Flight Home from Puerto Rico OK, Not for Others

It’s been longer than I care to even recall since we flew back home from our whelming trip to Puerto Rico (overwhelming? Underwhelming? Demi-whelming? Can’t say for sure). As sure as the flight over there was something to surely log in the docket of unforgettable moments; the trip back home will as surely be remembered for decades to come though perhaps more by the people who had to deal with us than for us ourselves.

This is how it looks when a baby pokes the button to summon the angry flight attendant lady.
This is how it looks when a baby pokes the button to summon the angry flight attendant lady.

The flight down was an overnight trip with the first leg unbelievably in first class. That first leg was nice, the layover was okay, and from there on out it’s all pretty much a blur of my geriatric handlers dragging us juniors around, often asleep, in order to make connections only to land invigorated and refreshed though admittedly without any of the vigor or freshness one might expect from elder-folk following a three-leg overnight shot halfway around the world with three unruly junior journalists in tow.

We’re quick to forgive so we quickly did just that and only remembered how cool it was that we got to fly in a real and true airplane, high up in the sky, much like Buzz Lightyear (according to Dominic) or a Power Ranger (according to me).

Instead of three-legs overnight our return flight was two-legs during the day and, with God as my witness, we got the very most of it. If you don’t believe me you can ask the poor lady behind me stuck playing Peek-Some-Boo with Dominic for four hours or you can ask the flight unatendant stuck getting up from her lazy stance of repose to tell me to stop poking the “Flight Attendant Needed” button.

What can I say man, this button got me more attention on the ride than I could have ever gotten from even the likes of SkyMall Magazine.

Above - Patrick and Dominic may have been having a fair amount of fun but as for me I was in a state of visible misery... actually I was just clowning around, but it would eventually turn to such despair my parents couldn't possibly handle a camera throughout it.
Above – Patrick and Dominic may have been having a fair amount of fun but as for me I was in a state of visible misery… actually I was just clowning around, but it would eventually turn to such despair my parents couldn’t possibly handle a camera throughout it.

Air travel is fun, even (if not especially) for kids, even with the horrible certainty of US domestic travel screening, which was a triple nightmare with exponential compounding on the flight down, so when us juniors come out to play, everyone should just enjoy it.

We’re not trying to be difficult, but we simply can’t help but be bored. Entertain us as long as you can and ignore us after that. We may not get the hint right away (or ever), but we’re you future and if you want your Social Security carefully guarded now might be the best time to extend an ounce of patience with us.

I’m not making a threat or anything; I’m just saying that Iran may pose a very real and serious threat to national security and that when I come of voting age I may endorse a congress who would launch a quadrillion dollar preemptive strike against them with your pension funding paying the whole sh’bang.

So thank you to those of you who accepted our kind interference and to the rest of you, may heaven help you because the pandering class of politicians are exceedingly unlikely to do so.

Above - This is the nice and kindly old gramma-lady that Dominic chose to harrass for maybe six hours straight during our flight. Lucky her, she'll be long gone before we could ever even hope to cancel her Social Security payments via acts of Congress.
Above – This is the nice and kindly old gramma-lady that Dominic chose to harrass for maybe six hours straight during our flight. Lucky her, she’ll be long gone before we could ever even hope to cancel her Social Security payments via acts of Congress.

 

USDA Research Gardens Interesting, Stanky

One of the most interesting, not to mention the most “free” things we ever encountered in Puerto Rico was the USDA research facility located neatly along the Southern coast of the island, snugged cozily against a university full of old people… well, at least they looked old to me. They must have been late teens to early 20s as sure as I was four years old when I saw them.

It may not look like it at first, but this is Patrick with genuine, on-the-vine Starfruit behind him.
It may not look like it at first, but this is Patrick with genuine, on-the-vine Starfruit behind him.

The facililty is open almost every day and has a vast expanse of land with everything from exotic palm trees to jackfruit to lands most damp and hospitable to frogs of uncommon size and indifference.

