Aug

12

A Tapestry, from Duncan Coker

August 12, 2009 |

DGCMy bride and I recently returned from a visit to a musical Caribbean location, the name of which rhymes with a large brass musical instrument.  It was quite an eye opener. Among other things it reaffirmed the importance of so many of the ideals spoken about on this site, like personal freedoms, private property rights, freedom of movement and employment.  How dramatically life changes if even one is taken away! Simple tasks like booking travel in country are simply impossible or involve many black-market channels and considerable risk.  An unauthorized drive in a car can result in jail time for a local. Blue and green clad officials adorn nearly every street corner in the capital city. There is no ownership or credit.  Cars and houses are grandfathered from 50 years ago. There are shortages for everything.

But in front of all this and in the streets is the constant sound of music, and a tapestry of movement and life. Rhythm and art are woven into this culture and they do thrive. Creative methods to circumvent the system are adopted by all as well. The small businessman is emerging.  Private dinner clubs, hotels and other services are allowed in limited numbers and are the best-paying enterprises.  There are plenty of unlicensed businesses as well who take on even more risk in order to be entrepreneurs. The health and education are very good for those who have practical access. But afterward there are no opportunities to apply those skills. So you have PhD Botanists giving rainforest walking tours, microbiologists explaining historic sights, doctors and scientists arranging travel plans.  The government jobs surprisingly are the worst place to work, with very low pay. So no one wants to work there.  One does not sense government corruption but rather paranoia and massive inefficiency.  A 50th anniversary passes with barely a notice.  Signs of a famous Argentine are ubiquitous. But movement and desires of the populous is admirable. There is no island mentality here and things do get done despite the handicaps. There is desire for change on all fronts.


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