Thursday, August 6, 2009

From the Enchanted Land to La Isla del Encanto

On the ride from the airport in San Juan to my uncle’s house in Condado, Puerto Rico, cars swirled around us on the highway like determined gnats. I noticed a lack of license tags promoting one cause or another. I found that refreshing; the stateside fascination with promoting love of cats or dolphins or the teacher’s union via an additional two bucks on the tag fee really has gotten out of hand. On the island, the majority of license tags offer identical dingy white backgrounds, identifying numbers, and the pertinent information: Puerto Rico, Isla Del Encanto. Puerto Rico. Island of Enchantment.

I live in Floyd County, I thought, as a taxi swerved across three lanes of traffic to turn left in front of us. Floyd County calls itself “The Enchanted Land.” I do not bring this up for the purpose of comparison; one does not compare tropical island vs. Northwest Georgia. But the coincidence flashed through my mind, along with brief snippets of my childhood, as we whizzed through another risky intersection. My cousin Mary and I, both currently residing in the land of seven hills, three rivers, two sushi restaurants and a host of loose cannons, flew down for a week-long vacation at the home of our very generous cousins. We went without an agenda, other than to spend some time on the beach cooking from light biscuit to golden pie crust. We wanted to spend some time getting to know our cousins’ lives and loves. We wanted to explore, get lost, drink something cold and eat spicy food. I loosened my grip on the car door, leaned my head back on the seat and got ready to be enchanted.

It did not take long.

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