I’m back in Sámara, Costa Rica for my annual spiritual cleansing and gift to myself, blessed by my family, to follow my bliss as Joseph Campbell would say. As the plane left the borders of the United States from Houston, my connection from Denver, I unintentionally sighed with relief–no more blow-by-blow accounts of President Trump’s antics from the White House, whether it be his so called Southern White House at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, his Manhattan White House, or what every other President called the White House in Washington, D.C.
My relief was short-lived. The woman seated next to me on the plane, the kind of person who talks too much when she is nervous, defended each day of her and her husband’s whirlwind ten day journey through Costa Rica. She described in a strong Texas accent that bordered on giddy, the towns they intended to visit with their private driver. They were hitting every major tourist site about which I had ever read. My preference is to pick a place and stay put, learning about the culture and becoming as much of a local as possible. But it seems to me that most people from the U.S. prefer to jump from town to town cramming in as much as possible when they go on vacation, no matter where they go. This does not sound relaxing to me, but everyone has their own concept of a vacation I suppose.
As we were landing, Ms. Texas spotted three U.S. Army helicopters parked at the airport and asked, “What are those doing here?”
“Costa Rica does not have its own military–“, I said. Before I could finish she chimed in.
“So we just pay to protect other countries?”
“It’s in our best interest. Those helicopters track shipments of cocaine coming from Columbia up to the U.S. The U.S.A. is the largest consumer of illegal drugs in the world. The helicopters inform the Costa Rican police and Coast–”
“I don’t want to talk politics,” she said.
And that was my interaction with a Trump supporter. Earlier in the flight, when she tried to disguise her horror that I was traveling alone, I explained I spent two years learning Spanish. She grumbled, “I probably should since they are taking over.” I knew who “they” were but I wondered what they were taking over.
“Trump’s immigration policy will certainly impact the number of Mexicans in Houston,” I said.
“He’s got to do something.”
She seemed educated from out initial conversation, but she only figured out where Costa Rica was after looking at the map in Hemispheres Magazine published by United Airlines and left in the seat pocket.
“Oh, it’s this skinny part under Mexico,” she said to her husband.
Yeah, as in Central America. Who goes on a trip without knowing where they are going first?
More troublesome to me is the way her hands went over her ears when information was conveyed that did not jive with her view of the world. She preferred to believe the U.S. was protecting Costa Rica at great expense to our government with no benefit to the U.S. I may be crazy, but the hands over the ears seems to be what Trump supporters do. How else did a brash alleged billionaire who admits he grabs pussies get elected?
The fact is the U.S. must secure permits to land those helicopters with machine guns at the Liberian airport and that is not a rubber stamp process. My observation from the seven times I have visited this country is the locals do not use cocaine. If it is used here, it is by foreigners. Costa Rica is on the State Department’s list of drug running countries because Columbian drug runners stash supplies in the woods in Costa Rica for later pick up by another runner. This is where the U.S. Army comes in and patrols the coastal waters looking for drug runners. They inform the Costa Rican authorities (Costa Rica does have a Coast Guard) and Costa Rica gets the credit for a drug bust.
But Ms. Texas didn’t want to hear this. I’m sure she covered her ears about his pussy grabbing, too. And did she really want to know she was going on vacation so far away from the U.S.? She didn’t even know until she got on the plane. This xenophobia and immigrant-bashing gets on my nerves. If you are going to be like that, at least learn where your country is in relation to the rest of the world. And consider your status when you visit another country on vacation. What right do you have to be there? Why should that country let you visit?
It’s a privilege to once again visit this beautiful country. I am careful to use the formal you in Spanish. Although the informal “tu” is acceptable in Mexico, “usted” is the polite form in Costa Rica. I sometimes slip but I know how to say “lo siento”, I am sorry, a phrase that comes in handy in many languages, I’m sure. For example, I’m sorry I brought up politics in my first post concerning getting away from politics.