: was crazy.
From my perch on the hill above Gigante, I watched truckloads of Nicaraguans tear along the dusty road to the beach. The lucky came in their own pick-ups and vans; several packed school buses passed, an unlucky dozen related to ride on top with the luggage. We were for the most part quiet on Monday and Tuesday, but on Holy Wednesday and Thursday, thousands poured into this fishing village of 500. Indeed, Monday the crew went to Rivas to stock up; for this holy week of abstinence and penitence, we bought more than twice our usual provisions in expectation of hungry hoards of beach-goers. We were full of clients, so I spent the better part of the week busy in the relative peace of Brio, up on the hill away from the beach, only aware of the chaos below from the stories told by internet users. I spent the mornings and afternoons waitressing, attending gringos and Nicas alike, shuttling back and forth between the kitchen and main room and between English and Spanish. Thursday afternoon, when Juan promised that all who were coming to Gigante had come, I finally ventured down to the beach to check out the activity.
Gigante before Semana Santa: …and: after. Lleno, FULL de gente.
Gigante was transformed. I wandered among the crowds, families, cars, people, restaurants, music, dogs, beer: totally overwhelmed, over-stimulated by the activity in my normally tiny town. Makeshift bars and restaurants had popped up along the one road through town, and were now full of people, eating, drinking, chatting. Margarita’s, one of the three ‘permanent’ restaurants in ‘downtown’, had, since I had last been to the beach, sprouted a second floor, where, as I gapped away, a mariachi band in full costume was playing. The energy of the transformation was contagious, and I felt my mood lift as I wandered through town, excited to be a part (or at least an observer) of this unique cultural phenomenon. Thursday evening, a national band came to give a concert in Gigante, so the crew wandered down to town to check it out and, well… dance, dance, dance. All week, Eskimo gave a strong showing, with not one, nor two, but as many as six portable freezer carts patrolling the beach with those magical bells. 10 cordobas, an ice cream sandwich, and a wander along the beach, staring at all. the. people.