jueves, 10 de noviembre de 2011

The Shoe is on the other foot...

So, for all the noise about immigration in the United States, a question to ponder:  what if, all of a sudden, you found yourself in what you would consider to be exactly the opposite position?  What if you found yourself surrounded by "exotic" surroundings, foods, smells, architecture, languages, culture?  What would it be like if you woke up one morning and nearly everything you had packed away as "the way things are" had suddenly been yanked out of the forefront of your reality into the background?  Five days into that experience (without proper photos, I regret), I begin sharing that right about...NOW.

I'm staying at the most laconic spot in all of Isla Verde, Villamar, San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Barefoot in the lobby is cool.  The high temperature is 87...every day...without deviance.  Conspiracy theorists about weather control...tighten your tinfoil hats!  Some days it rains with the most delicious sounds...you can look at the radar and see a huge blotch of green cover the entire Island.  They don't do a flash flood warning..,.it's an Aviso de Inundaciones...yep, your roads are about to be inundated by a big ol' bunch of water!  There's a local frog here, the Coqui, named for its sound (ko-KEE!).  It's rather high pitched and sounds like a Bobwhite kinda.  Which oddly enough, I had been thinking about in the weeks prior to my departure.  (When's the last time I head one?  Can't recall...).  So now, the Coqui calls at night with almost the same fervor as tree frogs in Louisiana, without the insistence.  The Coqui has a sweet song, not a song that just reminds you of how hot it is.

So, back to the shoe on the other foot.  I guess when a Latino comes to the United States, it must be pretty hard.  You speak Spanish...a little English...and everyone around you speaks some kind of English, but virtually NO Spanish.  Here, almost EVERYONE speaks pretty darn good English, especially in Isla Verde, cuz it's kinda tourist-y.  I've met maybe...3...people who don't really speak much English.  So the American version of "bilingual" (which I had quite the rep for) is LAME compared to the Puertorriqueno version.  Makes it a little tough on the job front for me...but every day I wake up is a chance to fight another day.  So far, so good.

Oddly enough, the other language I run into (and thought I had FORGOTTEN) is French.  I've had to use it more times than I would've thought, particularly with newcomers to the hotel.  Once I can stutter my way past thinking in Spanish, I actually remember the stuff; even walked a family to the closest restaurant, because no one else could tell them anything!

Here we are on AST time.  When you hear 9, 8 central...that means it will be on TV here at 10.  So when it's 10 here, it's 9 EST, 8 CST and 7 MST.  And they NEVER change the clock an hour forward or an hour back.  I've tried to get up to see the sunrise, but it's already in the office by 6:00am.  It's dark by 6 too, which makes my diurnal clock start to fade around 9.  Not exactly the life of the party.

I did better last night.  Went to La Plazarita in Santurce with Ismael, Cari, Gian, Rafa, Genesis and Natasha.  She just came in from Slovenia and hadn't even been on the island 20 hours...and off to the restaurant with her!  Young people get all the breaks.  The first day I was here, Wendell wanted to go to the beach, but it was like "Take the T-5 and then make a transfer until you get to the train station Parada Corazon and then we'll txt you on how to get here".  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

OK - enough for the moment.  Lisa told me to blog about the whole thing and, true to my nature, I'm late getting started.  But LOOK, I DID IT!  And so now I'll keep up with it.  Great suggestion!  More later.  Luvs and bye.