Well we can now officially say we’ve had the true country Puerto Rican Christmas lechón experience! We had pig on the beach in Rincón last year, but this was quite a bit different.
Papo invited us up to his finca for a Puerto Rican country Christmas party complete with lechón, pasteles, cockfighting, topos betting, horses and lots of beer drinking. It was an all-day event that started around 11am and would go on until it stopped. It was an interesting experience but we felt a little awkward since we stuck out like a sore thumb. We just sort of milled around because we don’t know how to play dice or bet on the roosters.
When the lechón was ready to be chopped up, everyone came by to check it out.
It was an interesting sort of dynamic because Papo hosted the party and the lechón and pitorro were free, but he sold beer from a sort of make-shift caged cantina.
People were getting pretty drunk and so Britton and I took a short hike about the property just to get a breather and away from all the drunk dudes.
Later that evening I learned a little more about cockfighting as I talked with some of the guys cutting off the natural spurs and putting on plastic ones. One guy working with his teenage son putting on the spurs told me he learned the sport from his dad, and his dad from his before and back many, many generations.
Then the beer sold out. There was a sort of scramble for anything else to drink. Papo had asked us to bring two bottles of wine, and so we did. However, there was no wine opener. And so we had a “completo fracaso” as Papo called it trying to open these darn bottles. Apparently Papo had wanted some cheap screw top thing called Ponte something. It was pretty clear that wine is not a very popular thing to drink in the countryside of Puerto Rico.
And so without beer to fuel the party it ended at the fairly early hour of around 8pm and we were able to drive home. We had anticipated staying the night up there just in case but it worked out just fine. It was quite the experience to be the only ones that spoke English and only knowing one or two people there. We felt very honored to have been included in the festivities.