A Little Like Deadwood, Without the Cussin'
Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
301Trip End Ongoing
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Tourism has been good for some small business' in Costa Rica. It's the only place in Latin America where you can get a $3.00 meal for eight bucks. And not surprisingly, because of this, the free-spending northerners have unwittingly created a thriving new enterprise - theft. According to the English-language Tico Times, robberies, which I take to include petty theft, have increased by 700% since 1990.
North American women take to the streets in dresses with puffy, sometimes blue-coloured hair, while men clad in short pants, often wear long, black socks and white shoes. Those without puffy hair, often wear Tilley-type, pseudo jungle hats. Some of them even bring their pet dogs with them to the beach, where wild mongrels roam freely. Marc, the owner of Marc's Place, apparently got himself into some nasty trouble recently when one of his six hounds of Hades got loose and killed someone's small pet dog.
Last week, a shopkeeper in a town south of here, was robbed and suffered a gunshot wound in the fray. Police were called, but never came. Foreign business owners have formed vigilate groups in an attempt to bring thieves to justice. But prisons are filled to capacity so the courts give petty-level crime low priority. Foreign business folk watch their investments deplete as thieves walk free. Recently, criminal culprit beatings by vigilantes has been reported.
Costa Rica is a land with little law and less infrastructure. Over time the ever increasing North American horde, looking down at the sea from their massive hill-side villas and condos will change this. But it will not likely happen in the lifetimes of the ones that are here now.