Happy holidays, and a surprising kind of supermarket music

A belated merry Christmas to my Christian and Christmas-celebrating friends! Happy end of Chanukah to my Jewish friends!

We just returned from a week-long family vacation in Puerto Rico, where we rented a big house with my brother, sister and their families. This was a rare and wonderful way to bring everyone from two coasts together and build connections and memories among the young cousins. We swam in the ocean, hiked in the rain forest, bought Puerto Rican fried snacks and cooked our own fried latkes, and took an amazing nighttime kayak trip into a bioluminescent lagoon, where the plankton emit light when disturbed, creating comet-like trails as you move your hand in the dark water.

The trip began in the best of ways — with an email saying that Daughter had been accepted early-decision by N.Y.U.’s film school! This was wonderful news, since she really, really wanted to go there. It’s the perfect program for her, in a city where we have lots of family, and to top things off, it eliminates four months of worry and the need to slog through another three or four applications.

As a little holiday gift, I’d like to share this link to a video from our first day in Puerto Rico.

We had stopped to buy lunch and groceries in Ralph’s Food Warehouse, a U.S.-style supermarket in the town of Humacao. We were surprised to find a live band of drums, horns and a Christmas-clad stilt walker dancing through the aisles. They were sponsored by a local candy company and performing either bomba or plena, two Puerto Rican musical styles based in African drumming. Perhaps someone with more expertise can fill in the details….

A far cry from the Muzak version of Silent Night!

Happy holiday season, and may you and your loved ones have a 2012 filled with health, happiness, and unexpected music.

El Yunque rain forest / Photo by Ilana DeBare

Pelican at Punta Santiago / Photo by Ilana DeBare

With the bomba/plena band / Property of Ilana DeBare

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