Cleveland and Spence

At the Villa Roca resort on Manuel Antonio we met a friendly mixed-race gay couple from Washington, D.C., Spencer and Cleveland. They have been together for over 35 years and were legally married a few years ago.

I asked them whether they were married in the District of Columbia, since that was one of the first jurisdictions in the United States to extend the right of marriage to same-sex couples. Cleveland responded that they had not, but instead that they elected to get married in Maryland (I think he said Calvert County, or perhaps it was Charles County). “I wanted to get married in a slave state,” Cleveland said with a grin.

We had several friendly conversations with Cleveland and Spence during our stay at the Villa Roca, mostly at breakfast by the pool. They showed us a photo of their house in D.C. after the recent record snowstorm, with more than two feet of snow piled up in their yard. But they were looking forward to getting home anyway, despite the warmth and beauty of the tropical setting in Manuel Antonio. They were homesick.

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Our Patio at Villa Roca

On their last morning in Manuel Antonio, Spence and Cleveland were dressed for travel, wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts. They were leaving for the little local airport in Quepos after breakfast. They were scheduled to arrive home in Washington late that night, after midnight.

In our final conversation with them, Cleveland told us that he hoped our travels around the world would serve to deepen and strengthen our relationship as a couple. It was a heartfelt and much appreciated wish, offered as send-off from a kind and good natured person. I note it here because I want to remember it and dedicate our sojourn in the year ahead to this aspiration.

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Manuel Antonio Beach Selfie

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