Nicaragua: Backstory to “Plaza de Toros Vicente Hurtado Catarran, Barrio Pueblo Nuevo, Juigalpa”
On New Year’s Day 2014, I found myself walking around the cowboy town of Juigalpa, having arrived the day before and expecting to stay long enough to get to know the city and its culture a bit more than I had up to that point.
Now, I have to admit that I did not celebrate the night before, as I could clearly tell, trying to fall asleep in my hotel room (while wearing a good pair of earplugs), the rest of Juigalpa had successfully achieved. I’m sure there was a record broken for the amount of fireworks set off that night, or, at the very least, a past record was maintained.
So I woke up early and went walking with no hangover to impede the start of my day.
The first thing I noticed as I arrived at the cathedral was a very quiet and nearly empty the city center. There were a few vendors around the central park, but no pedestrians or noisy trucks to be found.
About mid-morning things did become a bit more animated, yet it was generally still quiet in comparison to any other time during my visit.
At some point I heard church bells.
They were not coming from the cathedral since I had already entered to take photos and I was sure there was no service about to begin, which is normally signaled by the pealing of bells. After I asked someone as to where the sound was coming from, I was told they belonged to San Francisco Church and Convent located in a northern neighborhood of the city called Barrio Pueblo Nuevo, which was described to me a being lejos (“far away”).
I then mentally prepared myself for a long walk, took a big sip of water, and started off.
Fortunately, it didn’t take all that long to get to the neighborhood. In fact, it may have only taken some 20 minutes, hardly what I’d call a long time, even on a hot day.
The first thing I noticed (and photographed) after arriving in that part of town was the all-wooden bull-riding arena known as the Plaza de Toros Vicente Hurtado Catarran, named after a local celebrity, whose nickname was “Catarran” for reasons no-one could remember. The plaza de toros is, in fact, the older of two arenas in town, with the newer, more modern one known as the Plaza Taurina.
To add to that, this is the season when the fair of amusement rides was in town, and so the older plaza doubled as its venue.
And that’s how I came to capture the photographs above and below, the upper of which hints at the stunning mountains in the background of every landscape surrounding the town of Juigalpa, the capital city of the department of Chontales.