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A Day With Strangers – People You Meet on the Road in Nicaragua

I wanted to get an early start in Omotepe and I set my alarm at 6 a.m. but somehow, I only woke up at 6:20 a.m. I rushed to catch the 7 a.m. boat but I made it.

I sat by a woman from Los Angeles on the tiny boat to San Jorge, mainland. I was barely awake and “I am from LA” was very hyper—I could barely keep up with the conversation. She complained that her favourite American café in Omotepe wasn’t in her guidebook, explained that she struggled with her body image until He—I assumed she was talking about God, not a cosmetic surgeon—helped her. She asked me why I was smoking. “We all have vices and weaknesses,” I replied. “I try my best to do things with moderation but I’m only human.” “I don’t think so,” she said, laughing. “Lack of willpower. You need to find God. Gosh, this boat isn’t safe. Where about you said you live? Ottawa? Is that a city or something?”

All that in the space of an hour.

I was pretty much done with her until I realize we were both heading to Granada—I wanted to spend the day in the city to spend my last cordobas and buy a few stuff. Fortunately, I sat by a Nicaraguan university student in the chicken bus and I was happy to help him “practise his English” for most of the trip.

I got off at Granada, found a hostel and bumped into a girl from Quebec I had met in Omotepe. She was heading to Masaya to buy a hammock and some supplies to make jewellery. “Wanna come?” Sure, why not?

We took the chicken bus together, scouted the touristic market and got great deals at the real local market. On the way back, I got off right before Granada’s city centre and we parted way. I don’t even know her name but it doesn’t matter, does it?

At night, I sat at the local comedor and ordered pescado a la plancha con gallo pinto y tostones (grilled fish, rice and beans and plaintains). The guy at the table beside me, a gringo, was nursing a beer. He had teary eyes. We exchanged greetings. He said he had just arrived in Granada from Omotepe, where he had split up with his girlfriend. He sat beside me and explained that he was into drugs, art and that he had been single for 9 years before meeting his current girlfriend. He was jealous, she wasn’t. She thought he lacked motivation in life, he thought she didn’t know what she wanted, he was a loner, she was a social butterfly. I ate, he drunk, we chatted and once I was done with my fish, I said goodbye.

“That was a cool conversation,” he said. “Yep. You’ll be fine,” I added. “So will you.”

We parted ways. I don’t know his name, won’t see him ever again, wouldn’t even be able to recognize him in the street. Again, it doesn’t matter.

Traveling is about meeting people, chatting and moving on.

I am fine with that.

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French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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