Thursday, August 8, 2013


As this photo taken a hours ago from the street in front of my apartment shows, I live very close to The Veneto Hotel and Casino, which is now gaining worldwide attention because of its indirect connection to a top celebrity.
Here's one story from the NY Post

I posted this reaction yesterday on the Panama Forum Yahoo Group:
Obviously the reporters writing all the stories about the Veneto now that it famously is featured in reports about its co-owner being the husband whose wife Simon Cowell got pregnant, haven't been to the hotel or Panama itself. A colorful tourist attraction in its own right, the parade of prostitutes at the casino bar, and interspersed throughout the slot machines on any given night, is a huge draw for the hotel. A large majority of its guests are American men who come specifically because of the Columbian hookers (hardly any other nationalities       are represented). 

No one knows how many men have the Veneto as their main Rest and Recreation destination, but it is a significant and highly profitable number--both for the hotel and the "working girls." And sex is not the only commodity readily available--many men, visitors and expats and locals, enjoy just chatting with the women, who are friendly, never obnoxiously hustling, and often movie star gorgeous. The Veneto is the premiere destination in the world for men who want to fulfill their Sofia Vergara fantasies.
Despite all the references to the many breast and butt enhanced hookers hanging out at The Veneto in newspapers around the world, I couldn't find any photos of the subjects. Perhaps this is because, like most casinos in the world, The Veneto frowns on picture-taking on the premises. However, not being known for obeying rules, I managed a couple of candid shots on the casino floor.
 I must confess here that I thoroughly enjoy the nightly Parade of Professionals at The Veneto. I haven't personally partaken of the goods for sale, but friends have. 

These men tell me that their experiences are always relaxed and respectful, and they get the feeling that the Colombianas really like pleasing them, in all sorts of ways. Perhaps we should assume that all Colombian girls are raised to be superb actresses, little mini-Sofia Vergaras, with warmth and a great sense of humor. But back in California, a young Colombian friend of mine told me that she and all girls in Colombia are trained from an early age to serve men--that this is the way to true happiness. 

We could get into a long discussion about whether this is sexist and just plain wrong, but we have to first deal with the reality that adult Colombian women are not going to change this deeply imbedded cultural attitude. My own observations have informed me that these "working girls," (and it also seems to be true for many Colombianas with normal jobs, termed "civilians" by the hookers)  look and sound and seem happier than a lot of women I know in the U.S. who are independent and consider that every relationship has to be an equal partnership. 

I'm not recommending this outlook and approach to any woman anywhere. My own preference is to be with a strong-willed woman who is completely in charge of her own life and is not here to take care of me. This way of life, however, doesn't always lead to happiness. In fact, I have personally found that the happiest connections I have with a woman come about when I am committed to, and willing to, give her everything she wants. 

It certainly is not just about sex, though one very successful frequent visitor from the U.S., a charmingly pleasant man who has three ex-wives, recently told me he frequents the women at the Veneto for the simple and stress-free reason that, "They always say 'Yes!'" 

As a seminar leader and self-help author, I can't help thinking that these "working girls," which is their favorite way to describe themselves, have a lot to teach us. Maybe a seminar and/or a book with a title something like, The Wisdom of Panama's Hookers. They have a lot of information not available to most men and women living in more sophisticated societies. But this will take a great deal more Spanish proficiency on my part to discover. What a nice incentive to begin to hablo espanol.  

Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy the scenery at The Veneto. My title for this post comes from the fact that I see it as a collection of beautiful and colorful flowers. And like any great botanical garden, you don't have to pluck a flower and take it home to enjoy the experience.      Jerry

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