I’m serious. These frogs could care less if you’re there. You can run right up on them, yell at them, jump around and otherwise make a total nuisance of yourself and they simply wouldn’t budge.

They aren’t poisonous or hallucinogenic; they just don’t have any time for you.

Your visit will not only be free, but a quick stop by the tourist center will give you a guide of the place with a suggested (but no required) path for best exploration. You’ll see exotic flowers from around the world, plants you’d have never known existed, and a smattering of ancient and possibly forgotten outbuildings as well along the way.

We found a bunch of fallen, rotten Jackfruits which I insisted was somebody’s throw up. I was told that I was wrong, but once you’ve sniffed of the fallen, rotten Jackfruit, you’ll be hard-pressed to be convinced otherwise.

The campus is a tad hard to find, but it’s about a half block down from the off-campus KFC to the east (just go due north along that same road and you’ll find the entrance.) Don’t ask the locals where it is because it’s a local place so none of them have ever been there.

It’s a fantastic way to spend an afternoon whether you’ve got kids in tow or you’re going by yourself. Again, I hasten to point out that it’s free (even though it’s a functioning USDA research site that has made some real breakthroughs in food slash agricultural technology over the years, even the recent ones).

And if you tell them I sent you, don’t worry, they’ll have no idea who you’re talking about. We didn’t exactly announce ourselves, but they’re sure to be just as gracious just the same.

Above - I know it may not look like much, but I informed my handlers that when I tried to walk down this path I encountered somebody's throw-up. I later found out it was just a decomposing Jackfruit, but that meant nothing to me considering I know painfully little of throw up and I was just sure that this was it. Seriously, I literally thought that somebody had barfed on the path but I was wrong. Rotting Jackfruit, what can I say?
Above – I know it may not look like much, but I informed my handlers that when I tried to walk down this path I encountered somebody’s throw-up. I later found out it was just a decomposing Jackfruit, but that meant nothing to me considering I know painfully little of throw up and I was just sure that this was it. Seriously, I literally thought that somebody had barfed on the path but I was wrong. Rotting Jackfruit, what can I say?
Above - When wandering a botanical garden, it's remarkably difficult to become lost. Whilst wandering the grounds of a research lab, however, the probability becomes that much greater, no matter how many interesting fruits and mushrooms one may find along the way.
Above – When wandering a botanical garden, it’s remarkably difficult to become lost. Whilst wandering the grounds of a research lab, however, the probability becomes that much greater, no matter how many interesting fruits and mushrooms one may find along the way.

You can see an image of the Giant Palm Tree here, if you like.

 

Goofy-Faced Kid Keeps Copying Me

So I met this kid the other day, man what a goofball. Not only was he all wobbly and distorted, but he kept copying everything I did.
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Ever had somebody do that? Like follow you while you’re going along and copy you? It’s wierd. It’s not like I’m at home or in the car hanging out with my brother or anything, I’m out in public.

I was just chilling downtown with my old man, getting in some good family time, letting him know he’s still my Pops, when out of nowhere this guy decides to start heckling me.

I didn’t notice him at first because I had my crawl going on, but it didn’t take long before he caught my attention. It’s pretty hard not to notice a pseudo-twin when the dude’s like two inches away from you.

emp-tallHe looked odd though. Like he was trying to do an impression of me, but it was coming out all wrong. See, his impression was all purple and distorted-like. Ever had someone do an impression of you that was too purple? I don’t know how to explain it, but it was a little unsettling in that regard.

He was good though, I’ll grant him that. Every crawl I took he was straight up in stride. When I faced him, he faced back. When I smiled, he kind of smiled. (I only say “kind of” because he was all distorted and funky-like.)

I tried to kick him some change for entertaining me, but Dad said it wasn’t necessary and we moved on. Are street entertainers like this common?

In summation, I give this clowny entertainer a full four stars, except on the curry and/or restaurant scale, where I give him a full five stars. While a little odd and unsettling, he was exceptionally talented and as handsome a kid as I’ve ever laid eyes on. Keep it up, you entertainer of the masses you, you’re going somewhere.