Lá Féile Pádraig Shona daoibh

Trip Start Jan 29, 2013
Trip End May 23, 2014

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Flag of Nicaragua  , Leon,
Sunday, March 24, 2013

If I'm now in Leon I suppose it means I'm no longer in Managua, a very good thing in my book!  I've escaped the madness of Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Jiquilillo and I'm taking full advantage to explore a little more of Nicaragua, a full update on the spoils of a colonial city and then the mountains will follow next week.  But to finish last week's entry and to cut a very long story short, seven hours after setting off on the second day of my parcel hunt I finally had package in hand.  Too late to get the bus home, I suffered another night in a dorm in Managua.  I left Jiquilillo on Thursday morning at 7am, fifty-five hours later, ten of them on buses, five of them at the Ministry of Health, and too many others queuing, taxi-ing and patiently waiting, I landed safely, not so soundly, in Jiquilillo.  Straight into the Pacific to cool down, unwind and relax.  A Cadbury's cream egg, more scrambled than soft boiled, and a cup of Barry's tea in hand that evening made up for the epic journey.  It's funny how the little things more than remedy the trials and tribulations of a gringa abroad!  But that is all now a distant memory, life has moved on and it's been another great week.

St. Patrick made his inaugural visit to Jiquilillo, on March 18th I found a dead snake on the road through the village, the first snake I've encountered here.  Something strange is afoot.  San Patricio was leaving his mark I think.  He obviously approved of how we honoured him on the 17th.  

Considering that whenever I say I'm from Irlanda, the immediate response is "Hollanda?" it's not too surprising that no one here had heard of Paddy's day or could comprehend the global phenomenon it has become.  Not that it really matters, the reality is that most of the locals would be hard pressed to find anywhere further afield than Chinandega on a map, and I fear even at that it would be a bit of a pin the tail on the donkey exercise.  So what does it matter where I'm from when it has no meaning  or context for them.  Having said that, as is the case with all exiles, being abroad brings out the patriot in us and I was determined to mark the day in some way.  So fully clad in varying shades of green, equipped with a pot of green paint, a few paint brushes and my fellow Irish expat Aoife, we set off through the village and painted the face of every child, and some courageous adults, green.  The kids didn't really give a damn about saints or shamrocks or any of the cultural side of things, they all just wanted one thing, a painted leaf on their cheek, and once they got into the swing of it, to be the ones doing the painting.  They might not have retained too much information about our beloved patron saint but they will all remember how to paint a shamrock and hopefully we can persuade them to make it an annual event.  
Starting at Doña Chepita's pulperia (corner shop), where we found our first unsuspecting targets, we made our way through the village with children crawling out from under every rock and fence joining us on our parade once they were initiated into the cult of the shamrock.  By the time we reached my house at the opposite end of the village we must have had 25 children in tow.  I think Doña Fran took fright at both the sight of me in my finest Irish regalia and so many kids trailing behind but I reassured her we weren't an invasion, we were just here to paint both Bianca and Justin and take them on their merry way with us.  She already thinks I'm a mad gringa, all I was doing was reaffirming her suspicions!  Nearly two hours later we closed the celebrations with an ice cream, not green unfortunately, but I feel we definitely did our bit for St. Paddy and the diaspora.  We may have failed to dye the Pacific green but it was as fine a display of patriotism, fun and frolics as you would have found anywhere else on Paddy's day.  Lá Féile Pádraig Shona daoibh, feliz día San Patricio ó Jiquilillo. 
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Paula on

Way to paint the town green Laura!

Laura Cuddihy on

That's not a Paddy's Day...............no sleet, snow, marching bands, drunken parents, abandoned children, local waste collection lorries with balloons tied to the windscreen wipers, frozen local politicians on the open backed lorry/reviewing stand..............yours sounds so much better than Greystones!

galtee view on

all off to our favourite place for easter. looks like kerry weather there! rmk all on his own here with cat and dog for company. you are all over the nationalist. nice photo . keep well.

Tessa on

We will send green ice creams next year. How long was it on the way home?

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