Surreal Christmas Day
I need to give you a little background so that you can fully appreciate our realization today.
We live in Poneloya, which is a small beach town 20 minutes away from the Leon, Nicaragua. Poneloya and Las Penitas are separate towns in name, but are really just two ends of the same beach with a population of possibly ten thousand (and that might be generous).
The locals tell us that from December 25th – January 2nd the Leoneses (population 200K+) flock to the beach. I would say by the dozens of buses and pickup trucks packed tight with people that the town has swelled to twenty times it’s regular size. The restaurants that used to be reserved solely for our pleasure are now full to capacity.
In our travels we have noticed that locals always get preferential treatment and with us being the only two whities in sight we didn’t think that we would even get into any of our regular restaurants. Hungry and thirsty after walking the 100 or so yards from our house to the centre of town we went to see if we could squeeze in anywhere. As we approached one of our favorite spots the staff saw us and waived us over. The place was packed with people, but after a few minutes of our waitress running around she were able to free up a table and coax a few chairs away from other groups so that we would have a spot to sit.
We realized that even though we were the only Gringos on Poneloya beach we were actually the locals and these Leoneses were just tourists in for the day. This was further corroborated when we walked past numerous local Poneloya entrepreneurs who stopped serving to the Leoneses throng long enough to make eye contact and give us a friendly wave and a shared smile at all these “crazy tourists” invading our little paradise.
Today we got to see things from the opposite side of the coin and it was interesting to say the least. In hindsight I should have realized that I was accepted as a local before Christmas day. On Christmas Eve I went to my favorite beer store to replenish my dwindling stock. Anna didn’t have change for my 500 cordoba bill ($25), so she shrugged and told me to take the beer and pay next time. This amount may seem insignificant to you, but many people here work for a week to earn that much.
I guess Elisha and I are a little more Nica every day. Special thanks go out to the girls at the restaurant, the old Checkers master, Hazel the Coconut Girl and Anna the Beer Slinger.