Sunday, January 5, 2014
I find myself walking along the side of the highway--an unbusy stretch, exits to Mayagüez, San Juan, and the Plaza del Caribe mall. That’s where I’m going, as the cars pass, none of them slowing, as they have in some other places I’ve lived, to offer me a ride.
Still, it’s not so much culture shock as unexpected enthusiasm. The “first world” is new again. After a couple of years away it suddenly all looks good again--the smart phones, the cars, TJ Maxx.
Here, along the highway verge, are odd castoffs from that world. Plastic bags with chicken bones, broken beer bottles, an occasional high-heeled sandal. A couple of those paper lanterns that achieve liftoff thanks to a candle, crashed down among leggy cotton plants, their soft spilling tufts sticking out of birds’ nests.