At night, sections of old San Juan are transformed into something like a giant open air nightclubopolis… with every form of party music imaginable, salsa to rock to electronica (Pete Tong will mix there soon) throbbing out of bars all along the streets and cobblestone walkways that are so peaceful and quaint during the day. It’s one hell of a fun place to party.
At around 2 AM last Friday night, a shiny new black Humvee with the bass-heavy hip-hop cranking plowed down Calle Fortaleza as part of the never-ending procession of vehicles cruising slowly down the impossibly narrow 19th century streets. The Hummer was so big that it hung over the road onto the sidewalk, forcing people to press tightly against buildings or duck into doorways as it passed.
Quite the statement, don’t ya think? What with oil inexorably moving toward a hundred dollars a barrel and beyond, and the cataclysmic endgame of global warming clearly in sight. The driver was not dragged out of the Hummer and beaten by an angry mob. He was not met with stony shaming looks. The prevalent vibe on the street was evident admiration, a sense that the owner of this obscenity would have his pick of the nubile girls who were shaking what they had on the street and in the clubs. It was the ultimate bling.
And at that moment that same scene was being played out in countless playgrounds of the idle rich all around the world. It’s probably being played out somewhere right now.
I recognize I’m in no position to get moralistic… I mean, there I was, a tourist from a wealthy country having a grand old time in the nightclub district of San Juan at 2 AM. And I’m typing this self-righteous little blurb on a jet airplane with a carbon footprint I’d rather not think too hard about right now.
I don’t know quite what to make of it – I don’t need to make sense of a moment of Zen, do I? It was an instant in time that I suspect will play in my mind for some time, a moment when the relationships between money, power, technology, and sex came together, pounded into my brain with dazzling visuals and a kicking Latin beat.