August 4th, 2011 9:09am—Goddamn Penises

After Lynn left for Colombia, Gonzales and I went north with Ali G—our tent—and a bottle of Flor de Caña rum. As we were crossing borders and didn't want the bottle confiscated, I ensconced the rum with dirty shirts and socks in my bag. I'd been washing my clothes in the sink with soap, and they didn't smell fantastic. We traveled from Panama City via taxi and bus and found ourselves overnight in San José, Costa Rica. 
San José was overrun with American tourists, largely between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one. Though it was July, it seemed like spring break (woo-hoo) for college students on coke. We weren't enthralled. As backpackers in our mid-twenties, we clearly had superior traveling status. We were experiencing the world on limited budgets. The American tourists were experiencing inflated Costa Rican prices and the same college scene from the states, albeit in a foreign country. 
When we discovered that the showers had hot water and soap, we thought we were in the lap of hostel luxury. When we paid $8US for two beers at Hostel Pangea, our residence for the night, we knew we were in the wrong place. We missed poor backpackers and dollar beers at Luna's Castle. While the crazy Americans in the hostel got drunk on $4 beers, Gonzales and I laid down on orange and red couches and watched t.v. 
It would have been nice and relaxing, except that the t.v. shows were in Spanish and the live drunken background screams of college-age tourists were in English. I couldn't understand Spanish as it was, much less interpret foreign language television show plot. We turned it to The Simpsons. 
Instead of the tentative tent-on-beach plan we had vaguely discussed, Gonzales wanted to go directly to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, stay at Hostel PachaMama, and fall into the delicious life-encompassing black hole that she described San Juan del Sur as. 
"Some people mean to stay for two days in SJDS and they stay two weeks. Others mean to stay for a week and they stay for a month. Some people just never leave. It's like a black hole of heaven," Gonzales told me. 
She said there were a fruit market and beaches, backpackers running around barefoot and ladies nights at the bars. She listed off people that she had met in San Juan del Sur when she had been there a few months prior. The names meant nothing to me, but I was excited.
"Sounds good, let's go stay at PachaMama," I said. 
I envisioned PachaMama's owner as a kindly older woman who was as wide as she was tall. I thought she must look like a roly poly. I fantasized about her cooking a meal or two for me. Traditional, home cooked Nicaraguan food. I drooled.
Gonzales and I left our air-conditioned room and the hot showers and mindbogglingly expensive cerveza of Hostel Pangea and got to the bus stop at the unholy time of 6am. The first bus out was at 6am. When I realized that my clock had been an hour early and it was actually 5am, I shrugged off my backpacker bag, dropped it on the concrete floor of the bus terminal, smiled a sad smile at Gonzales, and sat on the backpack. 
"I'm sorry," I said. "All of these border crossings and one-hour time changes are messing me up."
"It's okay, this way we can eat breakfast!" Gonzales replied.
At that moment, I realized that my vagina was wet. And pools of liquid were issuing forth from my bag onto the concrete. When the sweet, tangy flavor of Flor de Caña rum hit my nostrils, I screamed.
"The rum!"
"Not the rum!" Gonzales shouted. 
I had managed to break the thick, seemingly impenetrable glass bottle inside my bag. 
"Well, if anything, my clothes probably smell better now," I said as I contemplated laying on the concrete and licking up spiced rum. 
Seven hours later, we walked across the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border at Penas Blancas. Luckily, Gonzales had done this desolate, confusing, fuck of a crossing before. The Tica bus let us out and disappeared. Usually the customs offices for border crossings are next to each other. They're typically at least within eyesight. Not that one. We received exit stamps from Costa Rica from the inside of a shack, walked what seemed like a mile through the dust and light rain in tropical humidity, searched for Nicaragua's customs office, and found it solely because Gonzales recognized a yellow building, a blue building, and a near indistinguishable passageway in between some other buildings. At that moment, Gonzales became God, and I, a dutiful worshiper. 
We caught a chicken bus to Rivas and then to San Juan del Sur. The owner of PachaMama was not the portly grandmother type. The owner was a man in his late twenties who had blue/green eyes, shoulder-length surfer hair and quasi-rippling muscles. He wore a baseball hat, board shorts, tank tops or tee-shirts and flip flops, and had previously gone to Washington State University. 
The PachaMama "home" that Gonzales had referred to was not home in the comforting, motherly way, but rather in the welcoming, accepting, no-judgements-passed backpacker party scene. PachaMama felt like home because it was a haven for the weary, the tired, and the drunk. The front desk receptionists were backpackers from around the world who had decided to stay in San Juan del Sur just a little longer, the owner was from the U.S., and though the pots and pans were falling apart and you were lucky to locate a fork in the kitchen, PachaMama brought people together.
On one of our first nights in San Juan del Sur, a plethora of girls from PachaMama capitalized on Ladies' Night. Ladies' Night meant ladies drink free at one bar from 8pm-11pm, at another from 9pm-10pm, and free at another from 9:30pm-10:30pm. Ladies' Night was awesome. And dangerous. Awesome in that we made friends easily and got intoxicated for free. Dangerous in that if you're not paying for drinks, you find yourself a lot less likely to count beers and pay attention to consumption and levels of intoxication. Especially if dancing is involved. 
As Nicaragua wasn't known for being the safest place in the world, every night a handful of girls and I would only take out limited funds. We weren't usually paying for drinks, so our money was typically reserved for late-night hot dog stands and cigarettes. 
My second night in San Juan del Sur, three other girls and I had been drinking for hours. It was three in the morning and none of us had any money left. One of the girls, Amy, logically decided that she wanted juice. 
"I really want juice, you guys. Do you guys want juice? I really want juice."
I shrugged. I guessed I could use some juice. The bartender wouldn't give Amy any for free (she tried), so we walked out on the bar's back deck and looked at the ocean. 
I sat on a slab of concrete next to two of the girls while another sat across from us in a plastic chair. A local guy sat down next to me. He didn't say anything, but he nodded at me.
"Do you like juice?" Amy asked him, leaning across me. "Can we get some juice? Can we share some juice with you?"
Local nodded but didn't get up. One of the other girls said something and I turned to her to respond. That's when the Nicaraguan man touched my arm. I looked over at him to find that he had removed his dick from his pants. Penises are not pretty to look at. This one was disturbingly revolting. It was flaccid and slumped over. It was almost black in color and inexplicably had some hair on it. It was uncircumsized and looked like a giant slug. I screamed, "Put it away, put it away. Oh my God, he has his penis out."
"No, no, it's juice," he said, pointing. "Juice inside. Juice inside."


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