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The Lure of Strange Women

Our crew would lay the network of cables to carry away the harvested bananas.  image.

Our crew would lay the network of cables to carry away the harvested bananas. image.

I had started working in a distant field with two young Spanish speaking boys who were about my age. They talked about visiting the whorehouses all the time. On one of those days when we almost had the job done a Company Supervisor came riding an agricultural tractor and turned in near us, turned off the motor and walked away into the nearby Banana Plantation. We understood then that soon this field would be harvested. My two companions kept up their conversation about the whores at a nearby brothel and suddenly jumped on the unattended tractor and took off, waving at me and shouting, “We will see you after lunch amigo!” I knew perfectly well where they were going. Continue reading

Our New Plantation Home

A bananero or banana plantation. Image thanks to naturelandings.com

A bananero or banana plantation. Image thanks to naturelandings.com

The chief cook at the dining hall, ever vigilant of China and her condition, said, “You just pay me the regular and tell that niña to come and eat here because she don’t have to cook!” And so, we were installed in the community as the “black boy and his Chinese wife” to be the strangest couple who ever graced that part of the country. I would, however, have to give up going to the movies on Baseline because the movie house was owned by Chinese people. I had also given up on movies because it was mostly the men who lived in that area who frequented the movies and Pug was already an attraction on her own. Continue reading

At Last! We Got Housing!

bocashousing

This is close to how our quarters looked. Image thanks to Costa Rican Conservation Network Blog.

The next time I saw my two friends and biggest supporters who I knew as Big Red and Robinson, they implored me, like doctors with an urgent operation to do, “Did you see the man yet?” They meant for me to get busy seeing the housing supervisor so that they could get their quarters back or what we usually called their “operating room.” For the upcoming weekend they wanted for the China and me to be out of their way.  And so, I told Pug to accompany me to help me to get our own room. With the authority of a husband I led her to the office where the housing supervisor was and said to her, “See that staircase there with the window?” She nodded yes and I continued. “You go up there and tell whomever you meet that you are there to see a Mr. Anderson about a room he had to show us. Now you be on your way because they will pay attention to you seeing how pregnant you are. Don’t be afraid!” Continue reading

Stories Travel Back to Colon

Image from TheSilverPen.com

Image from TheSilverPen.com

As was his custom, the Big Boss would come into the office and usually not talk to me. At first, I was put off by this although I didn’t show it. However, I had seen how envious the other men who had been with him longer would get and it was wise for me to remain reserved and go along with my benefactor to keep the peace in the office. He was right in his attitude and showing much more experience with these matters of interpersonal relations on the job than me. I would stop to pray daily to continue in doing the best I could on the job. Continue reading

Hoping for Sanity

Image thanks to Pinterest.

Image thanks to Pinterest.

China’s mood didn’t change over the course of the next few days, however, and it was something I could not talk to her about- ever- during the course of our life together. Her sullenness would become an ordeal for me, to have this young girl around not wanting to talk to me about anything. Worse yet, I was taking the blame and responsibility for something she had never wanted to discuss with me, her pregnancy. I would be glad every morning just to leave her and her apparent ailment behind and keep my mind on my job. Continue reading

The Couple That Wasn’t

Image from m.inmagine.com

Image from m.inmagine.com

The day I arrived in Bocas Town to the place I couldn’t really call home, was to meet the only familiar faces I knew in all that vast territory known as the Province of Bocas del Toro. They were the only people who knew me and Pug was the only girl I’d known since leaving the home of my grandmother and aunts who had seen me grow up to become the man that I had become. This girl, who was Chinese in appearance, and with whom I now found myself involved, had turned out to be more Westindian than me. Continue reading