On my solo trip to Costa Rica, because of a storm in Dallas, I ended up spending 18 hours in Miami. Flying into the city I saw for the first time a vast swath of city, canals or reservoirs, precariously set two inches above sea level.
I decided to fill my time by taking the $2 “Flyer” bus to South Beach.
Standing in the crowded bus I chatted with a seated 70 year old pink button down New Yorker/Miami resident.
I asked him if he had any places he and his daughter? (nope, girlfriend) recommended in South Beach.
In a loud, but friendly voice he asks, “Well are you GAY?”.
He gave me a kind of psychic whiplash and perhaps better understood how my British relatives might experience me.
Careening along the highway I peered over my shoulder at the driver who was accelerating across 3 lanes onto the highway ramp, one hand holding a yellow bag of Lay’s potato chips.
Mr Button Down said “Don’t look!!”.
He asked where I was headed and we talked about Costa Rica where he once worked. I explained I wasn’t staying in a hotel he exclaimed, “Oh my GOD you are backpacking!” as if that were the most ridiculous idea someone could think up.
“The Latinos in Costa Rica are good. Not like here. IGNORANT.”
My jaw dropped.
Half the packed bus was Latino. Including a sophisticated looking guy sitting next to him whom I guessed was an architect.
He added for my comfort: “The police in Costa Rica, they’ll put you in line. I like law and order.”.
Despite the ridiculousness of the conversation, and my total inefficacy in the face of racist comments, I still get a kick out of the “in your face” aspect of Americans.
Here’s an ad from the bus. Oy.
Asi es acqui.