Sunday, July 25, 2010

Puerto Rico - Day 5

Maybe it's the beard? Or perhaps, the charm and good looks.

For some reason, young PR girls keep coming up to me and asking me questions. The questions are always in Spanish and then they see the polite confusion on my face and run off giggling with their friends.

It's starting to really annoy me. It's like I have a 'Kick Me' sign posted on my back and I don't know it.

A waitress at some steakhouse last night said I could pass for Puerto Rican if I didn't say anything and just nodded all the time. I guess it was a compliment. She said the second I talked, it was very obvious I was an American.

Like there's anything wrong with that.

The other day, I was at La Piscina -- that's 'pool' for all you non-Spanish speaking bastards out there -- for the swimming relay finals and these two girls that worked security or something got right in my face and started to bark questions.

I tried out my best Smokey impression: "I don't understand the words that are coming out of your mouth..."

Then they got mad and moved on to someone else. I guess I looked prominent or something. I later found out they wanted to know if that was the last race of the day and if they could finally go home. Apparently, some child-labor laws are being broken and the teenagers in Mayaguez are getting over-worked for these CAC Games.

I started to vent with some of the USVI boxers the other day about my lack of communication. I think I was just happy to talk to someone in free-flowing English.

Clayton Laurent, a USVI heavyweight boxer, was already making an impression on the PR faithful.

"I just ask if they speak English and if they don't, I just move on to the next chica. The ladies here are spicy," he said.

I had no idea what he was talking about. Spicy? It's like I finally found someone to speak English with and I'm still shaking my head.

Then a group of older women hollered at me when I returned to my hotel two nights ago. I was exhausted and half a sleep by the time I made it back around 11 p.m. They were drinking and hanging out near the extravagant hotel pool and almost in unison, they gave me a construction worker whistle, like it was something straight out of Ugly Betty.

I raised my hand to acknowledge them but never stopped walking. Normally, I would have made new friends despite the language barrier but they caught me on the wrong night.

I was a tired Gringo, which means dumb white boy. At least I'm learning a little Spanish.

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