I happened to arrive in Nicaragua's oldest city on Sept. 14, a day before of the anniversary of Central American independence.
Upon checking into my hotel, La Gran Francia, a two-story building dating back nearly 500 years, the receptionist warned me that the next morning might get a bit festive. If I heard celebrating, he said, don't be alarmed. It's just the holiday in action, he said.
It seemed an odd warning — but only until the next morning arrived.
Curtains drawn tight and just a glint of golden light seeping through, I awoke to the sharp crack of drums. And then the roar of a crowd. And the bleating of horns and heaving of tubas. Had I slept strangely late...