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Israeli Women Are Scared of Me

It was night time at the finca, the generator was shut off, the entire place was dark, most of the guests were snug in their beds, sleeping. I usually go down to the river at this time to swim. Nobody is usually there, nobody asks me any questions or want me to do anything for [...]

It was night time at the finca, the generator was shut off, the entire place was dark, most of the guests were snug in their beds, sleeping. I usually go down to the river at this time to swim. Nobody is usually there, nobody asks me any questions or want me to do anything for them. It is a quiet time for me at the end of the day — my family is asleep, there is nobody up and about. Just me.

I swim, I return to my room. En route I see an armadillo nuzzling about in the humus for grubs or whatever the hell armadillos eat. I shine my light on him, he is not afraid. He keeps nuzzling the ground, I keep watching him. The animals in the jungle are pretty cool, I think.

It is my impression that the other guests in the hotel think so too.

I see a young Israeli girl walking on another path from the bathroom to her room. I try urgently to wave her over, I yell “Come here!”

She looks at me wide eyed with terror and ran to her room. I watch curiously as she opened and then slammed shut the door, and then began cackling Hebrew to her friends.

What an odd individual. Who doesn’t want to see an armadillo in the jungle?

Then it hit me:

She seemed scared. What could she have been scared of? I was the only one around?

Then it became obvious, she was scared of me. Apparently, I creeped her out.

I forgot to mention that I was wearing nothing but a bath towel around my waste, I was standing in the dark of night on an obscure path in front of her room while everybody else was asleep.

I looked down at myself and took an inventory: tattooed, muscular, shaved headed and bearded. I broke down laughing, I felt like a real f’cking Larry David.

I scare Israeli women.

From my perspective I am a nice guy, not too much of a creep, with very few ill intentions. I was looking at an armadillo and thought it cool. I showed some tourists a couple of weeks before an armadillo in the same location and they thanked me profusely. I thought the Israeli girl may have liked to look at the armadillo, too.

I thought wrong.

From the perspective of the Israeli girl I was a malicious looking pervert, nearly naked, lurking in front of her door, trying to get her.

How many times have I ran away from people just wanting to show me something cool? How many times have I sidestepped situations that could have been really interesting out of fear? How many times have I left people standing alone in the night to unjustifiably feel like a creep.

In travel, a human’s natural senses of security are either heightened — this is good — or completely abandoned — not good. Security choices need to be made in a flash, your legs, not your head, need to tell you what to do.

When walking through a dark Central American finca in the middle of the night is that odd looking fellow standing in a the bath towel on a dark path calling you over to look at something cool or is he trying to get you? There is only a split moment to decide.

The Israeli girl ran for dear life. She did not get to see something cool.

I was left to hang out with the stupid armadillo all by myself.

Travel is about perception and perspective, you have your own and that is all you have to work from. Believe in it, believe in it 100%, but also realize that you may have gotten it all wrong: sometimes tattooed creeps in bath towels standing alone in the dark only want to show you something cool.

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Filed under: Central America, Danger, Guatemala

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3443 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Prague, Czech Republic

8 comments… add one

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  • Joe July 5, 2010, 12:29 pm

    How did she and her friends look at you the next day?
    Where you ever able to explain the situation to her or did she just give you the stink eye and try to avoid you.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com July 5, 2010, 4:15 pm

      I would like to think she was flattered and just bashful to meet such an attractive man on a dark path in the middle of the night.

      But I recoiled from this assumption and told them about the animals in front of there room at night. Maybe this explained it, maybe not.

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  • >:3 July 12, 2010, 4:02 pm

    Armadillos aren´t stupid. 🙁

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com July 13, 2010, 10:52 am

      How do you know?

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  • Paul French August 31, 2011, 7:31 pm

    Cheers Wade, always make me chuckle, cry, think, or a mix of the three. But I think that missing a few cool things would be worth respecting your intuition, and bolting from bad vibes. Safe than sorry, all that jazz.

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    • Wade Shepard August 31, 2011, 7:53 pm

      Thanks, man, much appreciated!

      Yeah, it is a strange moment when you realize that someone thinks that YOU are a creep. We all know ourselves, and it is not my impression that many of us find ourselves that creepy, so it is a funny experience to find yourself on the lee side of the stranger danger line haha.

      Good move on the Israeli girl’s part though. I would probably go running if I saw myself in the the jungle in only a bath towel too.

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      • Bob L September 1, 2011, 11:10 pm

        Doesn’t help that you had a shaved head, as in “Skin Head”

        For myself, I am more surprised by all the times I didn’t scare people. I have been in many situations where the situation “should” have raised flags for the other person(s), but didn’t. Not that there was any real reason to be afraid of me, but the situation was such that the person should have been really cautious. Lonely dark place, big guy like me, small girl all alone. No fear on her part. This has happened many times in various situations and combinations. What am I doing wrong? Shouldn’t people be afraid of me, even if there really is nothing to fear from me? People can’t really be that good at judging others. Are they being naive? Poor situation awareness? Or am I really not as scary as I think I should be?

        If I saw you in just a towel, and did not notice your pink sandals, I would DEFINITELY be put into a state of caution. A few words from you though, and I would know that you are one of the good guys. But then, English is my native language. If all you spoke was spanish (german, whatever) I might not quickly come to the conclusion that you are mostly harmless. That’s meant as a compliment 8^) But then, some of the most interesting people I have ever met put me in a state of caution on first appearance. That is how our species has survived all these years, by being cautious of those that don’t look/act/dress like us. It may also be what removes our species from the planet.

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        • Wade Shepard September 4, 2011, 3:42 pm

          Yeah, there are a lot of truly stupid people out there with no sense of self-preservation. I remember meeting this young American girl late at night in the streets of San Cristobal last year. She asked what I was doing, and I told her that I was going to a house party. She then followed me through a dark maze of deserted streets to a house in a remote part of the city that I was not even familiar with. I remember looking at her and being like, “Man, this girl is dumb, why would she trust some random guy (me) to go into a dark part of town late at night with nobody else around?” It made me realize how easy the bad guys of the planet have it — there are so many dumb people out there that there is no reason to even work go after anyone that even shows a glimmer of self-preservation tendencies.

          I don’t blame that Israeli girl for running!

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