So, here’s a funny (ha-ha or strange, I haven’t decided) story from my trip to Oregon:
I was at Breitenbush Hot Springs on Halloween. It’s a natural hot springs located in the Cascades just east of the state capital, Salem. It’s owned by an “intentional community”, or, as they used to be called back in my childhood, a hippie commune.
The community takes care of everything: they maintain the hot pools, clean the lodge and cabins, take reservations, give massages, lead exercise and yoga classes, cook all the meals (They provide three squares a day to their guests, and they’re delicious, vegetarian and all organic. I even bought the official cookbook.), provide security and in general do everything that a resort open to the public requires. Naturally, they lend a New Agey-kind of feel to the place and attract a lot of like-minded individuals as guests.
Anyway, I was relaxing in one of the hot pools Halloween night, watching their annual bonfire in the distance, when a older heavyset woman wearing a turban walked up the path for a soak. She disrobed, got in the pool with me, and we struck up a conversation. She has a new boyfriend. She was trekking through the Peruvian Amazon earlier this year when she and her guide, a local Jivaro Indian named Lobo, fell in love.
Lobo is apparently a shaman of his tribe. He guides outsiders down the Amazon in his spare time. She says he’s divorced now, and supporting his ex-wife and four children on his income as a guide. He’s also twenty years younger than his new American girlfriend. She’s already sent him hundreds of dollars through the mail (he needed a new boat, among other things), and is planning on selling nearly everything she has here in America so she can shack up with Lobo in the jungle.
Lobo has told her he has no intention of giving up his first wife and their children, and in fact brought them along when he met her at a local Peruvian motel for their first intimate encounter. The wife and kids stayed in another room.
The new Mrs. Lobo, as I like to think of her, sees no potential problems with this romance. She’s fine with sharing Lobo and wants to provide the extra income for the whole family. Frankly, she’s surprised a younger man would be in love with her like this and was pleased to note that, according to Lobo, he “fantasizes” about her all the time. Most importantly, she isn’t troubled by his refusal to travel to the U.S. to meet her adult daughter and other family and friends.
Now, far be it from me to criticize anyone else’s misguided love affairs. Lord knows there’s probably a Lobo in my future, given my sketchy taste in men. But am I alone in thinking there’s something rotten in the jungle?