There is a tape recorder, a pack of cigarettes, an ashtray, a pitcher of water and two glasses. The year is recent but unknown.
Q: So they were looking for those in power?
Q: Regime, politicians...
A: Regime, politicians, business leaders - La Policia. Really anyone who was actively supporting the current situation.
Q: ‘Looking the other way’ so to speak.
Q: And they didn’t much bother with the rest of the citizenship which I’m guessing were mostly poor, working class like themselves.
A: Right, right, mostly that is true.
A: Well, we see this over and over in these situations. There were many scores to settle.
Many, many personal vendettas that somehow became ‘official business’. In this type of
climate even the loosest of affiliations can have very disastrous consequences. And they
did, for many.
Q: And they went door to door like salesmen.
A: Yeah, yes.
Q: Settling scores?
A: Yeah. Real or imagined. Mostly imagined.
Q: So who exactly were they, this initial group? The grocer, the milk man, etc.?
A: Truck drivers, postal workers yeah you name it, ordinary citizens.
Q: So what is the common denominator? What brings them together? It’s a fairly disparate group no?
A: Yeah it is. A bit of everyone. Farmers. Many, many farmers. Intellectuals from the university, rival gangs from all the South Side neighborhoods. Military, mostly low level. Anyone who felt they had been personally wronged, neglected or disrespected by those in power - which was pretty much everyone.
Q: And they would meet?
Q: Where? When?
A: Saturdays in the square, church on Sundays, Social Clubs that sort of thing. Wherever they could without drawing too much attention from La Policia.
Q: Ok so help me understand this. How did these seemingly disparate groups come together? How does a tenant farmer find a small time numbers runner find a university professor? Understand what I’m saying? What did they have in common? How did they find each other and how did they keep it a secret?
A: For the most part, barring familial and intermarriage connections within each group, farmers, criminals, intellectuals meet sitting side by side in the shade of the Social Hall while listening to music.
Q: Music, really?
A: Yes, it is the catalyst.
Q: And as you’ve said with music comes food and drink and perhaps most importantly, emotion.
A: Yes... emotion very important and ideas. It’s a conversation.
Q: So it was social, recreational?
A: Familial even.
Q: Breaking Bread so to speak.
A: Yeah exactly, born of people listening to each other, spending time together, enjoying each others company.
Q: The Social Club was a place to let loose, blow off steam, speak freely. ‘Public Kitchens’ as you have called them. I can see how that would serve to foster and flame passion and the connection you make to cooking makes perfect sense. That’s where the term‘ Cocina Publica’ originates no?
A: Yes exactly.
Q: High heat, disparate ingredients come together and somehow they work.
Q: Can you elaborate a bit on the origins of Cocina Publica?
A: Well, every Saturday an open air market would be held in the square. Very similar to the Farmers Markets we have now. Farmers, fisherman, merchants of various trades would set up and sell their goods till sundown at which point, instead of going home, they would move them into the Halls - carts and all. They’d tie livestock out back, go in and start drinking. Either celebrating the days success or drowning it’s failures. The farmers would pool leftovers and the wives would takeover the kitchen and make what is now known the world over as Cocina Publica. This is the origination.
Q: A very spicy, hot food. Not for the timid tongue.
A: Yes, hot, spicy, charred beyond recognition. This was done for a reason though. Often what was left was not substantial enough to render any depth of flavor or sustenance. Best cuts were the first to sell at market so there was very little meat, just heads and hearts. Fish heads, pig heads, chicken heads. The wives would load it with herbs and spices and cook it down, hours and hours and then throw it on top of whatever grain was in abundance - usually rice with beans. They typically wouldn’t eat until very late in the evening and by that time everyone, men, women, were completely inebriated. The kids were the responsible ones, the shepherds who got everyone home safely. Very often much of what was made that day monetarily speaking at Market was spent on alcohol that night so it was this cycle of satisfying temporary needs. It was very much a culture built upon and around fleeting moments and stitched together by devout prayer. A very spiritual existence really when you think about it. But careless almost, superstitious certainly to the extreme and so really very risky in terms of sustaining a family.
Q: But somehow it worked.
A: For a time it did. But to a great extent only because everyone was doing it. So as soon as you got, you gave and at some point it would come full circle and find its way back to you.
Q: Like karma or communal living, maybe even Socialism?
