- YOU’RE THE TINDER GIRL!!!!!
- Uuuuuh… my name is Jasmine
- Hop in Jasmine, we’ve been waiting for you
Two border crossings, 700km of mountain roads, and not a single issue. La Chichona made me proud. I opened la Guitarra’s metal gate and saw Marie, the receptionist, standing in the parking lot. “Bienvenido Raz” she said with a big smile. I hugged her tight and parked la Chichona in her usual spot. Friends, the ocean, a shower . . . what else can the heart of a nomad desire?
Sandra Tranquilo had arrived a few days before me. Our reunion was emotional and happy with memories. Over dinner, Sandra caught me up on who was in Playa El Tunco this year. Everywhere we walked, people welcomed us with smiles and nods of approval. A group of guys were drinking in front of the liquor store. We passed them when a guy yelled:
- YOU’RE RAAAAAAAAAAAAZZZ!!!
- Uuuuhh... yes?
- WELCOME RAAAAAAAZZZ!!! He raised his glass and drank.
That was Wang, the friend of a friend. Wang is a Canadian sports teacher and a raging tornado. The locals loved him for his generosity and good spirits; they called him Chino. He had only a week in La Guitarra so he made every hour count. He insisted we drank with him, then insisted we went surfing together. He was loud and drunk, but beside his terrible first impression, Chino seemed cool.
My nightmares were still haunting me. Restless, I shared my burden with Sandra the next morning. Sandra is a woman of action. She did not care about the past or reasons but listened to my victimization tirade. When I was done, she said with a mix of pity and compassion, “You need to get laid my friend!”.
That was the last thing on my mind. Sandra downloaded Tinder, chose my best pictures, and we started swiping. There was no effort involved and it was kind of funny. She flirted with a straightforward approach I would have never dared. “If it’s not easy, it’s not worth it”, she said. Somehow, girls responded positively to her pickup lines. The issue was that they were in San Salvador, the capital, one hour away from the beach. It was not easy. It was not worth it.
Chino’s hungover did not stain his word. He woke up shitfaced, and scanned the waves every hour like an addict. “Nothing better than a few wipeouts to clear your head”, he said. When it was time, he rallied the troops. We waxed up our boards, put on sunscreen, and followed him to the water. Conditions were perfect, the waves were easy, and everyone was smiling. We surfed, celebrated each other’s rides, and played like ducks in the water. Those moments with friends were what I missed the most on the road. Good times.
We closed the morning session with a cold beer, a spliff, and a swing in the hammock. In that lazy afternoon, Chino stopped by Sandra's patio.
- Chino: What are you guys up to tonight?
- Raz: Just chilling
- Chino: I rented a shuttle. We’re going to the city if you want to join. It’ll be fun!
- Raz: Thanks man, but I’m done for the day.
- Sandra: IT’S 5 PM!!!
Chino's plan was to tour the renovated city center. We would visit the museums or bars and come back at midnight to watch the live band in La Guitarra. Sandra convinced me, “Come on, you could text the Tinder girl!”. It was true, and easy. I set up a date with Jasmine, dressed up, and joined Chino’s crew. All the beach bums looked fresh for once. We jumped in the shuttle, Chino blasted music, and the party started.
There was a long line to the museum so I decided to wait for my date in a bar. Jasmine was late. The squad finished touring and gathered at the rendez-vous point for pickup. I begged everyone to wait an extra ten minutes. The shuttle arrived. Everyone was waiting for me, and I was waiting for Jasmine.
Jasmine showed up at the last minute. I offered her a ride to Playa El Tunco to party with us and enjoy La Guitarra's live band. She saw ten people in front of the shuttle and agreed. As we approached, Chino yelled the weirdest shit, embarrasing both of us at the same time. Everybody laughed, then he added: “Sorry we don’t have a seat for you, but you can sit on Raz’ lap. I’m sure he won’t mind.” And so, Jasmine sat on my lap. Thank you Chino.
The drive back was epic, ten drunk beach bums partying in a minibus and a funny Tinder date. We arrived to la Guitarra and merged with the crowd at the bar. Jasmine and I hooked up and disappeared in my room. Sandra was right. It was easy, and it was worth it. I didn’t dream of she-who-must-not-be-named that night, or any other night.
Latinos have a saying for that, “un clavo saca a otro clavo”.