Having spent most of my life in Costa Rica, T. Jefferson Parker's May 5 column, "Hell and High Water," didn't tell me anything new about the country. Rather, it told me more about Mr. Parker.
His characterization of my country as a place where driving is a "thrilling, hands-on, full-contact sport," "recommended only for those with an unquenchable death wish," and where "life is cheap, but cars are expensive," leaves me thinking that he spends most of his free time watching Sylvester Stallone movies and probably bashing illegal immigrants.
Despite what he might have us think, Costa Rica is not a place where only macho men like himself dominate the roads.
Carjackings, drive-by shootings, strangers shooting at each other on the freeway, a "slow lane" moving at 65 m.p.h.--these are things that characterize Southern California roads, though maybe Mr. Parker doesn't experience them in his Orange County cocoon.
The driving conditions he describes can be found in many places in the United States. Many rural roads in Colorado, Montana, even California, are probably worse than what he describes in Costa Rica.
Mr. Parker doesn't tell us anything worthwhile about the 10 days he spent in my country. The only thing he reveals is his arrogant and mean-spirited Stallone view of the "Third World," of anything that's not as controlled, segregated and antiseptic as his Orange County.
I hope you never go back to Costa Rica, Mr. Parker. I can tell you that you are definitely not welcome.
I wonder if The Times would have published this kind of stereotypical garbage in its L.A. edition.