The gringos - here that refers to anyone from the US, Canada, Europe or Australia - are easy to spot in the street. Middle aged, they are disheveled, flushed, sweaty and rumpled in practical sandals and shorts. Sometimes loose dresses and skirts. Frizzy hair. Sun hat. The younger ones, more sweaty, less flushed. Layers of loose hippie clothes, tank tops, lots of bare skin, tattoos, piercings. Or if they are on a mission, matching t-shirts, shorts, sandals and neat hair cuts. They walk in the sun.
But the Nicas always look as if they have just finished getting ready. Hair glossy and neatly combed. Jeans and polo shirt for women and trousers and button down for men. Some women in shorts. They are never dripping sweat. Partly because it is very common to carry a hanky or washcloth everywhere in case the slightest bead of sweat appears on the brow. The bank employees have sexy uniforms. Week days they wear gray suits with long slits in the skirts and high heels. Saturday is casual and they wear trim khakis and polo shirts.
Of course, then there are the other Nicas, more or less living in the street or in severely reduced circumstances. They aren't so clean sometimes. Skin covered in dust. Barefoot. Dull eyes. But everyone who can, really tries.
So I am going to try more. I want to look cool and collected. I'm going to carry a towel with me whereever I go; wash my face and comb my hair before I leave the house. Maybe carry an umbrella against the sun. I'm going to try to be more presentable.