This weekend was the annual Costa Maya Festival in San Pedro. Since I had never been, one of the organizers decided to make me a judge – thus guaranteeing my presence for one of the nights. I was pleasantly surprised – particularly because I'm not a fan of beauty contests. We judged eight beautiful candidates from Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Mexico – all Latin America. I had assumed they all would be physically fit and basically brain dead. I was correct about the fitness and wrong about their intellects. In every case they were bright, articulate and ambitious – although access to a cell phone and mascara was more of a priority in life than I thought necessary. In every case, they saw this contest as one step on their way to achieving success in fields as diverse as law, engineering and dentistry. Early in life, each had learned that in this Latin culture, no one pays attention to a woman unless she is sexually attractive. If she can get attention by her physical presence, then she can achieve what she actually wants to do with her brain. These women are playing that game very well. I think that's clever and admirable.