The Ostrich Effect – a refusal to see unpleasant realities. This photo reminded me of my first cruise that included a stop at Montego Bay, Jamaica. As our tour bus drove through town, I saw many houses like this one, devastated Hurricane Matthew. Families still resided in these homes because the government continued to collect taxes on the property, even though the houses were uninhabitable. Repairs were made as time and money allowed. Its unfortunate that there are many people, like my two characters, who feel their vacation is ruined when faced with the reality of poverty that prevails in many of the Caribbean’s most popular tourist spots. Just read Cruise Critic Reviews from people who feel harassed by aggressive vendors. I could have just have easily named this piece, The Ugly American.
THE OSTRICH EFFECT
The old woman stared straight ahead as the tour bus drove through the indecorous side of town. Jamaica was not her favorite port-of-call, and if she had her way, they would have stayed on the ship.
“You would think there was a nicer route to the beaches.” She said. “I didn’t pay all that money to see….”
Her sentence unfinished, but her husband understood. The houses they passed were unlivable, with missing walls and half-a-roof. He knew the owners had no choice but to stay. He just wished he and his wife didn’t have to see it.
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this challenge and Sandra Crook for this week’s prompt.
13 thoughts on “The Ostrich Effect (Friday Fictioneers)”
I thought this was an excellent take on the prompt. Having travelled – and lived – in developing countries, this really resonated with me. Tourists like your characters exist and they make me very angry sometimes… although I sort of feel sorry for them too.
Susan A Eames at
Travel, Fiction and Photos
They miss some of the experience of being in a foreign country. It is a shame. Thanks for your comments, Susan
Poverty is something of a distraction, is it not, to the well-heeled tourists? This resonates beautifully. Nicely done.
Very much a distraction. Not an expected itinerary item. Thanks for your comment Sandra (and great photo)
Heaven forbid we see and acknowledge how the other half lives. I agree. This could have been called The Ugly American (or Tourist)
I am amazed how people can spend thousands on a cruise and balk at giving a few dollars to a local vendor. Thanks for your comments, Dale
That is sooo true…
Nice bit of social observation there. And they also have poverty tourism now where the wealthy can get a first hand experience of how the others live.
Hopefully they are taken in the right spirit. Thanks for your comments
A problem the world over where the rich descend on some of the poorest places for a vacation. Nicely observed.
Very true Iain.
Your title is perfect. Your story is evocative and well done.