A few weeks back I went to see the Wolf of Wall Street. After, on the drive home, it struck me how completely and utterly different that life was than mine. And while I figure most can probably say the same thing, I think if my life was shown on the big screen, most would also walk away from it feeling they'd seen something completely foreign to them. Growing up in a small, remote outport community in Newfoundland, to the majority of the world, would be like a National Geographic article. But when I was a child it was just the norm. Cutting cod tongues for money? It didn't occur to me that most of the world probably didn't even know what that even meant. It was not until I started working in the tourism industry as a teenager that I began to realize what others saw (not necessarily reality), and how intriguing and often magical my hometown was to them.
I was reminded of this in Chiasson's story as Andre, a Belizean drives around a bunch of Canadian university students. He delights in and contemplates the tourist perspective, even though he acknowledges that they don't see the darker realities. While cod tongues or dengue fever may not be universal, it's nice that some feelings are.
A few minor beefs. First, in Canada colorful is spelled with a u. Second, when Andre considers having his own tourist experience, he fantasizes about going to North America. Belize is a part of North America.
Quibbles aside, it's still a charming story.