We got back from San Juan yesterday afternoon. (04-27-08) The trip was pretty uneventful other than going through the rear of a frontal system (one that spawned some tornadoes in VA. after going through NC.) that made me feel like we were flying through heavy flack over Berlin ca. 1944.
San Juan was fun. We went down primarily to support a local groups that is trying to get reenacting started in Porto Rico but also to do something just a little different. I think we accomplished both objectives in grand style. John the Younger and my goodwife Beverly went down with me.
We flew out of Charlotte Thursday morning and arrived in San Juan around mid-day. We were met by a few of the local unit members and transported (along with some Dragoons and a few others) to a press conference. We were told that they had some food at the conference since "the press wouldn't come unless they were fed" We arrived and were given some pretty good sandwiches and drinks then sat back and watched the grip and grin show. There was the normal musket firing as well as the required speeches. I did notice the majority of participants seemed to be all fired up about the possibilities of reenactment and what they could accomplish. There wasn't much of the cynicism and feeling of "same old, same old" that we fall into here in the upper states. (well, except for the other reenactors that had come down) After the conference we were taken to Casa Blanca were the event was being hosted. Casa Blanca is a sprawling older building on a 5 acre compound surrounded by small gardens, paths and walkways. We were given a porch to set up the hospital on. Between the whitewashed wall,the stone paved walkways and the black wrought iron grill work, I couldn't help but think that Zorro was going to jump out at any moment. Bev and I then went to our accommodations. They had arranged for us to stay in a old monastery now owned by the University which had converted some rooms over to serve as a place to stay for visiting professors and writers. The Monastery was built in the early 1800's and kept most of it's original architecture. We were pretty worn out from the trip, so we found a local eatery "Bodega Chic" which served up a pretty mean flank steak. A good meal, comfortable lodgings for the night and all was good with the world.
The next day Friday, We ambled over to Casa Blanca about 9ish and started setting up the kit. The humidity was bad, sorta like a Carolina August. Mr. Moseley and myself met Marga Silvestre who was putting up cots and mosquito netting and other window dressing. She turned out to be a MOST valuable asset to the hospital with both her ability to interpret to the public who could not speak English as well as helping us obtain various items for making medicines. We set up our surgical set up and started working with the public around 10:00. I was feel a bit off my feed, so to speak, so I never got around to kitting out in my period clothing. Mr. Moseley did a good bit of work with the public and I did a little bit too. (Even wearing a Hawaiian shirt) We shut down around 5ish and called it a day.
Saturday was much of the same. I kitted out in full uniform to include wig, which might not have been the smartest thing in the world since the humidity was as bad if not worse than Friday. I toughed it out but managed to de-hydrate myself. (More on that later). We got our only real casualty that afternoon. A member of the local group de-hydrated and almost lost it. We stripped him down and pumped a great deal of water into him. He bounced back fairly quickly and seemed to be O.K. so we let him leave the hospital.
Sunday was more of the same, only the event manager being so focused on the battle "reenactment" forgot about the hospital and we were locked into Casa Blanca. It wasn't that big of a deal. We had plenty to drink, and we just sorta just kicked back and took it easy. We were secured only for a short time, so we broke it down and headed off into the sunset.
As normal, the staff of the hospital did more pure interpretation to the public than all of the reenactors put together.
I had a great time and I am looking forward to returning next year.
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