Dream of: 31 May 2002 "Mandalay"

Walking down a deserted street in a coastal city in Puerto Rico – white buildings lined the street – was it safe here? People began appearing on the sidewalk – quite a bit of activity. A brown-skinned man carrying a tray of food passed me. Smelled good. I walked past, then stopped and turned back to him. He halted and I asked him how much a plate of food would cost (he had several plates of food on the tray). He answered, "quince treinta cinco."

I told him I wanted a plate and he pulled one from the tray. I began counting out money. I didn't quite understand what he meant by "quince treinta cinco", but finally I decided he meant 15 cents and 35 cents. I counted out the coins and handed them to him. Satisfied, he walked away. I set the plate down and looked at it – what had I done? I should not be buying this kind of food from an Hispanic street vendor. Of course this was Puerto Rico and the water and food should be safe – as safe as any other American state. Still – I hesitated to eat it.

On the plate were four or five different items including some scrambled eggs and some large black beans in pods about an inch long. I took a bite of the eggs, then a bite of one of the beans. Tasty – but I was still worried.

What was I going to do in Puerto Rico. I had heard of an island called "Mandalay", supposedly quite beautiful and of historical importance; this would be a good time for me to visit the island. I would need a couple hours to get there by boat. I wished Carolina were with me; maybe I could call her and she could join me. Of course she would have to bring Picasso; and going places with Picasso was usually a problem. If we wanted to go inside any buildings, one of us would have to wait outside with Picasso while the other went it. Carolina would also need a couple of hours to reach the island.

My thoughts of the island became so vivid, it seemed as if I were there, lying on the beach. Instead of sand the beach was covered with tiny smooth stones about a half inch in diameter. I lay down on them, they were quite comfortable. I was definitely going to enjoy being here.

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