Is that time of the week again: From the Inside, post #2. This week, hopefully, will be fun also. Last time I wrote, I did not introduce myself. My name is Franco Lugo and I am Puerto Rican (this is where you clap and congratulate me). I am proud of who I am and also to be a member of this unique culture, that’s how I know all that I write about us.
As a culture we are unique and special; there is no other culture as ours and everyone who has been in contact with us knows it: Puerto Ricans are awesome, no matter what definition of the word you use.
Last time I promised to talk about food and tourist attractions of my Island. That has changed. I figured that if you plan on traveling to Borinquen (read first blog for definition since I will not stop here to explain) there is stuff you need to know before you travel. If you are here already, you may know about the stuff I will explain and everything will have a meaning for you.
Traveling by plane with a Boricua is fun. Yes, I said it, FUN; the good kind, or maybe the weird kind, even the “did this really happen?” kind. I can assure that most of us will try to make a friend on the plane, request the flight attendant to speak Spanish to us (they all should), or complain about the food or peanuts on the plane. The level of fun is directly proportional with the number of Boricuas on the plane when you travel to the Island. If there are two on the plane, you will hear something said in Spanish, an occasional “Coño!” – for us that is like a “Dang” for people in the USA – followed by a huge laugh from both of them. If you travel with a family, and remember the fun part, you will learn the name of the kid or kids they travel with. You may even get to learn Puerto Rican Spanish. For example: “Luisito, quedate ahi! (Stay there Luisito!)” or “Que no vas para el baño, ya fuiste dos veces! (You are not going to the bathroom, you went twice already!)”. You may even learn to talk to God in Spanish: “Dios mio, dame paciencia pa no darle una pela a este nene!!!!! (God give me patience not to hurt this kid!)”. You see, the level of fun is equal to the number of Boricuas you travel with.
There are special occasions when you may be the only non-Puerto Rican on the plane. When you travel from NYC or New Jersey to Puerto Rico, you are in for an adventure not even Indiana Jones can handle. I will go step by step here, because it’s a LOT of fun. First, when carry a lot of stuff, half of which we don’t need, but we may in case something happens. If you, my non-Boricua friend, have a carry-on keep it in your lap because we need all the space available. Second, what you consider screaming, we consider conversating (we conversate at a higher volume than most). We will speak with the one next to us, in front of us, two rows to the right of us and six rows to the back. We may even talk to the captain while he is in his seat. A don’t even get me started in the singing and joking part! We will sing any song, all of us. And there is always a joke, most likely sexual and when we laugh, even the captain – in his little space in the front side, door closed, head set on – will hear clearly. Third: as soon as the seatbelt light turns off, we will stand up and walk around the plane, JUST BECAUSE WE CAN! And last, and definitely not least, landing. When the plane lands we will clap as a couple in a Celine Dion concert, with the occasional scream and whistle. It’s like a “Thank you, Cap’n. Great job”. And once then plane stops, we will stand up, all at the same and get our stuff wherever we placed it when we got there. We all want to leave the plane at the same time, and we find that to be the correct way (I mean, IT IS the correct way).
My intention with this post is not to discourage you from traveling to the Island. On the contrary, I want you to see that, just as any other culture out there, we are unique and we know it. I just want you to be prepared for this amazing experience. I know I love it.
Next week, most likely food will be the topic. And be ready for some Spanish, Boricua Spanish, because there is some food that I can only explain but can’t translate. Don’t forget to write or comment what you would like to read about. You can even tell me stories of your culture, or stories you had while hanging out with a Boricua. So, until then, cójanlo suave (be safe)!