San Juan, PR November 11, 1932
Jesus, you should have been with me today! All over the damned island and babbling Spanish a mile a minute. Pants tucked down into laced boots, the blue-banded sun hat at a precarious angle and the old battle flag waving under the brim. And the sweat dripping from the pores as fast as Spanish from the tongue. And the dirty dusty towns with the gaping populace.
We hired two foremen today to supervise the first sluice which will be running full tilt by Sunday. Muck and gold.
You ought to see the town where I’ll be bivouacked for the coming months. Corozal. Your mail will be forwarded there from San Juan, but please keep sending it to General Delivery, San Juan. This town is a little cluster of shiplap shacks around an ancient, moldy, and unpicturesque cathedral. The heat bubbles off the streets a mile a minute and with it come a thousand but faintly identified odors. I don’t know where I’ll live. Paul and Carper and Mrs. Wilkerson have their eye on a house and they think I’m going to live with them. I’m not. A mangy little hut and a courteous houseboy will be my billet. I don’t like to live in close quarters with Americans in the tropics. And I enjoy lack of routine too well to have meals on time. For a while I’ll camp in an excuse for a hotel and live in my working clothes.
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