A: Karma is a good way of putting it. But Karma as a real and trade-able asset. It very much was a currency traded back and forth. They kept records if not on paper then in their heads. And traditionally it was the wives that remembered, they kept tabs. If someone tried to dodge responsibility it was known pretty quickly and usually that shame was enough to even things up.
Q: And that way of life began to change.
A: It did. Because it only worked if everyone was on board. And not everyone was. Times were changing. Wants and needs changed. So what began to happen was that people would give and not receive and resentment built up. Some people were getting ahead, many others left behind and it was more complicated than that of course, there were other reasons, but that’s the start. 1930’s, mid to late 1930’s.
Q: So your saying this uprising had been simmering for a good thirty, thirty-five years or so?
Q: High heat, hearts and heads?
A: Si. Alto calor, corazones y cabezas. Y tiempo.
A: Yes, the most important of all ingredients.
Q: So from these casual meetings in the shade of the social hall springs the idea of a revolution?
Q: Where did that initial unrest come from? Was it simply a case of, ‘he has and I don’t’ ? Was it classic forms of corruption at work - nepotism, bribery, embezzlement, that sort of thing?
A: Yes. All of that. Rampant and systemic. Nepotism without a doubt, a fundamental part of the infrastructure. You couldn’t get elected or hired without some sort of connection. Even to haul garbage or sort mail. But you have to understand this was the culture. We call it nepotism now, but if you had asked them, they were simply putting family and friends first so to them it was natural.
Q: And put in that light almost excusable?
A: Yeah, yes, absolutely. I might do the same thing if in that position. So, if I had to pin point one reason, then I would have to say the incredible gap that existed between the North and South Sides.
Q: Economically speaking?
A: Exactly. There were those who had nothing and those who had in great and ever growing abundance. It was a very dark and desperate time - every corner a crime you know? Small, petty knife crime right alongside king kind of crime. The kind so ubiquitous it becomes invisible.
A: Yes corruption, certainly without a doubt. But the problem I have with using that terminology is that it speaks to an assumption that there was at some point in time a good and wholesome ideal that somehow lost its way. This is not the truth. This was systemic and enduring inequality from day one. As old as the mountain, as reliable as the sunrise. The sort that gets embedded in public policy. There’s a folk song we used to sing. First line goes something like this - the men would begin ‘all the roofs leak, that cough is just a cough’, then the woman would come in and hold the high note .... ‘no it’s not!’, then the men again - ‘the rats will clean the floor’ . A silly, nonsensical song but it spoke to the sort of conditions people were dealing with.
Q: I’d hadn’t heard that before, you have a fine voice.
A: Ha. Thank you. (Takes a sip of water)
Q: So what happens next? They meet and make a plan?
Q: So what went wrong? Why did it turn the way it did?
A: Human nature.
Q: Human nature? Can you elaborate?
A: Some of the architects of the uprising were very good people with ambitious ideas. I knew some of them personally, they were idealists essentially. Each cared deeply about successful outcomes. I believe this with the whole of my heart, really I do. In my opinion they were just in over their heads. Brought in the wrong element and got overrun, muscled out so to speak.
Q: How long did the uprising last? I believe textbooks put it at 13-14 days start to finish.
A: I think - officially, about two weeks.
Q: That seems like a relatively short time.
A: Yes, yes. (Takes a drink). But its effects linger long after.
Q: Still to this day?
A: Yes, all these years after. Almost a public version of PTSD if that’s possible. Shaped a generation, without a doubt. I often think of it as related to the great art movements of the Twentieth Century. Cubism, Abstract Expressionism. Very difficult to consider anything after without their influence.
A: As with any trauma, a mark is made and it very literally ‘marks’ an event, a happening. And over some time it becomes a scar and that scar represents all that led up to that cut, and all that will follow. Because nothing comes from nowhere, know what I’m saying?
Q: You’re losing me a bit.
A: It’s like a fight between lovers or friends, even business partners. By the time words are exchanged there has been so much misunderstanding, resentment and false histories constructed that the ‘mark’, the argument, those first shots fired are just a release. Often having nothing to do with what is happening at the time. So that action, those words are the cut and that cut becomes a scar. Over time it begins to heal, to skin over. But underneath there is still unfinished business, a very real conflict that continues for decades and decades.
Q: I think I follow. You’ve referred to this as a wave, an echo.
A: Yeah, and in the case of the South Side you could feel it in the air like static electricity - a disturbance far off but approaching very, very quickly. Ominous and surrounding.
