Do you ever feel ugly or unattractive? Or unnoticed by those around you? If you happen to be white, and (even better), blonde, then fear not! The remedy comes in a trip to Nicaragua, where you will not only get attention from every local male you pass, regardless of age, but the women too will stare openly! If you’re lucky, and own a pair of booty shorts, you may even be followed more than once in a day.
I’ve been in Nicaragua for over a month now, and have gone through a wide range of emotions regarding this constant and incessant attention. At first, I was put off and slightly disgusted. Then, for a short time, I felt empowered and incredibly attractive. I mean, I could look like absolute shit and still get hit on by everyone around me. This quickly faded and changed to contempt for these people not having the ability to realize when I hadn’t showered for 2 days. Now it has become a background noise, albeit an annoying one, that only registers when physical contact is attempted. Then I whip around with all the fury a local woman and scream “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” In the heat of a moment, it’s hard to remember to speak Spanish.
Though my Spanish has improved greatly in my short time here. I was lucky enough to meet a lovely English girl named Liana, who lived in Spain for 5 years and is fluent — at least in the tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth kind of Spanish. She became my fill in professor and we often limited ourselves to Spanish when traveling. We worked together at Magnific Rock, a beautiful surf lodge in Popoyo on the Atlantic coast.
We bonded over yoga, breeze less nights, and our outgoing natures, and quickly sealed our friendship for life by becoming poop buddies. Do you have a poop buddy? They are indispensable in countries where runny bum is your constant companion. A friend will go out of their way to help you find restrooms, maybe even go so far as to pass you toilet paper if you run out. A poop buddy will help you sneak into a hotel bathroom while pretending to want a room, steal you makeshift toilet paper from random street vendors, and sit in the stall next to you making noise to match or to cover the noises coming from your ass/mouth.
Liana and I had plenty of memorable potty time together, especially in San Juan del Sur, where we made the mistake of drinking the smoothies. The smoothies that were made with local water. Oops. Or should I say, poops.
But even with this inordinate amount of time spent moaning behind a closed door, or in an open stall, we managed to make loads of friends. Being two white girls who could speak Spanish was quite a draw. Also possibly our propensity to dance on tables after a few rum and cokes.
While we did chat with many locals, it was very difficult to form a real bond with anyone. The women weren’t really interested in anything past a superficial conversation and it can be difficult to keep chatting with a guy who interjects with “you’re so beautiful” or “I love you” every other sentence.
So we made a lot of gringo and international friends. Lots of surfers. And Popoyo is such an amazing spot to surf. Liana had never surfed before and I could count on one hand how many times I’d been in the water with a board. She insisted that I teach her, but after watching her shriek and run away from the small shore waves when we went swimming, I bowed out and we manipulated the guy who was in love with her to give her a lesson. He had no problem paddling around on a board with her, his face about two inches above her buttocks.
As for me, in my month at Popoyo, I went from a long board to a 6’2″ and from getting smashed by 3 foot waves to getting smashed by overhead waves. There were actually no real beginner boards available, by the time all the other girls and guests grabbed boards, so I took what was left and quickly came to love my little short board.
After a few weeks of surfing the beginner break just out front from the hotel, we had a few days of no waves. My boredom got the better of me and I got the nerve to go to the big boy break — the real Popoyo reef break. No one was ready so I scooted off by myself and spent a good ten minutes staring at the waves and other surfers, hypothetically weeing myself, before beginning my paddle out. I managed to get out there relatively easily and endured the stares of all the surfers with plenty of false confidence. I stayed on the outside and actually caught a few waves! Then the other surfers actually began to speak to me, as if I were an actual person, or one of them.
Unfortunately, this didn’t last long. The tide started to recede and the waves became steeper and had more sucking action. The next wave I caught had a pretty tall face, and as I frantically paddled to catch it, I could hear a couple people cheering me on. And then I looked down to see my board jutting out over the drop, and I had yet to stand up. I did have plenty of time to curse my late pop up as I tumbled head first into the barrel of the wave and got rolled over and over closer to shore. I came up at last, gasping for breath like a dying fish, trying in vain to readjust my bikini, which was basically somewhere around my knees.
Paddling back out was a bit of a process, and when I finally arrived near the group of surfers, every single person was staring at me in silence.
“Estas bien, chica?” one of them asked.
“Oh, si! Perfecto!” I replied with a grin. Then I coughed, and water came out my nose.
Repeat this entire ordeal about 5 times, and by the end of it people were making bets on how I would fall, how long I would stay under, and exactly what my bikini would or would not be covering.
I made a lot of friends that day too.