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OMG I'm a Nubian Queen

I remember, even growing up, wishing I were Latina because the women were always praised for their beauty and their bodies (not to mention the “good hair”). They were so exotic — and that meant a lot in a world where it’s a sin to be ordinary.

If she ain’t foreign, she boring - right?

I finally saw what it’s like when people perceive you that way during my time living abroad.

Unless you want to weather hour-long delays trying to catch a bus, you have to find other ways to get around in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Taxis are an option, but even more common are “colectivos” — not-so-legal taxi/UberPool hybrids driven by locals looking to make extra cash. The trick to getting one is to wait for the most busted, broke-down looking cars on the road heading in your direction and pretty much just hop in when they offer a ride. Sus? Absolutely! But you get what you pay for when you’re driving 20-30 minutes into town for 1 to 3 dollars.

My first week or two in Tamarindo were my first experience with the depressive solo travel struggle: I hadn’t made any friends, I was hit hard by culture shock, and I felt largely intimidated by the idea of getting around by myself.

Fuck it.

Can’t go out like that.

I ripped off the bandaid one day and decided to go all out exploring the town. Everything was sunshine and rainbows until the sun set. Anxiety set in. I mean reaalllyyy set in. It was dark. I was alone. I barely knew where I was. And the thought of climbing into one of these colectivos just to get home sent my anxiety through the roof.

Praying to God for traveling blessings, I had to pace my breathing short of a self-induced panic attack. After walking for a while, I stopped at a nearby hotel to ask how I could go about finding a ride. Just as I left, a car pulled by and offered me one. Beautiful serendipity.

Or so I thought.


Rudy, my driver, did seem nice at first. I was surprised when he insisted I sit in the front seat but he put me at ease with conversation. Clutch time to know Spanish, too. If I hadn’t been able to talk with him things really could’ve gone south because the topics went from PG to R REAL quick.

He started talking about how much cocaine everyone in there does. How mierda the stuff in town was and where to get better product. Even offered to give me some. He pulled out a bottle of liquor from the satellite compartment and said he drinks every day because he believed in enjoying life. Ya know, the ‘here for a good time, not a long time’ mentality. Icing on the cake was the talk about sex.

“Qué rico, qué rico el sexo.” Adamant, he went on and on for most of the drive about how much he loves sex and how long he lasts in bed. He then asked me how sex was for me because he was sure it was always amazing for Black people. He was dying to know all about Black men, and said he’d always wanted to have a Black girl like me so he could experience it for himself.

I did get home safely, but that wasn’t the last time I saw Rudy nor was it the last time I encountered men with this racial fetish. Most notably, I went out for a night of dancing when an older gentleman asked me to be his partner. He was very sweet and kind, showing me the steps and trying to make me feel comfortable amongst the locals. It wasn’t until then that he started whispering to me about how beautiful Black women were and how he’d always wanted a Black girlfriend. How he wanted my number so we could keep in touch and I could spend time with him. I quite literally scurried away from him, weaving through the crowd to separate myself. Just when I thought I lost him, he found me. I left the party and walked towards home, only to then be followed by another man I’d danced with earlier who began repeatedly asking where I was going and begged me to let him take me there because I was so beautiful and he was so in love with me.

It’s a cat-and-mouse game you do not want to play. Almost like you’re being preyed on or hunted for sport.

It can be somewhat difficult to draw the line between a fetish and simple attraction. It’s not bad to have a type…or is it? I guess it all comes down to motivation. Seeking out partners for the purpose of experimentation or breeding is an obvious no-go. But it is interesting to see conversation that says it’s wrong to exclusively date outside your race or exclusively within it.

What do you think?

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