Ponce, Puerto Rico
Lecheron restaurants line either side of the narrow, winding street, their windows displaying golden-crusted, impaled porkers turning slowly over gas flames. In between the restaurants, stalls sell pina coladas and icecream, and tourist tat ranging from San Juan snow domes to blow up smurfs.
Extended families come from as far away as San Juan to make a day of it, enjoy the carnival atmosphere and generally eat, drink and be merry. The street chokes with cars and motor bikes and people, from pig-tailed kids to heavily tattooed bikies and Goths to grandparents – and of course, there are the ubiquitous acres of bouncing fluoro lycra.
There’s no such thing in this country as ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ (or pork chop as piglet, as the case may be!) – no matter what age you are, buy your clothes three sizes too small – that’s why they’re made of stretch fabric. Wear the highest shoes you can manage and BLING IS BETTER!!!
Christine, John’s wife, flew in from New York this morning – John picked her up in San Juan and joined us back in Guavate.
We were the only gringos in town and we had a really fun day with the locals – who laughed and joked with us (in Spanglish) and included us in their exuberant embrace.
We stood in the crowd at the edge of the dance floors, watching the locals merengue, bachata and salsa (the oldies cutting the rug with considerable more panache than the youngsters!), and cheered on the sixty-ish woman who could shake her booty with a force and flamboyance that could buff concrete, as she played to the audience, especially the appreciative gringa in the corner (yours truly).
Late in the afternoon, we drove back through the pine forest on the winding downhill road with bellies full of pig and Caribbean rhythms thrumming in our heads.
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