No Fancy Homes

orty years ago. there were no fancy homes in San Pedro like we see today. Now "fancy" might have different interpretations if you ask our architects- large, complicated design, two or three bathrooms, inside parking, jacuzzi and the many amnities that make one's home cozy and comfortable. And since there were no fancy houses. there were no maids either, so the more reasons for men to be faithful with their wives. But let us get back to the houses of yesteryears.

The thatch house was made of pimento sticks and, of course. thatch leaves on the roof. These houses had dirt floors and perhaps one or two windows that were swung open. A piece of cloth stretched across the window served as a curtain and the sunlight would certainly seep through the spaces between the pimento sticks. To decorate inside the houses, the folks would paste the pages of magazines and books all over the wall- a sort of wallpaper. This looked rich and wonderful and kept the sunlight out as well as the mosquitoes.

There was usually no partition in thatch houses, but at times a bedroom would be fabricated using large pieces of carton from carton boxes. One or two hammocks would always be stretched across the houses.

Now, twenty-five years ago, San Pedro was just coming out of the thatch huts with dirt floors and moving into all wooden houses on 8-foot stilts. To begin with, every home looked alike- a square or rectangular house, a front porch as close as possible to the front of the yard, a zinc roof and wooden windows and doors hanging on hinges. Usually the back room served as a kitchen and an annex was built to serve as a bathroom.

These homes did not have telephones, but then were they needed? News still spread like butter on hot cakes. There were no televisions. So what, people found many interesting things to do, except that international news and developments reached us very late. Our homes back then did not have these elaborate sound systems and music boxes. No tape players, no compact disc players, no boom boxes. Instead there were small record players operated by battery only that could be heard at full blast from the sitting room to the kitchen, but could not in any way annoy the next door neighbor. There were no sofas. People used regular wooden chairs. No rugs on the floors. People made their own rugs using crocus bags and decorated with colorful pieces of cloth. There were no king-size beds. Instead hammocks criss crossed the rooms. And what about hot and cold water. No, the kettle water warmed the bucket of bathing water when necessary. Any jacuzzis or spas? No sir, the bathroom was outdoors in a small room attached to the house and the toilets were at the back end of the yard. Any glass windows. No, all-wooden windows hanging on hinges. Any sliding doors? Never, plywood doors were common. Expensive and fancy cupboards? No, usually the shelves in the kitchen served as spaces for the cups and saucers and the frying pans as well.

Were there fancy kitchens with electric ranges and all polished furniure? Instead there were the kerosene oil stoves and some smoky pots and pans hanging from nails on the kitchen walls. Any refrigerators? Yes, only the wealthy people had fridges, kerosene fridges too with a little compartment to make ice,

Most bedrooms were shared by 2 or 3 persons with hammocks for the tired bodies., The bathroom boasted a 4' x 4' concrete slab for a shower and a white metal pan to wash the face and hands. And thinking of fancy home, we can safely say "no air condition units, no ceiling fans, no couches, no polished floors nor carpets, no VCR's, no computers nor fax machines, ice makers nor microwave ovens, not even electric toasters.

But who cared? Nobody missed these things, for what the eyes do not see, the heart does not desire. San Pedro, the quaint little fishing village had quite a different way of life, Indeed San Pedro has come a long way in the past 25 years.

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