Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Nestled somewhere along the the foothills of the El Yunque National Rain Forest in Puerto Rico is Gringo Mountain... at least that was the case some twenty or so years ago when I last resided on that island.
And I'll also have you know that "Gringo Mountain" wasn't by any means a real mountain per se but rather the name given to a mystical community of sorts that happened to be situated on the outskirts of both the town of Ceiba and the now closed Roosevelt Roads Naval Base.
For you see, "Gringo Mountain" also happened to be the place where a noticeable number of retired US Navy personnel independently elected to retire to after putting in a full career with the Navy.
This was all invariably after having made a port-of-call as a swabbie early on in their careers and later silently promising themselves that this would be the place that they'd eventually reside once their stint in the Navy was complete.
And residing in humble dwellings, all invariably topped with corrugated tin roofs and all precariously perched on precipitous landscape were a number of old, grizzled, bearded retired Navy servicemen.
Hence the name of the so-called community, "Gringo Mountain"...
And if perhaps you ever find yourself doing the tourist thing while exploring this region of the island, don't let it be surprise to you if you too fall victim to the allure of its surrounding hills and topography.
And lastly don't let it be a surprise to you if you happen to come across any of these retired Navy personnel hanging out all day at your local marina. For you see, it is these same disgruntled old farts that could regularly be seen sipping cheap, draft beer at the marinas day after day while bellied up to a bar.
As for myself, I'm inclined to believe that topography, no matter how alluring one might believe it to be, is still in its final analysis but a variation of geography and that geography ain't got much to do with contentment unlike being among friends and family.
How else does one explain why some folks still elect to reside in the hinterlands of North Dakota if not for the fact that home is where the heart is.
View of El Yunque National Rainforest in the background.
Marina Puerto Del Rey, Bahia Demajagua, Puerto Rico
Where the Heart Is... a delightfully good read.