I believe I have found where I wouldn't mind living next.
Oh, yeah, baby, this is real estate on the WATER. A cruise ship of condos! She's called The Magellean. And while I think it's a pretty cool name, I bet that Magellan would probably not think so. I don't imagine one has to worry about the dangers of scurvey on this boat!
Here's a layout for you! This little baby is The Portofino. It is 3,147 square feet, including the deck and the "sun pit"! Four bedrooms, four and a half baths! I think it's one of the penthouses.
I couldn't find the pricing on this particular unit. It's probably too expensive to list! The prices they have listed are a few mill through eight mill. And that doesn't include a hefty (up to a quarter of a mill) "annual assessment". The ship has all those amenities you come to expect from a place you like to call home. A portable marina. A heliport with two helicopters. Pools. Theaters. Restaurants. And three hundred ports of call. Oh, you can also consider partial ownership, where, for mere hundreds of thousands of dollars you can share this residence with 11 others and live in it for a month out of a year. Sort of like a time share on steroids, doncha think?
I cannot even imagine having that sort of disposable income.
Look…there's a circular staircase from the main level up to the sundeck, where there's a jacuzzi…
I don't have a problem with wealth, wealth is good. But I do think that those who are blessed financially should give generously. And many do. It is said that 95% of the people own 5% of the stuff, and 5% of the people own 95% of the stuff. I imagine I fall into the 5% category. This summer I will be sharing my life with 95%ers. I can't make explanations or excuses why some have more than others. The reasons are probably different depending on about whom you are speaking. But I think I have been blessed by the hand of God directly.
The first time I went on Teen Missions I was, if you might remember, 16 years old. And while I had seen plenty of America by then (as we drove across the land on a regular basis as a family in one VW bus or another), it was my first time out of the country. I didn't know anything about Haiti before I went, except that it was in the Caribbean, so I had visions of sugary white beaches and turquoise waters in my head. The vision was shattered by what was before my eyes when we got there.
We entered Haiti through the capital city, Port-au-Prince. In the hills above the city you can see huge white mansions. The city itself is comprised of crumbling buildings, lean-to's, and shanties made of tin and cardboard. I remember asking our missionary what the houses looked like that weren't in the slums. Except for the mansions, most of the city was a slum.
My pictures from Haiti are 35mm prints. I tried to take digital pictures of them to upload, but they didn't turn out. The above picture was obtained from the link shown. This house is not atypical. There is no running water, no indoor plumbing. All along the streets there are cripples begging. I call them cripples instead of the americo-centric politically correct terms of "disabled, other-abled, or handicapped" as in Haiti, if you are infirm, there's nothing for you to do except beg. It's a tragedy, (and it probably is a practice that still continues), but crippled children can make more begging from westerners than healthy adults can make, and mothers sometimes purposely cripple their children in infancy so that they can be sent out to beg.
We stayed about 15 or 20 kilometers outside of P-a-P on a missionary compound. We slept in school rooms (school was out for the summer). We were out of the city, and though diluted by space, the poverty was still in your face. The village children would come to watch us work each day. We got to know some of them. There was one young boy named Franc, who was 12. Franc was fluent in creole (the local patois version) as well as in french and in english. I spoke some french back then, and Franc and I became friends. He acted as interpreter between us americans and the local haitian kids. He was bright, and funny, and handsome. I told him "you're going to be very successful someday". Though he almost always wore the same clothes, his clothes were always clean, and looked as though he had pressed them with his hands. He didn't look like the face of poverty. He looked like the face of hope. I think he wanted to believe that he'd be be successful in this country of his that held little in the way of opportunity. I often wondered what happened to the boy with the shining face.
In the evenings we'd sometimes climb the ladder to the top of the missionary's house where we were building a second story. We could see the harbor in the distance. And in the harbor we could see the lights of cruise ships. And, as we looked out over a land where children were lucky if they had one outfit to wear everyday, and out over a land where farmers scraped out a liviing with a single hoe, and out over a land where children had bloated bellies and rust tinged hair from malnutrition, and out over a land where just outside the president's palace was a city whose sewers were open, we couldn't help but think of those people on the cruise ship. And we could only hope that they weren't only experiencing the big white mansions in the hillsides, but the shanties down in the city.
It would be sad if they were.