I cried a lot. I wanted to know how the locals walked up and down mountain roads every single day of their lives to catch a ride to work. Or, how women carried such heavy baskets of fruits and vegetables on their heads. Or, how a man who was missing his left leg, pushed himself up the mountain road while in a wheelchair. He was old, or rather he looked old and worn out when I saw him. He had no shoes on his feet and very little clothing on his body. And no one, including my husband and I stopped to give him a ride.
Every day locals tried to sell us their goods, be it necklaces, fruit, molasses, or baskets woven out of palm fronds. Some days we said yes and listened to their stories. Other times we politely said, "No thank you." But for most, selling wares such as these was the bane of their existence. We did see people with higher paying jobs, but mostly we saw and experienced locals wanting to earn their living by providing a simple service for you. For $2 American dollars I will be your tour guide they'd say. Or I will find you a taxi. Or a parking space.
Real life collides with tropical paradise. Too often in America, only the homeless fit our comfortable definition of the poor. Or those who can only afford a single-wide trailer on a tiny piece of land. My eyes have been opened and I am still seeing the man in his wheelchair, slowly pushing himself up the side of a mountain in paradise. More thoughts to come.