Remember when I told you I’d take the Turibus around the city today? Remember when I also told you there are a LOT of holidays here? Well, today it’s Colombian Labor Day, and though it’s great because the roads are closed, there are people in the street, and the sun is out, it’s not so good because the bus isn’t running. I only know this because a group of three gringos who also unwittingly came to the bus stop at Parque Poblado told me. Actually, only one of them speaks Spanish (Ben), and read the sign to us. But also remember, when on vacation, be flexible!
So I joined their party and headed for the Metro so that we could see Parque Arvi, which is only accessible from the city operated cable cars that climb up to the mountainous park.
The Metro costs about a dollar and is clean, quiet, and crowded. I’m thinking there were a lot more people than usual using it today because of the holiday. Whatever the case, we head north up the valley standing in the train until we reach the Acevedo stop, where we disembark and catch a cable car, which lifts us over a pathetic ghetto to a transfer station about 1500 vertical feet higher than where we started. Then we must pay an additional buck to change cars and finish the trip to the top. This is a pretty long, 15-minute ride, which carries us up to the park’s 8000 feet elevation, and it affords some excellent long range “purple mountain majesty” vistas as we enter the rain forest and leave civilization behind. As you ascend, you can see the foliage change from dense tropical growth to a more open conifer forest, so we are eager to explore when we arrive at the final station.
When we try to leave the car, however, a guard informs us that the park is full so we must rotate back to the transfer station and try again, hopefully after some people leave. It seems to me there could have been some communication between the attendants at the transfer point and the park, but no! In any event, on or next trip up we are allowed entry.
The first thing you notice is that it is cold up there, maybe 50 degrees. The elevation gain is part of the reason. The other part is we’ve gone through a cloud layer (it was sunny at the valley floor when we left) and it is drizzling occasionally. None of us are dressed appropriately. One of us has only flip-flops.
The other thing you notice is a small crafts marketplace where vendors have stalls selling food, jewelry, clothing items, etc., and it’s a good place to catch a quick bite before we start our hike.
We decide to take a 1 and ½ tour offered by a park ranger. He takes us on a big loop that wanders through wide dirt roads and under a dense canopy of trees. I keep waiting for that golden travel moment when you say, “wow! I’m glad I did this!” but it never came. We just kept walking along the dirt road, and occasionally the ranger would stop and explain some details about the flora. Other than that, no grand view, no beautiful animals, no drama. Just a walk down a road. Unless you just need some exercise, I wouldn’t recommend it.
So after the hike we all decide to head back. That requires buying tickets again, and I’m left to wonder how many people are stranded up here forever, having purchased a little lunch and perhaps came up short. Shouldn’t a trip to a mountaintop on a cable car be round trip? I’m told this is to keep people from taking a car from the airport from the back side to the top and then riding down the other side for free. What? That sounds like a bureaucrat’s reason. Anyway, we stand in two lines, one to buy tickets, and another to ride back down.
When we get back to town, everyone is hungry, so we go to a local mall and order up in the food court. I don’t guess I have to tell you that Colombian mall food is no better than ours? Good.
That’s when Ben and Henry pull out their phones and start calling girls. Ben has a three and a half page, single spaced list of women’s names and phone numbers he secured in advance on the Internet, and Henry has pulled up pictures on his I Phone of each Latin lovely that he’s been corresponding with on some “Latin Love” website. Since Henry has no Spanish skills, he asks Ben to call his chosen women, and they both start to go through each girl on their list trying to find someone who’s available immediately. Finally, Ben finds one that is there in the mall with her daughter, and they joke that they can take turns watching the little girl in one room while the other one has sex with mommy in another.
Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m no prude, but I don’t like this at all, and I take my leave of them. I’ll note in passing that the other guy in their group, Alex, felt the same way as me and was ready to go home because in his words, “all they do is try to get women”, and he had a girlfriend at home. Good for him. But for these other men, and there are millions more like them (many married or in “committed relationships”) who travel to countries just because it’s easy to get laid: shame on you! It’s pathetic! If you have to pay a woman to blow you, it says far more about you than her. She’s doing it because she has to in order to feed her baby. You’re doing it because you’re an amoral pig.
OK, if you’re looking for women, fine, and it’s good to be focused, but there’s a line too many men cross these days and it’s time other men didn’t laugh it off. Here’s a news flash guys: these women don’t think your hairy back and fading libido are sexy. They don’t really want to have sex with their grandpa, and they don’t think your fifty-year old body is hot. The harsh reality is that the only reason these women are desperate enough to have sex with an old gringo, or a young gringo who speaks no Spanish (or Russian, or pick a language) is because you have money, and they don’t. Period. Yes, you may trick some poor peasant girl into having sex with you for free because she’s naïve enough or desperate enough to think you might actually pull her out of the crime-ridden sewer she’s from, but even if you didn’t outright lie to her, you lied to yourself. You lied when you looked in the mirror and thought you saw a human being looking back.
And here’s another news flash: just because you’re in a foreign country, it doesn’t mean they can’t understand you at all. So when you’re openly ogling the bouncing boobs of a 16 year old in public and liberally using the “F” word in front of families, be aware that you’re telling the whole world that Americans in general and you in particular are a swine, and there is a CIA term for this, and it’s called “blowback”. Eventually, you piss somebody off, and they explode on you. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but how would you feel if foreigners invaded your poor country with the express purpose of banging your sister? How’d you like it if it was your daughter they were doing? Is it so hard to understand that that kind of resentment eventually reaches a boiling point? And does it take a LOT of intelligence to know that you ALREADY stand out here? Hell, you’re a foot taller than everyone, and you’re wearing shorts and open footwear in an alpine park. Duh!
My point is this: there’s nothing “voluntary” about a transaction where the “haves” screw the “have nots”. They may say yes on their own volition, and it may not even involve money, but the fact remains, when you hold all the cards, the game is rigged, and it isn’t fair. Doesn’t matter if it’s sex or any other human intercourse.
Last, what the hell is wrong with you that you can’t find a woman at home anyway? You might just as well put a sign on your forehead: “dickless, impotent old bastard who can’t handle a real woman” as to try to score with a twenty-something based on nothing more than income disparity and the yearning for people everywhere to be free from want.
Remember these words: real men don’t buy whores.
And real women should bend over backwards to make sure their men don’t want to do this kind of stuff. Trust me, if you gave them what they wanted at home, they wouldn’t be looking abroad (no pun intended).
Women also participate in sex travel, and that’s even more repulsive because in general I have more respect for women and think they’re capable of more self- control. So now I’ve covered both sides of the coin.
OK, now I feel better! I’m just getting tired of seeing this dynamic at work in the third world, and it you see it everywhere here. ‘Nuff said.