Monday, September 25, 2006

Finding Puerto Rico in Buffalo, NY

Check out what I found in Buffalo, New York. It’s not nearly as grand as the huge banners mounted on the Puente Moscoso, but one particular route to the Peace Bridge (which connects Buffalo to Ontario) is dotted with the star and stripes. Having lived in Puerto Rico for the better part of the last two years, I must have passed four or five flags before realizing, wait a second, I’m not in Puerto Rico anymore!

Sure, I’ve traversed Luis Muñoz Marin Way in Spanish Harlem, driven slowly around the pride festival in Jamaica Plain (Boston), and photographed the aluminum flag stretched across four lanes in Chicago, but somehow I manage to forget the singular national pride of the isle of enchantment. It reaches even to Western New York.

This has nothing to do with Buffalo, but there will be plenty of Buffalo to go around over the next few days, trust me…

Two days ago, Normal Girl and I were in Brookstone, messing around with the gadgets. One item we tested was a blindfold with integrated speakers. I assume this was designed for the airplane… Anyway, the built-in soundtracks were the typical rest-and-relaxation variety: bubbling brook, crashing waves, rainforest. In the last, I heard the distinctive song of the tree frog. “Co-quí, co-quí, co-quí.” The familiar sound, one I heard every night on the walk through the Jardín Botánico (Botanical Gardens) from the office to my rental car, brought a bittersweet rush.

This is going to sound incredibly strange, especially if you’ve seen my bio photo, but Puerto Rico is one the very few places I’ve ever visited that will stick with me forever. Living there changed me.

How’s that for a random observation / admission?


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