In Puerto Rico on the 4th of July you won’t see people strutting around in American flag clothing or even lighting fireworks except at the military bases. Occasionally stateside people will buy a bunch of fireworks and throw a party, but in general, fireworks are not a thing here on the 4th of July. I don’t think Puerto Rico ever really got indoctrinated into the whole Independence Day history of the nation, though it is part of it. The history of this island is so much longer than the 200 some years of the USA that it hasn’t quite fully worked its way into the pride of most islanders as it does with most mainlanders.
Still, because it is a federal holiday, Puerto Rico gets the day off. And no one is going to argue with that. This year, for many, that meant an extra long weekend of partying. And partying in the summertime means going to the beach! In Rincón both the balneario and Almendros beaches were packed with people, while other beaches were quite calm. This is a social, loud island, so the parties get more and more packed and more and more crazy! Some people set up camp right at the water’s edge to be right in the milieu melee. It’s fun for extroverts, but people who dislike crowds or noise should avoid these festival type events.
We went on a beer run for some people at a pinchos stand. Everyone piled up in the truck. And then we drove, not to a store, but to someone’s personal house and bought some beer. I talked to an old man there who had lived in the area since it was all sugarcane fields. The layers and webs of life here make everything here just little wilder.
There were supposed to be two other (calmer) parties in Aguada and Aguadilla, so Britton and I packed up and left. When we got to Aguada, no one was to be found. Perhaps it was too windy to set up. So we headed to Borinquen Beach, one of my favorites in Aguadilla, for another party. When we got there, we didn’t find a soul we knew either! It was spitting rain and windy too, but we swam a bit and enjoyed the peaceful contrast from earlier in the day.
Unfortunately all we had brought to eat was a huge watermelon and lots of beer because we were anticipating BBQ at one or the other of the parties. So, we were getting pretty hungry. Then it started pouring rain so we headed out. We were wet from swimming so we didn’t want to go to any sit-down restaurants. Wendy’s it is, I guess! When it rains hard, often the power goes out and that happened even at this corporate fast food joint. The worker came out to our truck at the ordering window with an umbrella and told us that if we had cash they could serve us. So we had our American-style meal on the 4th of July after all. You just never know what you’ll run into or where you’ll end up here in Puerto Rico. Such is life, indeed.