I rent a car to explore what is—according to several glossy magazines—one of the world’s finest retirement havens. The flowers are lovely in the countryside.

In front of a grand house a tall balding man is yelling at his gardener, his ponytail swinging back and forth as he waves his arms.

Down the road, I pass a row of tin-roofed huts next to a river where women are washing clothes. Their men sit nearby, sharpening machetes. The hillside is fragrant with coffee blooms.

Back at the hotel, I can tell you, the coffee is fine.




Barry Basden lives in the Texas hill country. He edits Camroc Press Review and is coauthor of Crack! and Thump: With a Combat Infantry Officer in World War II. His shorter work has been published widely, both online and in print. His latest flash collection is Wince.