That’s a great feeling, but don’t lose your good sense in the original bliss.“Yeah, don’t lose your good sense. She’ll be charming and gently aggressive, in a way you only wish the women back home would be. She’s not going to ask you for any money, not right away. The tourist board is much more enthusiastic about their beaches, rain forests, and volcanoes, and the country’s official slogan—no artificial ingredients—would seem to have nothing at all to do with picking up prostitutes in bars.Get a seat—one of the hightops by the bar rail is open. “Take your time, be selective, and get to know the seem to enjoy being around you. The best ones make you forget they’re even prostitutes, make you think you’ve stumbled into the greatest singles’ bar in the world. True, every horny American who comes down here is renting a hotel room, eating in restaurants, probably drinking, maybe gambling, and definitely paying the departure tax on his way out; at least some of the money he’s spending on sex goes back into the local economy.“You can enjoy the private company of South American women who can satisfy even the most active imagination in one of the world’s great adult travel vacation destinations for men,“ the Bendricks Web site says.(The company won’t say how many men they take down each year.
There are TVs bolted to the walls and tuned to sports channels, because this is ostensibly a sports bar, and there are fish—stuffed fish, carved fish, and sculpted fish—mounted above the liquor shelves and dangling from the ceiling, because the “World Famous“ Blue Marlin is also ostensibly a fisherman’s bar, even though it’s hours away from any place where you might actually catch a fish.
They’ve got the bar surrounded three deep, and most of the tables are gone, too.—Christ, there’s a lot of them. A hundred brown eyes turn on you the second you walk through the door, trying to catch your attention before you even get past the security guard with the metal detector, like you’re Brad Pitt or something. “San José: the very best place in the world to get laid, I am convinced,“ an aficionado who calls himself La Muerte (literally, Death) wrote a few years back in one of the bajillion or so field reports that pop up when you search “Costa Rica sex“ on the Internet. There’s Key Largo and Atlantis and all the other bars, and the strip clubs that hang billboards—THE NEW NIGHT CLUB KUMAR: OH, YES!
Black girls and brown girls and beige girls and even a couple of white girls, brunet and blond and redheaded and skinny and chubby and tall and short and stacked and not-as-stacked, and every one of them single. When’s the last time that happened at the Bennigan’s in Parsippany? Even then, in 2001, the Blue Marlin was legendary among a certain sort of gringo tourist—the sort who likes a wide selection of pretty, inexpensive women in a safe place where the bartenders speak their language. —in English along the highway from the airport, and the street corners and parks parceled out by gender and age and fetish.
Also, it’s a gringo joint: There’s a crinkled American flag, like the ones newspapers printed after September 11, taped to one wall, and dozens of shoulder patches, left behind by American cops and firemen, tacked up behind the bar—San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Boynton Beach, Waynesboro, a hundred other little towns you’ve never heard of.
Eleven o’clock on a Monday morning during the Costa Rican rainy season and it’s all white boys at the bar, eight of them, except for one wobbly local named Fernando that the security guys keep trying to pour out the door.