¨I think you just had your official welcome to Managua, Molly¨laughs my curly haired friend Amy from Rhode Island. Four girls squished into the back seat of a taxi in the heat of the Nicaraguan evening on the way to spin class turned into another eventful moment in the life of Molly Bryant. The stories keep building. Yesterday I was reminded that I am, indeed, immersed in another culture. A culture altogether different than my own; one that has undoubtedly provided moments of confusion, frustration and terror (which just comes with the territory of international travel) but mostly it has provided moments of pure humor and hilarity. As soon as I forget that I´m traveling through Central America, a man in a wheelchair tries to make out with me. At a stoplight. With a plate glass window as our only barrier.
´Tis true. I do not exaggerate, my virtual friends. Last night, our taxi driver Fernando pulled up to the stoplight of a busy intersection and immediately locked the doors and asked us to roll up our windows. We obeyed without question knowing that robbery has been on the rise here in Nicaragua. As I was innocently chatting with my friends and moving to the salsa music on the radio, a man´s face appeared directly to my left. Inches away. My eyesight might be horrific but I do have excellent peripheral vision. I slowly turned my head with the face of someone who might be described as one who feels both guilty and nervous because they know they shouldn´t be looking at whatever it is but they can´t not look at the same time. I looked. Failure! Never look.
¨Ho-laaaaaa!¨says the man as he nods and literally licks his lips. Cringe. I smiled and turned away. Surely the man will get the point. I´m just not that into him. He taps on the window. Shudder. He bangs on the window and starts talking. Holy shit. The car errupts into uncontrollable giggles. I try to remain adamant that I will not even laugh because that will just provoke the situation. Do not laugh. And then...
He sticks his mouth on the window. The window that is inches from my face. I turn to give him the look of ¨Ya Basta (Enough!)!¨And then I see it in plain view. His mouth. His tongue. The window. A part of me was literally scared. I wouldn´t say that it´s the most comforting thing in the world to have a man in a wheelchair make out with the window the lies adjacent to your body. Yet, slowly... slowly... slowly... a smile emerged. Then a snort. Then a snicker. And then laughter. Uncontrollable, deep laughter. Tears begin to stream down my face. With each kiss from the man, more tears. Tears of terror, tears of humor and tears that inevitably come with a situation like this. And then the car lost all control. It was contagious. And that damned stoplight lasted for what felt like hours.
Thankfully I had 50 minutes of spinning class from an instructor that had dance moves I´ve never ever seen before and who yelled at me to go faster to take my mind off the classy man at the stoplight. Perhaps we will meet again. Perhaps not. At least we had those 5 minutes together. On the street. With the doors locked and the windows up.