Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Friday, February 15, 2008

"Do you think that maybe we do live at the centre of the universe?" I asked Ellen, not expecting an answer.
No matter where our travels take us, at least once during every trip we come across people who simply don't like us. And it's not the dreaded Communist Chinese, the non-Christian Moroccans or the impoverished Nicaraguans who hate us so. It's the friendly, peace-loving folks from the Great White North - the Canadians.

Last week a young Vancouver threesome moved into the bottom half of our beach house. They'd just arrived in Costa Rica and had stopped Ellen on her way to the beach to ask her about a good place to eat. The 'where are you froms' didn't occur until the end of the conversation. When Ellen told them she was from Toronto, the two males of the group looked at their shoes, while the young woman tried to find a bird in some far off palm tree.

A bit later I bumped into them. They didn't know that Ellen and I were together.
After ten or fifteen minutes of talking about sea turtles and volcanoes, the young woman said "Were from Canada, Vancouver".
"Really." I replied. "Im from Montreal." I smiled slyly at her and then continued. "But I don't speak French."
She smiled back approvingly.

The BCers left the following morning and room was rented to an older French couple from outside Montreal. The Quebecers had seen Ellen and me spending time with a couple from Massachusetts; they may have thought we were American. Later in the day I was having a jolly good conversation with the Quebecers; then I decided to get daring, truthful. I told them I was from Toronto.
The smiling man looked at me and said simply "Oh." then turned his back and started talking to his wife. I wanted to say that I was raised Irish-Catholic. Tell him that the English had done bad things to me too. Call him brother. But the words escaped me. I bowed my head and walked off to the beach.

It was just over a year ago, in Fiji, that a fellow from Vancouver told Ellen and I that Torontonians think they're from the centre of the universe. Here in Costa Rica, I wonder. How could we be so despised if were not at least close.
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