Puerto Rico

"La pintura de Roberto Clemente es muy buena!"

The people in Puerto Rico are very approachable and friendly, especially if you speak a little Spanish. No one spit on me even though I can only use the present tense, they were accepting. They appreciated that I tried to speak their language and didn't turn away when I stated things like "many birds", "Roberto Clemente painting is good", and "Picture, thank you". I was afraid to address anyone individually because my high school Spanish teacher had told us she used the familiar "tu" with a close friend instead of the more formal "usted" and the friend was angry. I forgot how to conjugate usted so I had to address everyone in groups which makes no sense.

As an artist and educator, San Juan was inspiring. There were a bunch of elementary level classes going on around the city. I'ts been a while since I've seen so many kids having fun and learning at the same time. It was really refreshing. I sat for an hour watching kids run around chasing birds as their teacher taught a lesson.

The art I saw was really outstanding and unexpected. I'm used to vibrant colors but the prints that I saw around town were unbelievable. They had some terrific design and very expressive works that weren't solely for the tourist trade. They also had some pretty cool small handmade crafts. My favorites were the sort of insane, weird tourist gifts like decapitated skeleton heads, clay figures with real animal teeth (that were also knives…and “okay” to fly with?), and graphic wooden carvings of women getting C-sections.