Unlike the tragedy of Clipperton, my experience in another island was a friendly reminder of how much I miss my people of Latin America.
I packed “The Isle of Passion” by Laura Restrepo with the rest of my luggage as I ventured to a very different island. There was no Corrigan II, no Maroon, no hunger or desolation. What I found was a friendly island where people danced on the streets while playing their own music. I found a paradise where the sun brightens the horizon in a different shade of lighting– a whiter, pristine tone.
Puerto Rico was an experience of a different nature. A wake-up call from the belly of the earth reminding me of the infinite nature of creation.
As my fellow adventurer took me deeper into the maze of his own country, I learned how to see the reflection of the Puerto Rican people on my own people. While I was walking through the streets of old San Juan, I noticed how similar we all are and how hard it is to describe with words the magnitude of the beauty of a Latin American country.
It is the fabric of magical realism. Latin America unveils itself as a land of fantasy, something from another time. People still greet one another on the streets, food is still served literally everywhere and hospitality is the norm. The smell of the forest and the ocean mixes into a single scent, much different to anything my senses ever felt. A tranquil sphere was also prevalent, as the people from the coast are much more interested in living today and not thinking about tomorrow– a privilege long lost in the United States.
It is hard to be far from my own version of paradise. My mountain ranges, my coasts, my plains, my music and my people. But getting the chance to see such a similar culture to my own reminded me that beauty and goodness is still out there.