Every time I watch a Puerto Rico tourism commercial I always think to myself how lovely it would be to visit that island they advertise. They show such idyllic settings, lively activity and almost rustic portraits of life on this island. I’ve been living here for a decade already and very rarely has this place looks as pretty as those commercials. In no way am I saying that those advertisements are lying. I’m almost positive that if you looked hard enough you could find the locations and the scenes depicted in the colorful reel aimed at tourists.
The truth is that most of those commercials are targeted to a certain audience. Actually, they also mean to lasso them into only visiting a certain portion of the island. Whenever someone asks me about whether PR is a good vacation spot I always answer with the same thing: “It’s a beautiful place to visit but don’t get caught in just the metropolitan area. The rest of the island is not only cheaper to go to and stay at, but you’ll get a better sense of the culture. Not just what the tourism board wants you to believe our culture is like.”
For those of you who don’t know, I study in a town called Mayaguez. It is one of the more known cities on the island, located smack dab in the center of the western coastline. When I moved her for college was about the time that I felt that I could actually survive here and not just wait until I could hitchhike on the first airplane out of here. I really like the town, where I actually live in it and not on the outskirts like other college student dorms. There are some great eating places within walking distance, some of which i have happily reviewed about here on my blog. There are some nice stores and a wonderful plaza in front of the alcaldia, which is where the town’s mayor works out of.
But every once in a while something happens that reminds me of those silly commercials I’ve seen. I mean, people in PR don’t just start dancing randomly on the street and colorful parades don’t just happen in front of you. Well, as it so happens, yesterday a parade did actually go right in front of us as we hit up Sancho Panza for lunch.
At first we noticed a lot of people standing at the end of calle McKinley.
“What’s happening?” I asked the two gents with me at the time.
“Mayaguez is happening.” One of them answered with a broad sweep of his arm.
And it just about seemed like he was right.
There were even these poor girls wearing sparkly outfits…
Can you imagine being stuck wearing that?
In the rain?
On a flimsy little float?
They could not pay me enough to do so.
After eating we didn’t stay to watch the parade unfold. If it rained again we didn’t want to be caught in it. So the boys indulged me by waiting as I flashed these random pictures. Then we walked on home.
The thing is, I sort of felt sorry for those poor people in that silly little parade that to this day I have no clue as to the reason for it. For about 6 years I was in the marching band in my hometown. I hated those random parades with no purpose and I hated them even more when it rained and you still got stuck marching on.
I bet they’d never show that on a tourism commercial.