Daily Post, 2 July 2014
When was the last time you got lost? Was it an enjoyable experience, or a stressful one? Tell us all about it.
It was August 1963 and I was hopelessly lost in the pinched, cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, searching for the airport. Barb and my first daughter were scheduled to arrive there about 7:05 the following morning. Not wishing to brave slow and crooked highway, PR2, in the dark, I was preparing to leave Ramey AFB the evening prior. As added precaution, I asked a fellow airman in the Comm/Nav shop how to spell airport in Spanish.
“AIRPORT! How else?” he answered.
So, off I went, armed with my few words of Spanish – si, nada, and hola – to brave the busy road filled with publicos and banana trucks.
A publico is attempting to pass a truckload of tropical fruit on a curve.
These publico drivers are fearless, but judging by the brake lights,
this fellow has lost his nerve.
By this time the hour was late, and I had yet to find my first clue pointing to the airport. Before total darkness settled over the city, I found a place to park and then asked an white-headed man for directions. He understood the word airport, but little else. Anxious to help, he hailed a boy about ten, who was fluent in both Spanish and English, but he knew nothing of any airport. Together, the two of them explained the way to get there.
Soon, I found the sign reading: AEROPUERTO.