Q: Before you mean?
A: Yeah before anything actually happened.
Q: Everyone saw the signals.
A: Yes, exactly. Like animals before a storm. A restless panic, a pacing about the room.
A nervousness. If you could somehow tune it in on a radio that signal would have been crystal clear. Unease, anxiety, stress, in a very public, shared sense.
Q: So no one should have been surprised when it happened?
A: It was the first time I saw my father really frightened, scared in spite of himself if that makes sense. I mean he was always so calm, so thoughtful and collected but not at that time. He was so panicked, so worried, so wracked with a primal sort of fear for his family’s well being that he couldn’t hide it. It was as pure an emotion as I’ve ever experienced and I’ll never forget it. You know tearing around the house yelling, sweating, stuffing suitcases full of things that didn’t necessarily belong in a suitcase. I particularly remember the veins in his head popping out as he shouted. Isn’t that strange?
Q: He knew something.
A: Yes I believe so. He knew something and wasn’t exactly sharing it which made it worse. Still trying his best to protect us with his silence but his body was taking over at that point. He couldn’t hide it.
Q: Why was he so frightened? Did your Father have enemies?
A: I don’t think so?
Q: That almost sounds like a question. Put it this way - do you imagine him running around the house, running through a list of names of people he expected to see at the door with machetes and guns pointed?
A: No. I mean, I don’t know, I don’t think so. I’ve asked my mother that same question many times in the years since. She never knew him to have any enemies and I certainly never picked up on that. I believe what worried him so much was that he didn’t have alliances with anyone and he realized it at that point. True friends, close friends were few and far between. He was a kind man, very quiet. He knew everyone in both neighborhoods, they knew him - a true middle man, almost invisible because of his reliability. He tried his best to do what was right. To stay even and straight, to stay above the fray. He didn’t get involved. His main goal was to take care of his family and that’s what he did. He wasn’t a deal maker.
Q: Which can be risky.
A: Very risky in a climate like this. But, I think he was respected and I think that is what saved us in the end. That and his father’s reputation. His father, my grandpa, was beloved, a real saint of the city.
Q: Why did people feel they had to leave? I’m not sure I understand. Wasn’t this supposed to be a good thing?
A: Yes. But that place, at that time, was like the junk drawer in your kitchen you know? Just full of stuff, packed to the hilt, overflowing. And everyone around knew it needed a good cleaning. And in that drawer there were a lot of good, useful things. But there were also some real nasty, sharp things - old razors, rusty nails, tacks you get my drift? The official intention going in was ‘We’ll get in there and put things on a better course.’ And that’s the way it was sold to us, to the people. But it was almost immediately apparent that that was not the way it was going to go. Almost immediately.
Q: But no one should have been surprised when it happened, am I right?
A: Right. As I said we saw it coming, were waiting for it in many ways. But I have to tell you, just because you know something is going to happen doesn’t mean you’re any better prepared for it. Just the way it happened. The reality of it, you know? ‘This is happening, this is really happening’ kind of thing. Caught everyone off guard, sent everyone scrambling. It’s a funny moment when even bad leadership is removed - the vacuum that is created is a very uncertain moment in time, it’s very hard to explain. An almost instant nostalgia for the very situation you were fighting to alleviate yourself from occurs. People grabbing anything they could carry and just leaving.
B: What changed? The players? The plan?
A: Both. Both. Everyone involved was using everyone else to get what they wanted. The brains needed the muscle, the muscle needed the ideas and as soon as this uprising started it turned very, very quickly into something else entirely - took on a life of it’s own. And in this case, ‘the muscle’ used that momentum to take over.
Q: So the intellectuals were out, overrun? And with them, the ideals I suppose.
A: Exactly. But more importantly than ideals - the humanity - just gone. Gone. And it was unbelievably sudden and blunt. It happened very fast and violently. Like a sickness let loose.
Q: Did you say a sickness?
A: An illness yes. A disease. An infection run amok. The criminal’s, the military were in their element you see. They were used to this kind of reality where everything can be achieved through blunt force. Just push it, move it, you understand what I’m saying? And that’s what they did - they just took it. Let me tell you, an amazing amount of convincing can be achieved with the most primitive of weapons. Something blunt and something sharp is all that is required. You don’t need bullets. Bullets are so abstract in their destruction. They are heard far off and distant and then appear out of thin air like some magic and that’s it. So the kind of fear it produces is almost... fictional if that makes sense. Separate. But a boot in the face, a club, a sharpened piece of metal- that is something else entirely. It’s very primal. You see someone coming at you and they intend you harm. And so it’s broken bones and blood, confusion. A concussive reality full of sounds and smells. You know, the basic ingredients of memory.
