“I felt like a piece of meat,” was the complaint from a model after participating in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
Yeah, this came off of Yahoo News, so you know it’s got to be suggestive, but did an experienced model really have come to this realization only after working her way up to the big time Show of Shows? When they outfitted her in wings, squeezed her into revealing lingerie that left little to more to suggest, did she pause before high-heeling it onto the runway? No. She seems to have made sure the check was deposited first.
Nothing else to report from the world of non-news, at least of any interest…Prostitute ads, Pope wasting food…, Taco Bell firing coupled with FBI investigations – the usual stuff I’ve commented on before, the kind of information that has no value and calls for no action or reaction, other than offering the easy and empty, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you” reaction.
I’m considering doing a few posts on some of the American, Canadian, and European ex-pats who call Costa Rica home. They are an odd lot…mostly people who have left wrecked lives or open indictments behind in their country of origin. These are risk-taking people, mostly, and they are as quirky a bunch as I’ve ran across in thirty years of traveling. Few photos can be included with such posts, since many of these people seem very camera shy, and most of them go by names they’ve made up or have adopted since their arrival.
Costa Rica often reminds me of a pirate-era Tortuga. There is little altruism here, as I’ve seen ex-pats involve themselves with in many other countries I’ve visited. Some people are here for the eco-tourism biz, and there are some who volunteer for turtle, sloth, monkey, or parrot rescue projects. But, on the whole, these people are here for their own economic advancement. I’ve got a better example to draw from – one from when I lived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
I was walking down the beach my second day in town, trying to kill two days until an apartment opened up. I had been sleeping in an abandoned restaurant near the beach, and came across Dr. William St. John on my way “home.” A skinny man, appearing to be in his 70s, bright green bathing trunks that were too tight for comfort, and he was working away at a pile of beach junk, dock lumber, rusted cable and ropes – there had been a severe storm a few days before that had destroyed the city pier, and this was the remains. I stopped, watched for a few minutes, he acknowledged me, then went back to pulling the mess apart.
“There’s a pelican in here,” he said. I started helping him. We eventually freed the pelican, and by that time he had found out I was homeless, and offered me a place to stay. I spent the next two days living on the roof of the Hotel California – really, the Hotel California – under a corrugated tin roof, my only furniture was a full-sized Brazilian flag. His name was Dr. William St. John, from White Plains, New York, and he smoothed over the rougher aspects of my life, asking for nothing in return besides my company. We spent two evenings on his balcony talking over many topics, the broadest, the meaning of life…the narrowest, the value of one life.
Dr. Bill had been a successful physician in Boston, with houses, summer homes, cars, boats, a portfolio of investments, and a severe alcohol problem. Putting down the bottle somehow brought him to question the lifestyle he had constructed around the endless drive for symbols of status. He sold everything, gave much of the proceeds to charities, saving enough to travel the world comfortably for the rest of his life, which he refused to do. He took public transportation, traveled across seas on cargo ships, hiked dirt roads, paid for passage on Arab trading boats, and generally lived like a bum.
When I met him he had visited 52 countries, and had been changing the world for the better, one life at a time.
In Puerto Vallarta Dr. Bill had made friends with a Catholic priest. Dr. Bill was an atheist, convinced the best he could do in this world was serve his immediate community, and in turn, the world. But, he also knew that in a Latin American country a local Catholic priest was probably his surest source to discovering a worthy project. Through that priest he had identified a young man named Alberto who had shown promise, intelligence, a sense of family and community loyalty, but lived in a shack up on the hill without electricity, indoor plumbing, or any of the other conveniences most of us take for granted.
Dr. Bill moved Alberto’s family into an apartment with the basic amenities…nothing extravagant. He up-graded their wardrobes, concentrating on Alberto, since the young man would need presentable clothing to attend the private Catholic school he was to be enrolled in, on Dr. Bill’s dime. Alberto got a new computer, the beginning to a library worthy of a young man on his way to medical school, and reliable transportation to school every day. The Catholic priest was put in charge of monitoring Alberto’s progress, and a local businessman of good repute was charged with monitoring the priest and his relationship and guidance of Alberto. With all this in place, Dr. Bill backed his way out of the picture, asking only for bi-annual reports on Alberto and his family.
This was not the first such project the good doctor had undertaken. He received many such reports from countries such as India, Bhutan, Vietnam, Ghana, Morocco, El Salvador, and Ecuador, to name but a few. Besides the criteria perviously mentioned, the common denominator in Dr. Bill’s kids seemed to be they had ambitions toward a profession that would serve their community. I lost contact with Dr. Bill after he moved on, while I stayed to become a diving guide, a waiter in a restaurant called Baby Jaws, checked in on Alberto and his family now and again. One of Dr. Bill’s requests was after he had set a more manageable future in motion for this lad, strangers – like myself – should stay out of the way as much as possible and let the situation play out.
I can imagine I’ll have a hard time finding another Dr. Bill, but I am sure I’ll be able to come up with some unique modern-day pirates. Will report soon.