Hey internet. I know, I know, it’s Yoga Tuesday. But I’m just really not in a yoga mood. So I’m continuing the Puerto Rico party.
Let me tell you about Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is a place that defies convention or explanation. It has cities built into the sides of craggy mountains and citadels perch on the edge of the sea. You can explore a lush rainforest by day and be back in time to change for dinner at an exclusive club. There are mangroves you can kayak into at night where the water lights up underneath your vessel like you’re Peter frakin’ Pan. All of this and you can still drive from one end of the place to the other in an easy afternoon.
If you told me about this place and I hadn’t already been here three times, I’d have said it was the fictional setting from a C.S. Lewis novel.
If the U.S. is a Norman Rockwell painting, Puerto Rico saw the painting, thought ‘Fuck it’, stripped off the canvas, blended it up with rum, and made a daiquiri with it.
I’m staying at this crazy hotel called La Concha where it’s far easier to just assume that everyone you see is famous or rich or fabulous in some way. Seriously. Three years ago, I ran into J.Lo and Marc Anthony and Jennifer Hudson (not all at the same time, but still). Last year Johnny Depp was there. This year, knowing my luck, Marc Summers is probably my next door neighbour. Mi familia and I went up the elevator last night with a model and a photographer who were definitely about to breech a clause of their contracts.
So I’m surrounded with all this poshness and wealth and exclusivity, and I can walk down the street and see homeless people next to a run down pub next to the Ritz next to a condemned building. We walked down a boardwalk to a meager little group of kioskos the other day, followed by stray dogs, and passed by a photoshoot with a car that Barney Stinson identified as a Lamborghini Murcielago.
So there I was, wandering drunkenly around a beautiful food festival in Puerto Rico trying to find Marc Summers. Every once in a while we sat and watched people make food. Those people were not Marc Summers.
Every once in a while we stumbled upon a stray fashion model who had apparently gotten lost and in the wild and, bewildered, was playing possum the only way it knows how – by posing.
I tried out being a fashion model, but it didn’t turn out as well.
I resigned myself to eating without finding my third favorite Food Network television host and ate vast quantities of delicious, delicious food. There was a zesty tilapia ceviche, several varieties of steak, chips and dips and energy drinks, a malanga root soup, chicken on a stick, and the enormous, spicy, and wildly seasoned paella. I had a cheesecake made from avocados and a delicate quesadilla filled with pork. There were a lot of things that I ate without the slightest clue what they were (I do not speak a lick of Spanish, unfortunately). Mostly everything was delicious.
Still, internet, I was secretly searching for Marc Summers, with a plastic fork in my hand like a sonic screwdriver and an ever-growing bag full of cheap goodies, and with every new cocktail, I was growing more and more despondent. He was nowhere to be seen, neither high nor low, drunk nor sober. I kept getting annoyed at everyone I saw who was not Marc Summers, which turned out to be 100 percent of the people (minus the bubbly lady serving sausages. She was a rockstar).
Was I wrong in wanting so badly to meet Marc Summers, the voice of my childhood, the smiling face from Nickelodeon and Food Network, the kindly man who answered all the questions about Twinkies and Jellybeans I had not thought to ask? The frequent visitor of that mysterious diner with the all-encompassing menu? The ultimate darer of dares? In retrospect, even if I had met the guy, I have no idea what the hell I would have said to him, beyond “Hey man. What’s cracka-lackin’?”.
I was dispirited. Yet my salvation was nigh, people, because it turns out there was totally a dessert section. And while I did not find Marc Summers, I did find chocolate, which is essentially the same thing.