Granada, Nicaragua was constructed in 1524 as a ‘showcase’ city, designed to demonstrate to the world that the Spanish were capable of more than warring, pillaging and conquest. It was given the nickname ‘The Great Sultan’, honoring it’s namesake across the Atlantic. Serenaded by active volcanoes to the north and west and washed by the waters of Lake Nicaragua to the east and south, Granada served as an important trade center from its inception. On my first day in the city, I wasted no time and jumped into the city proper to get a real sense of why so many people from around the world now call this city simply ‘home’.
Parque Central, with the Cathedral of Granada dominating the skyline. Inside the Cathedral.
View from the bell tower of the Iglesia de Xalteva. The blind accordion player near my hotel.
Iglesia de Guadeloupe. A random, single float carves its way through downtown.
Indeed the city was home to many expats from the States. I had an early dinner at a bar off the main square called Margarita’s, and it was in the back of the restaurant that I discovered a group of retired Americans now spending their days going at the speed of ‘one beer at a time’. I sat down with Lue, and through his potent New Orleans parlance, divulged that he, along with the three additional patrons alongside him, made up well over 100 years of Crescent City law enforcement. Lue was a retired detective, another gentleman a ‘beat’ cop, and the last was a FBI agent who had been based in the city. I asked him why he and the other men were here, and he told me that their retirement checks went a lot further in Nicaragua. He was doing even better, receiving both a Social Security check and a pension, but noted that one of his friends survived only off a check from Uncle Sam. To carve out a decent retirement for themselves, they left the United States for ‘greener’ pastures. Down here, they could all live like Kings.
The retired officers get an earful from bar owner Bob (Don Roberto), hailing from Detroit, after bar workers moved the pool table aside to move chairs to the front of the building, instead of asking the guys to move out of the way. Bob paid to have the pool table leveled the day before, and now the table was knocked off its shims. The beautiful color in Granada.