Our shipping agent Miami Mimi emailed us our airbill and our new rigging was due to arrive at the airport in San Juan on Friday. We drove up from Salinas but as we entered the airport property the full disadvantage of our lack of Spanish became apparent as we didn’t know the word for “freight” and none of the signs made it obvious where we should go. We were clearly in the passenger part of the airport. We saw a police cruiser at the terminal and I jumped out of the car with our airbill and asked if they could direct us to the right place. They looked at the paper, exchanged a few words, then shrugged and said, “Follow us.” And with that we had a police escort to Amerijet, the carrier our shipper uses. We’d’ve never found it on our own.
We had no problems picking up the rigging, a nice contrast to the PITA hurdles we jumped in Grenada. One signature and a couple of guys drove the 96-lb package right to the car and lifted it into the trunk.
It was hard to believe that five heavy wire stays, two halyards and two backstay control lines were in those two boxes, but there you go.
We’d made arrangements to meet two more of my cousins while we were in the San Juan area. They are older ladies and they were convinced we’d never be able to find an address if we met them at one of their homes so they insisted we meet in the handbag department at JC Penney’s in the Plaza las Americas, the largest mall in the Caribbean. We got there at the appointed time and waited for twenty minutes or so, watching everyone arriving and wondering what they looked like. All we knew is that the older one uses a cane.
Jack and I wandered around in our own surveillance patterns until finally he hurried over to me. “I think they’re here!” Sure enough, two older women were arriving at the store entrance. I ran over to hold the door and we smiled and hugged and all talked at once. I asked if they really wanted to shop for a handbag and they laughed and Betty said there was a small cafe on the top floor of Penney’s where we could sit and talk. Turns out she worked as an interior designer for Penney’s for many years until she retired.
When we got settled at the cafe we got down to the business of getting to know each other and filling in some of the blanks in the family tree. They had brought photos of their families and I had them write down some names and dates for me to enter into the tree later.
Betty and Tony are first cousins to each other and they have an easy familiar relationship. They both speak excellent English but when they disagreed on family history details they bickered in Spanish until they came to an understanding, then they announced the conclusion to us in English. Jack and I laughed and laughed and so did they. It was a delightful afternoon and we made plans to meet again when we got our rig sorted out.
We had a long drive back to Salinas over the beautiful interior of this island that I call one of my ancestral homes. Tomorrow we’ll talk to the rigger. Tonight I’ll type in all these new names and dates and watch my family tree grow.