Most unfortunately, two of my site-mates, Joanna and Isabel, are leaving Nicaragua in April and May, respectively. Our friend and Isabel’s host cousin, Jeniffer, came up with the idea to throw them a joint surprise despedida (going away party).
The plan was simple. Jen and I planned a beach day with them, and while we were away all the guests gathered at Joanna’s house to set up and surprise the girls when we got back. And it went off perfectly.
Given recent events at Peñitas, we decided to go to the adjacent beach, Poneloya, which is less developed. I’m a big fan of Poneloya. It has the feel of my own little Caribbean village (my exact thought as I was walking down the street on my first visit). I’ll take a picture next time I am there (should be next Friday for an event), but I can paint a picture in the meantime. The town has one paved road that is fringed with the occasional palm tree and mango tree. On the beach side of the street are guest houses for rent with cute names in Spanish like “Octopus House” and “White Person Land.” The other side of the street has a few open air bars and restaurants. And besides for the occasional passing car or bus, there are mostly just barefoot kids riding there bikes or families scampering about with their little kids.
he beach has a few long palm-thatched cabanas on it, and there are a few stalls that fry up excellent fish for much cheaper than you can find it at Peñitas. Plus, there are no submerged rocks to impale your face on and generally fewer people. Overall, I’ve come to prefer Poneloya to Peñitas.
So there we spent our afternoon, swimming in the waves, listening to Beyonce, eating friend fish, and drinking rum. I also received was is so far my favorite restaurant bill ever. And by 6:00, we conveniently found our way on to the back of a pick-up truck for the short ride back into the city.
I wish I had a picture of Joanna’s mortified face when she stepped into her kitchen, the lights switched on, and 20 people jumped up and screamed “Surprise/Sorpresa!” She must have thought that she was being attacked and nearly crawled up into a ball on the floor. She recovered though and enjoyed a wonderful evening with her friends, fellow Volunteers, and host family.
Isabel wasn’t quite as surprised (and only got a peripheral surprise since she walked in behind poor Joanna), but she also enjoyed the party, and I hope the sentiment, thoroughly.
On the menu for the evening was Caballo Bayo (mouth orgy), which is a buffet of pork, chicken, sauce, cheese, fried corn enchiladitas, refried beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, tamales, and more, all mixed together on your plate. No, there is no horse meat in caballo bayo. And it was excellent. We also had hibiscus sangria with pineapple.
I’m going to thoroughly miss Joanna and Isabel, but Jen and I are also looking forward to meeting their replacements and living and working with them for another year (only a few more months in Jen’s case though – we’ll have to have another despedida come October).