidence of the Revolution was everywhere … the uniformed soldiers, the murals of the revolutionary figurehead, an Augusto César Sandino, who had led an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Somoza’s father, the senior Anastasio Somoza in the early 20th century, and the black and red flags of the FSLN, the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation, named after Sandino, and numerous walls scarred with bullet holes.

The Beach, San Juan del Sur

The Beach, San Juan del Sur

The hardship caused by the economic sanctions imposed by the Ronald Reagan led Presidency was also very evident. Even basic neccessities such as soap and toothpaste was in short supply. Shelves of the few shops I found would seem like how Mother Hubbard’s  cupboard would have appeared to her poor dog. What made up for the dire situation the people were in was the warmth they exhibited. Somehow, admidst the hardship and poverty, there was also hope for a brighter future promised by the Revolution. Also, for the first time, I witnessed how, with so little in life (from a material standpoint), people were happier – thankful for the little that they have. The local beverage, referred to as Refresco, made from pureed melons, sweetened and served with ice, was a nice discovery I made, particularly refreshing in the muggy climes of the tropics.

Sunset over the Bay, San Juan del Sur

Sunset over the Bay, San Juan del Sur, 22 Dec 1984

Sunset over the Bay, San Juan del Sur, Christmas 1984

Sunset over the Bay, San Juan del Sur, 5 Jan 1985


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