Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's a Wrap

Just to remind you (and me): the whole reason for going to San Juan/Santurce was for the March Against Monsanto. We march. We protest, we sign petitions, we write letters, we make calls. But in the last couple of days, a situation has come up that will be incredibly important to the US in a number of aspects, one being its collected small voices against Monsanto, raising the level and the pitch of the conversation; Monsanto is the one who 'engineered' it, ironically enough. A situation that will effect our country economically, the state of Oregon specifically which can be read about here. And now, back to the fun parts!

Marching for anything works up a thirst and while some have to do with water from a canteen in a desert, we were incredibly fortunate to be able to mosey down the blue cobbled streets of Old San Juan and slip into an old bar there, wetting our whistles with beverages of choice.

Such a great bar!
Sitting across the street, at one of a few tables perched above the barrio / neighborhood of La Perla, we could watch the world of Old San Juan go by. Sometimes that world came to us as old friends of Peri's stopped to chat, including Serena; with her, we didn't have to explain what we were doing there.

Hi Serena!
This is a street full of made and broken dreams, a street full of windows that have watched warships and yachts and strollers and fighters. This day, it was a street of peace, great people watching, laughter. It was even the saint day of Baby Jesus. How peaceful can you get? Ok, maybe that's not such a good example.

How it looked when we got there (I was really trying for a photo of the rooster)

  I had it explained to me that each 'shrine' for lack of the proper word, would be adorned with hundreds, nay, thousands of flowers. Whatever saint was having his or her day would be displayed, along with lots and lots of mini statues, which would be given away at the end of the...the end of this. I'd never heard of this and it doesn't happen on Culebra, at least not in this grandiose fashion. This particular work would be in honor of the woman in the photograph, a much beloved member of the neighborhood passed on. I liked her face, strong, wry, strong.

For some reason, many Baby Jesus in a box struck me as...oddly poignant in a semi-hilarious way. 

By the time we were ready to leave a lot of work had been done. You could say we spent about 4 floral displays, 20 or so Baby Jesus' and 30 votives worth of time at the table. I could only imagine how gorgeous it would be when they finished, but we didn't get to see it all done. Maybe next year, now that I know about it. I would love to see the others too.

The building next to this one, no, no, the other side, the one that's torn down, the one that isn't there anymore; the one with the dolls hanging off of it. We the uninitiated, which meant me and Mariel, got to hear the story of Papa Perla, the man who, in his day, was sort of the father of La Perla, the one who fixed and settled and soothed things, the one who started the dolls hanging on the wall, by way of a convoluted exchange that ended up with him being given one doll. Soon, it became a 'thing', a doll for the wall. But times change, the abandoned building and its by then hundreds (yes hundreds) of dolls came down. Then someone started putting up these stickers of toys, representations of a gone by time. I like it, it feels so neighborhoody.

Does anyone ever get tired of these blue cobble stones?

Sunset came and it was time to head down the road for where we'd lay our happy smiling heads
The moon was full, the view was different and beautiful too

A coqui came inside and sang to us - the luck was good

This was one of the most interesting homes I've been in for a long time. Everywhere I looked my eyes were delighted.

There was even a wee fireplace!

Sunrise on the big island

I admit it. I lust after this kitchen. If it wasn't perfect, I'm not the one to ask why.

This is a piece rescued from the street after a well known artist's (Marta Perez) death. Anyone who knows two of my collector passions of sea glass and buttons (there is only one other one, I'm not the crazy hoarder lady, I promise) or just anyone who appreciats the offbeat whimsy of life would have fallen in love with this just as I did!

An outdoor wood oven. I want to bake bread here!
This house was on our way back to the ferry. Thank you, Mariel, for pointing it out. A story I'll most likely never hear, so I can just make up my own. I do. I have. I will.

The lines were long, the crowd was big. Really big. I was glad we already had our tickets and could sit in the local section. It was time to get home.

 Have a tender Thursday. Do something 'to thank'.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

San Juan and Beyond

Like Bed, Bath and Beyond but very, very different, though a bed was involved in our little trip to San Juan/Santurce. It was a little trip with a big trip wrapped inside, a surprise ball that unraveled spilling one little delight after another, even in the seriousness of the cause.

We laughed a lot, smiles in the midst of a cause that holds so much madness, Monsanto's tentacles spread like some horror movie creation, a painting that looks almost bucolic until, in true horror movie fashion, you see a twitch here, a serpentine wriggle there and realize the whole scene is actually a slowing rising monster.

Don't worry, everything is okay.

The townspeople, townspeople of the world, sleep unaware. Except the little boy and girl, best friends, who see it and start running about, trying to tell their parents, their friends, and finally strangers of the danger, the most dangerous danger. Instead of being alarmed, they are patted on the head; they're known for vivid imaginations. Then finally, an adult, usually the well traveled, rough but kindly stranger rides into town and having no deep seated town contentment wrapped in slumbering oblivion, believes the boy and girl and calls a town meeting, firing a few shots off instead of calling the mayor, who was one of many mayors (and governors and powers that be) who secretly invited the monster to town. Even and especially Puerto Rico town, where the monster was invited in many decades ago...

It's actually MUCH more than 1500 acres
The people, very very very slowly, after 100 years, start to pay attention, but only because there seems to be a few problems, maybe more than a few and maybe they can blame the monster. Maybe they should. The wells went dry because of the droughts, but wait! what is that in the well? It's big, it's moving, it's...connected to why the cows went dry (or, in the case of Monsanto, why the cows didn't go dry but instead produced an abundance of very dangerous milk, a flood of milk, waterfalls of milk, spilling across the land - you can read Monsanto's version and then the other side of the story - this link is from 1998, and not much has changed since). A few more listen but many don't. Especially the mayor, fat and happy and wearing his Monster Emperor's new clothes.

Oh well, it's just a story.

This was after we got back from lunch. It didn't seem like there were going to be many people, but like Topsy, it grew and grew and grew. I don't know the official count but maybe in the high hundreds plus, conservatively guessing (which I am not known for).

The fantasmagoric theater group Paper Machete came along with brilliant costumes

There were hipsters and socialists, communists and world order sorts (ok, one in particular, who looked quite mad and approached me 17 times to give me his literature) all getting along, all, ok, almost all, working for one cause, to rid Puerto Rico, the US and the world of Monsanto (and its ilk, but Monsanto is the biggest, why not start at the top?)

Lots of booing and hissing Coco Cola. The driver was laughing though - of all the streets in the world, I had to come on to this one.

All we are saying is give peas a chance

Lots of balcony hangers, either bewildered or giving encouragement

Bad seed

It drizzled a bit but only refreshingly, thankfully.

There's always mimes, right?

The police were a very benign presence, there was a good vibe all around.

This lady was dancing on her steps, clapping and smiling and singing

Natural isn't always the prettiest, but it won't kill you either.
There were lots of speeches going on, lots of tables with goodies for sale, but it was time to move on. But that is for tomorrow. One hint. It did involve a bar.

 Have a take time to talkaboutit Tuesday. Do something tactical.