On Avenida Tercer Mundo, the main street of San Pancho, at the intersection with Calle Asia, there is a park shaded with grand old trees that is officially named El Parque la Hermandad, the Park of Brotherhood. The people of San Pancho know it as Old Men’s Park. It got the nickname because every day after work, starting at noon, a group of five to ten old men meet there to play dominoes. At the park there are plastic chairs and tables that the men use to play on, hoping that they don’t collapse under them. In the park are many colorful vendors selling baskets, house supplies, and various types of foods. Also there is the San Pancho skate park where young people go to practice their skateboarding. Sometimes the domino players use the skate park ramps to hide their dominoes. Often when the skaters move the ramps, they will find dominoes underneath.
There are three to four guys who are there every day with other men coming and going throughout the day. They will allow tourists to join, on the condition that they know the game and speak Spanish. They play the game with four people at a time. There is first to fourth place and the person who gets fourth place gets eliminated. The next person in line takes his place (but not always—they constantly change the rules, depending on the game). Sometimes they bet on the game. One person will say, “I bet I will win,” and someone else will say, “No, I will win.” The winner takes the bets of that game. And so on until the sunlight fades away.
Michael wrote this about himself: I am fourteen years old and San Pancho has been my home for almost three years.