Welcome to the Jungle

Please gather ‘round ladies and gentleman, urgent introductions are in order.  These mesmerizing characters have unfortunately been left out of your vacation brochures.  They are, The Beach side Wanderers.  Their weather worn feet are more accustomed to sifting through hot sand, than walking on pavement.  When it’s too hot for anything but swimming and drinking, they bear the heat day and night working for survival in the jungle.  Bracelets every color of the rainbow adorn her tiny little body placed there in the hopes of catching your purchasing eye. While it registers in your head how old this child is she asks, “What is your favorite color?”  Her nimble fingers ready to satisfy each and every possible request.  The innocence in her eyes grotesquely overshadowed by a premature adult like quality that should only have set in many, many years from now.  Winding her way through the aisles of bamboo beach chairs she absorbs one too many images of begging land mine amputees, while her stomach’s only concern is finding some form of sustenance.  Dirty finger nails, matted hair, and a clearly irresistible smile. It is said that buying the precious jewels this child sells will only encourage her to stay out of school.  I just want to see her put down all of the bracelets and go play.  His eyes are on every table as he drags his plastic bag full of cans along with him.  When the beach is crowded he has to move his small legs around very quickly to be able to pick up every single one.  He always finds time to watch the cheap fireworks go off and the cool fire jugglers scattered around different sections of the beach.  Just one more can and his bag will be full. He lingers around the tables crowded with people while playing with one of his friends.  Just one more can and his bag will be full.  Just one more can and he will get to go home.  She is the belle of this ball, offering your business trip or too short vacation the kind of sex you always wanted to have with your wife.   She laughs at all your jokes and makes you look really good long after your first day back at the office.  Who would she like to be kissing tonight?  My guess would not be some middle aged, fat, filthy foreigner she’s never going to see again.  “Massage?”  “Pedicure or manicure?”  “Maybe later?” She repeats in broken English countless times every day.  On a good day, she’s proud of how much money she made and how good she’s getting at giving women pretty pink toe nails.  Time flies as she chats with the other women selling an array of fruit, peanuts, and crispy fried shell fish.  On a good day, the sun is out and everyone is smiling.  On a bad day, she hasn’t made any money and the sight of these familiar, friendly, desperate faces is just too much for her.

F.

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