Q: Again a cooking reference.
A: Well? I’m sorry I can’t help it.
Q: How did they lose control of the situation?
A: How can I explain it... have you ever tried to orient yourself after a hit to the head, a punch in the nose?
Q: It’s disorienting.
A: Exactly. The farmers and intellectuals were used to abstraction and confrontation yes, but in a slow and methodical sense. They wanted to analyze and strategize. But this was a street fight. And a street fight is all about confrontation and the absolution of zero, zero, hesitation. The farmers and the intellectuals hesitated. That’s it. They wanted to raise their hands, take turns talking, listen, negotiate - be civil. Construct some abstraction until it made sense and then stand back and look at it.
Q: They were creators not destroyers.
A: Yes. In the end they were rolled. Simple as that. Alliances meant nothing and ideas - forget about it, they meant even less.
Q: Before we move on I’m interested in focusing on the human aspect of this particular uprising - the generality found in it’s specifics and how it relates to other moments in history. There are some pictures from those first few days, very famous, iconic images of that exodus and what always struck me was the similarity to other mass exodus’. I’m thinking mostly of The Great Depression or Phnom Penh, even lower Manhattan on September 11th. It’s interesting how similar these things are - even in their differences, even in completely different time periods they take similar forms. A mass of people fleeing. Know what I’m saying? There’s a unique, shared quality about people escaping - together.
A: Yeah, I know exactly what you mean.
Q: And you can see that in photographs - even in poor quality photos - the blown out black and white ones still convey that. Pure human emotion.
A: It’s true. (nodding) I don’t know, maybe because we get to see it from a safe and quiet distance? I’m not sure what that is exactly but I know what you mean. And the way it sort of is manifested by the physical possessions we carry. It’s one of the things that’s really stuck with me over the years.
Q: What people brought with them as they fled?
A: Yeah, exactly. Really odd combinations of their material possessions you know? A family of five with one old, crooked chair - not five chairs because that would have been too much to carry. So just one chair, a huge rug rolled up, a hair dryer, a bag of flour, box of records nothing to play them on, pictures, always pictures and the dog in tow. You know? Bizarre but completely understandable and kind of heartbreaking in a way, the things you grab in a panic.
Q: That need to maintain a world that is disappearing before your eyes.
A: Yeah and you need none of it.
Q: Ok, let’s change course a bit.
Q: So, help me understand the geography - the physical layout of the city.
A: OK. I’ll try my best. (Takes a drink of water).
Q: A coastal city.
Q: One side the sea, the other the mountains.
A: Correct. Madre y Padre.
Q: Mother and Father? Is that how they are known?
A: Yes. And the river that runs through the center of the city is the son... or daughter depending on whose telling the story.
Q: That’s interesting I hadn’t heard that before. So the two are connected by the Santos correct?
A: Yes. The Santos Bridge runs over the Santos River and connects the North and the South sides of the city. It is the blood.
Q: And things were very different on either side.
A: Oh, my God yes. Everything.
A: Conditions, civility, opportunity - just a very different reality almost immediately as you crossed the bridge. The colors brighter, streets cleaner, the air more optimistic. I swear! I’m not kidding! You know on the North Side the municipality collected the garbage, employed an army of uniformed street sweepers - there was even a Department of Beautification complete with a very well supported volunteer organization that planted and maintained these beautiful public spaces, gardens full of flowers, sculptures all over the city.
Q: And the South Side didn’t have any of that?
A: No, no. Not in any substantial, organized way. I mean there were pockets here and there but it was for the most part dirty and grey and bleak. When we were kids we thought flowers couldn’t grow on our side - except for the weeds. Really. It was the industrial part of the city - all the factories, canneries and docks were on that side. The Landfill too, so it smelled like god awful shit and dead fish. Don’t get me wrong, it was our home and there was pride there, but it was very different from the North Side. All those factories and canneries were owned by very wealthy men who spent their money across the bridge. Built their estates, built roads to those estates, private parks around those estates. Everything green and manicured. There were those grand Royal Palms lining the boulevards, exotic plants of every kind and color. And the plants brought bees and hummingbirds and butterflies. Garbage and dead fish brought only flies and rats and cockroaches. The concrete around the city, all of that municipal infrastructure was painted and repainted almost on a daily basis in this brilliant white and inlaid with broken glass and sea shells and the sun just shone off it, sparkled. Made for a different world. Like a dream.
