Coquis, Coconuts, Drugs and Doris
Can Dreams Come True?
When we were kids raw sewerage floated by us often at our local beach. I would brush the ugly stuff away pretending it wasn’t important. After all, the murky brown water was more refreshing than our sticky, cramped, boiling apartment where five of us shared one bathroom. At the Rye Town beach in New York we were free. Of course, there was also no requirement to stand in line to pee.
I guess it was there that I first dremt of some day living on a real beach. One that was bathed in crystal blue water, shaded by ancient sagging palm trees and pleasingly littered with large strangely shaped sea shells and flushed daily by mysterious chunks of drift swept in from the remotest corners of the globe.
Of course, in my hideaway giant mountains padded with luscious jungle ferns, mile high trees and exotic flowers , shielded my private lagoon from strong winds, intense rain, and would forever block dreaded hurricanes.
I thought I knew enough geography to also wish for a long deep coral reef a few hundred yards just off shore. I didn’t know at the time that for most of my adult business life I would indeed end up “swimming with sharks”. But, It seemed like a good idea to have some natural barrier so I could swim freely particularly at night when I visualized bobbing around the warm water in the nude.
Most importantly, was the girl. Once all the natural stuff is in place a beach can’t be called truly wonderful unless there is a beautiful girl. I encountered this goddess often in my dreams. She was more dark than pale, more short than tall, more slender than big, more gentle than loud, more caring than wanting, and always loving. In her skimpy bikini shielded only by long wind rustled silky hair she was actually more beautiful than the beach.
So what is a person to do when asked to accept a high paying job, which has a glorious future, and places him squarely on the tropical beach of his dreams?
Say, “yes”, dummy!
The island of Puerto Rico a jewel of the Caribbean North to South along its winding mountain top highway is nearly 165 miles long. Lush tree shaded pristine beaches surround this Lain paradise. Its cities are boisterous, humid and sexy. Towering over and sheltering the 4 million inhabitants is a daunting mountain range extending the entire length of the island. From its majestic vistas the tranquil Caribbean Sea sparkles to the south and the more violent Atlantic roars to the North.
Fortunately for the walker there is a maze of small roads which zig zag high into the clouds, through lush jungle, and into small mountain towns while weaving their way along the entire spine of the island. The narrow, shoulderless, pot hole ridden route, flanked often by giant ferns, cascading waterfalls, beer guzzling young men waving and hollering friendly encouragement, school buses discharging brave country children who live and play high above the clouds and offering hundreds of vista peeks at roaring oceans down below, is called La Panoramica, the Scenic Route.
Puerto Rico is where I ended up working in 1972. I was an engineer in a new pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, hence, the “drug” connection. On arrival I immediately thought of walking alone across this romantic “jewel of the Caribbean”. Work pressures precluded me from pursuing this ambition until many years later after I had been transferred to New York City which was anything but a romantic paradise.