Please join Mr. Peabody, Sherman and me for another ride in the “Way-Back Machine. Puerto Rico in the 1980’s, they estimated has a Town Festival somewhere out on the Island almost every day of the year. Some are bigger, and some are just better, but no matter, because a good time is to be had by one and all.
I had moved to a small house when I found that I could rent my Condo to tourists for 4 to 5 hundred dollars a week. I hired a friend who was a realtor and he took care of all the details of renting and cleaning and repairs, plus picking the folks up at the Airport and returning them at the end of their stay.
One Friday afternoon Francisco, (AKA Fito) caught me on the Beach and told me there was a slight problem with a pair of arriving renters. No one was available to pick them up at the airport that evening at 20:00. He explained that they were two middle aged ladies from Chicago, and gave me a sign with their names on it. I phoned my Night Club’s manager and told her she would have to open and I’d be in late.
He took the keys to my Lincoln Town Car and had one of his employees wash and waxed it for me and they returned it just before the trip to San Juan., hey, who was I picking up, Mayor Daily sisters?
Both ladies were pleased to be on the Island, and liked being picked up in a Town Car. They seemed quite pleasant and I asked if they would like to take the Beach road to the Condo, as there was a Festival on the way and we could stop and be introduced to Puerto Rico Culture from the git go. They liked that idea and little did I know the night I was in for. When we stopped there was Salsa Music blaring, hundreds of people dancing, food and beverages everywhere, and now I have two missing passengers. Whom I found swilling rum and cokes and dancing with everybody, plus they had no desire to continue the trip. 05:00 and I found my fellow revelers’ by my car napping against a Coconut Palm. I explained the dangers of falling coconuts.
I got them to the Condo at 08:00 and settled them in, went home and took a nap, and at noon I was on the beach again. Fito found me and he was quite upset, he had spoken to the two ladies and they told him what a great time they had, at the Fiesta. Paul, what did you do? They are two Carmelite Nuns from Chicago here on vacation, they Shouln’t be drinking and dancing the night away. I grinned and said, you didn’t tell me, and they didn’t tell me that they were nuns (Gone Wild). So I asked; “Did they have a good time?” Fito said; “Well, I think they did.” By the way they were in my Night Club for most of the two weeks they were visiting. (They had asked that I not mention that they were Sisters from the Order of Saint Joseph. I smiled and said: “I won’t, but I will after your gone but not until then.”
Paul! What’s that got to do with the Philippines? Well a lot really, as there is a parallel between here and there, they both were colonized by the Spanish and have similar traditions. So with that being said; Monday I received a call from my friends further down the road in Pita Dinalupihan Bataan, Mike and Ely Friedberg were inviting us to a Barangay Festival on Wednesday evening in the tiny hamlet of San Bonito, yes still Dinalupihan. They had also invited my neighbors Don and Anita Bullock (All by the way, loyal readers of LiP). Plus we were joined by Mike’s friend Bill and his bride Ruby.
Off to San Bonito to partake in the fun and games, they’ll be no pictures as I neglected to bring a camera, so I’ll try to paint a word picture. First we stopped at Mike’s wife’s relatives (A cousin, nephew or something like that) named Danny. They very nice and hospitable people who welcomed the three extra Kano’s into their house as if we belonged, and within a minute or two I found that we did belong, as they made us feel that way. The required eating of foods was the first order of business, after introductions, and odd looks by the youngsters that were there. San Benito is a rural rice growing area, and Kano’s are not that common there. I had been there in the past as a friend of mine from a couple of ship’s we had road together, had grown up there.
The narrow streets were lined on both sides with kiosks hawking everything one would need to enjoy the fiesta, items like China made tools, household items such as pots and pans and flatware. As we wandered from Danny’s house towards the “Fair” grounds we saw more and more hawkers selling more very odd items, but I found one guy selling pop corn hot from the blow torch he was using, and it was good.
At the “Fair” grounds there were many games of chance, and one noisy rattletrap looking carnival ride that was 30 years past its expiration date. Like a tilt a whirl on tracks. We gave it a pass as none of us were over served. But the games of chance, we all had to make a donation to the carnival workers college fund.
At 20:30 Mayang and I left for home after thanking our host and hostess for opening their lovely home to us and the great foods we had. It was a nice evening with pleasant company. My camera will be with me in the future, unless I forget it again. Oh the rest stayed enjoyed the evening, but Mayang had a need to get home and see our Grandson. Me, I would have been fine seeing him the following morning, but as I’ve said in the past; “I never spit into the wind.”
Paul Thompson; Resides in the Philippines, close to Subic Bay. He is married to the wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang). Our to daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen (AKA Ling-ling). Our youngest is living in Singapore, enjoying her life's adventure. I'm a retired Senior Chief from the U.S. Navy after 21 years. Post Navy he lived 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. After Hurricane Hugo told him to find a new line of work, he was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. Then after 30 years at sea he buried his anchor in the Philippines residing now in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt Bataan where he build his home. And last but not least, anything he writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek" if anybody is offended, He'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!