Q: You know it’s very interesting the ways things turn out, how Time evens things. That neighborhood, the South Side is now one of the fastest growing, most affluent neighborhoods not only in this country but anywhere in the world.
A: Yeah. I couldn’t afford it If I wanted to.
Q: And on the flip side, the North is crumbling, neglected. In many ways a victim of it’s own ambition. It’s just way to costly to maintain all of that detail. It takes enormous wealth and devotion to keep that up.
A: It’s very true. Like an old lady with too much makeup and perfume, still smiling and sweet but kind of lost and wandering.
Q: As a child growing up on the South Side, did you spend much time on the North side?
A: In bits and pieces. It was like vacationland to us, to my brother and sisters and I - some unattainable, grand kingdom - nothing seemed real, even time felt different, lighter. The only real time we spent there was when something special was happening - Parades things like that. What I do remember very vividly was sometimes my parents would take us across the bridge to sit in these little public parks. There were flowers and benches and we’d pack a small lunch. You know, a bit of fruit and cheese, some lemonade and we’d just sit and watch the cars go by, listen to the birds sing - just be together. Sometimes my father would bring his transistor and we’d catch a signal from offshore and take turns dancing with my mother.
Q: That sounds very sweet.
A: It was the sweetest, softest time really. Time like no time. I have very fond memories of that.
Q: Sunday trips to the park.
A: Right, and as kids that’s what we thought - I think that’s what my parents would tell us. But what I didn’t realize until much later, as an adult, was that they were just the medians between the boulevards.
Q: Really? That’s interesting.
A: I remember realizing that and it hit me for some reason. You know, not in a bad way.
The week of my Dad’s passing was a haze. All the planning, the handshakes. Long, long days. So to get away for a while my wife and I took our kids around the city to see his old stomping grounds - when he was still a young troublemaker in the streets. Anyway, we took my uncle’s old Cadillac and drove across the bridge. It was a big old boat, you know, sky blue, high fins, chrome all over and it smelled of cigars and those cheap air fresheners. Anyway, the kids loved it. Every turn would send them sliding to the side giggling. They kept asking for their Grandpa and we’d told them and tried to explain as best as we could, but they didn’t understand. So maybe that was part of it too. Anyway, that’s when I saw it. I’m sure it was the timing, but it hit me hard.
Q: Why do you think that resonated so much?
A: Well because it was so different than what I had remembered. So simple, humble and small. And it dawned on me at that moment that this was my parents way of getting us out of the despair of the south side - even for just a short time. We had nothing but they tried so hard. And it worked. They were so good to us. We always felt free and safe. We felt loved. We felt there was something else, something to look forward too. And now as a parent I understand how important that is and how difficult it is to achieve. You know, to maintain a, a lightness as the world’s pressures are baring down.
Q: In my research I came across some literature about the North side - mostly tourism based ephemera. One piece I found particularly interesting was I believe, an application for something called Ladies of the Flower or something like that. I mean really nicely done - full letterpress, beautiful pictures - Kodachrome you know? Does that ring a bell?
A: That’s the volunteer organization I was referring to earlier. Ladies of the Flower was a volunteer organization made up of the wives of the men who ran the city - the business men and the politicians- very, very well off woman with a surplus of leisure time. A civic association of sorts. And they planted flowers all over the city and lunched afterwards in one of the grand hotels by the sea. It was mostly a social event but they actually did get a lot done. My mother filled out one of those applications and was denied. And she was a horticulturist with a degree from University! Just loved flowers. Loved, loved them and knew more than many of them very likely but because she was from Noche they wouldn’t have her. So it hurt. There’s a funny story about that actually. My father tried to talk my mother out of applying because he knew how things worked - he had experienced it countless times himself, but she insisted and so he went along with it - to be supportive. When the application was denied my mother was really upset - she was an idealist at heart and had a hard time reconciling those inequalities. Anyway, that day my father walked across the bridge and picked a huge, HUGE! bouquet of flowers from the park, right from the dirt! He walked back across the bridge, dirt falling everywhere, the whole neighborhood just cracked up. A small bit of insurrection went a along way in our neck of the woods especially when it involved the North side. It was so funny and my mother really appreciated it - she really loved that part of my father. He was such a straight arrow but always there was that mischievousness, that original ‘troublemaker’ under the surface.
