Of my conversations, two were with angry men. Ostensibly they were angry for different reasons, but the root was the same – bureaucracy / corruption / ineptitude in Costa Rica. It’s a common thing, especially with non tico males, and at some point everyone experiences it. At some point everyone hates Costa Rica. The conversations happened at different times, and in different locations in the café, but strangely enough both decided to pour all their frustration and despair with nameless, faceless others into a spitting fury at truck drivers. There are a lot of truck drivers here, a new road is being made somewhere east, and there are a lot of big mack trucks ploughing up and down. Not juggernauts but sizeable, dust producing monsters. Both men were furious at the speed of “these 19 year old drivers”, who had “no respect for people”. A lot of venting happened, to which I listened quietly with interest. Because for me the experience is different. I’ve never had a truck speed by me, rather the trucks move so slowly behind and past me that I’m sure I must know the drivers. They creep along, can it be the same trucks? Must be. And then it dawned on me. I’m female. In this macho society where it makes sense to speed by the white guy on the bicycle with your huge, powerful engine spitting dust and smoke in his face, it makes equal sense to drive by the white girl slowly enough that you can watch her body move to push on the pedals, slowly enough that when they pass, one can get a good look at the big brave hombre who can handle such an intensely masculine monster. There’s no blurring of gender roles here.
5 weeks ago