Q: That’s very funny. Says a lot about him.
A: Yeah. He was the real deal but hard to peg down in a lot of ways - which was how he liked it.
Q: Let’s talk about him some more. By profession he was an Engineer, correct?
A: Yeah, a Civil Engineer, worked in the City Planners Office. A boss with many bosses as he would say. What he really wanted was to be an architect I believe.
Q: And why didn’t he pursue that?
A: His family came first. He had old fashioned ideas about responsibility. And I think in some ways he felt that it was just a dream and that it should remain as such. That pursuing it would have somehow been selfish. Engineering was about numbers, equations but most of all, stability and that appealed to him more than anything. Especially as the family grew. So, he put himself through night school and worked days with the construction company that employed his father, my grandfather. Grandpa was the head mason there. (Leans over, stabs out a cigarette, smoke trailing from his mouth. )
He built the walls that surround the city, the ones I pointed out on our way from the airport. The walls that held the sea back as they are known.
Q: When was that storm? 1956 - 57?
Q: You said in the car that your father’s father was very proud of that.
A: Oh my God yes. There were only a handful of men that built those walls and they did it all with their own hands - mostly after hours on their own time. When that storm came ashore in 56 it just devastated the city’s up and down the coast, all of them except for this one. My father tells the story that during the storm his father worried about one thing only and that was that wall. Not his family, not his home, but that wall. And when the storm passed he just swelled with pride. He and the men that built it were lauded as local heroes and they were. When everyone else was cleaning up they went out drinking, rightly so if you ask me.
Q: As I understand ...
A: Think I know where you’re going with this.
Q: I understand there’s more to that story. That it was revealed later that your father’s father and the men he worked with took it upon themselves to reenforce those walls to a greater degree than what the engineers called for. In those days or any for that matter, that amounts to subversion, insurrection - disobeying the state.
A: Yeah. As I understand from what my father told me, the engineers designed a wall to withstand a category 5 storm, but because of budgetary restrictions - really, political reasons it was rejected and amended. Everyone knew the final version would be insufficient. They wanted to build a much stronger wall and argued for it. It was a very public battle, one fought in the papers. But the government said no, too expensive. Meanwhile their spending ridiculous sums of money on vanity projects. They didn’t care because the North side was elevated, on the mountain side. The South side was well below sea level and very susceptible to rising waters. So, the story goes the engineers and masons met after hours and made a plan to fortify those walls.
Q: Without the knowledge or blessing of city officials?
A: Yeah, completely on their own. They diverted materials from less crucial parts of the city plan into that wall. A real act of disobedience. In fact, my Grandpa used to call it true civil disobedience. It was a favorite joke of his.
Q: That’s unbelievable. You wouldn’t see that these days.
A: No, no, not a chance. It’s all about C.Y.A. these days and blind trust of those in power. You know that they are making wise and sound decisions with everyone’s welfare in mind. It’s just not true. The funny thing about this story is that my father, his own son, spent his entire career dealing with the consequences of his fathers actions in a very real, day in, day out sort of way. As the Chief Civil Engineer for the Office of City Planning he dealt with the ramifications of diverting those materials away from the rest of the cities infrastructure into those walls. It’s why the city has never had a decent road. It defined his whole career, in many ways gave him his career.
Q: His father ensured his own son’s livelihood.
A: In more ways than one,yes. An irony not lost on my father by the way. Haunted him for years and years - professionally speaking. Despite that, I believe deep down he was really proud of his father for doing that - he couldn’t or wouldn’t admit to it in professional circles but every once in a while you’d see it when it came up in conversation - he’d light up a bit, a twinkle in the eye, a small smirk.
Q: Is that really the reason for the poor road system?
A: ‘Strong walls, dirt roads’ is what we say. I mean, the argument has been made that we might’ve been better off taking the full hit from that storm. That then we would’ve had to have built new roads and stronger walls. Who knows. Anyway, that wall saved many, many lives, including my fathers and my mothers and therefore mine and my children you see. Future generations built upon a decision to disobey.
Q: Well thank you so much for your time, I really enjoyed talking with you.
A: No, thank you, it’s been my pleasure.
Sean Sullivan 2015