Gradually, all this first festively frantic week ends, the Pan American Games are getting a new name - the Pan Demonium Games.
Maybe it's the goats in the parking lot at the boxing arena. They look so at home, like they'll be here when you're gone.
Maybe it's the way the monsoon rains arrive at least once every day. The torrents almost washed away the rifle range - and did wash away the rowing course for two days before anyone could retrieve the buoys that floated to sea.
Maybe it's watching the workmen all week desperately trying to finish the equestrian center before the show horses arrived today. They didn't make it. The dressage was held in what looked like a subway construction site.
Maybe it's the way the whole tennis competition was cancelled, then salvaged, because each country had been told to bring the wrong number of entrants. Pan Am officials had neglected to consult international rules.
Maybe it's the shock that hundreds of guests of the COPAN organizing committee had when they were locked out of their hotel rooms for hours for nonexistent credit violations.
Maybe it's the whole Puerto Rican basketball team playing under hypnosis. Or Trinidad-Tobago sprinter Hasley Crawford, Olympic gold medalist in 1976, refusing to run his 100-meter dash because a Caribbean seer said it would bring bad luck in the 1980 Olympics. Jamaican sprinter Don Quarrie followed suit.
Maybe it's nobody knowing how to get to the 24 arenas and stadiums scattered over the island because Puerto Rico's new highway system - five years in the making - opened only the day before the Games began.
Maybe it's the sense of anticipation for the opening of Sixto Escabar Stadium, on which workemen still are hammering and sawing. When people get inside, everybody wants to see if it remains standing.
The biggest laugh of the week came when COPAN officials announced that things were going so well that Puerto Rica might try to get the 1992 Olympics.
American taxpayers footed the bill for $48 billion of the $60 million tab for this baby. Who picks up the Olympic check?
Perhaps the proper emblem for those games should not be the cute local frog, the "coqui," but should instead be the Columbian roller skater who sat beside Route 167 in the middle of his 20,000-meter race on Friday.
"What's the matter, why did you stop?" he was asked.
Pointing to the hot pavement, and then to his roller skates, he said in broken English, "My wheels have melted."
If these Games ever had wheels, they're off now. Typically, when the roller skating marathoners ended their trek up heartbreak hill, they sprinted across the finish line - and ran smack into a bumper-to-bumper row of parked cars.
A slapstick what-can-happen-next? Atmostphere has taken this island which prefers excitement to order.
The Games opened suitably when terrorists threw their first and only bomb - and blew up a garbage can. Opening ceremonies went as expected - the Star Spangled Banner and the governor were jeered. Teams marching around Bithorn Stadium ended up fetlock-deep in a quagmire behind home plate.
No sooner had Bobby Knight, the U.S. basketball coach, been ejected from a game and censured by officials, than Cuba's top boxing official had to be restrained by police from punching a COPAN official who wanted to make his fighter take a drug test.
Officiating had drawn almost universal criticism. Puerto Rico's own Wilfredo Guzman won a welterweight fight by repeatedly using his head to butt Canadian Martin Mezzara.
"It was a tough fight," said Mezzara. "Guzman would lead with his jab and follow with his head."
"I was just using my brain" said Guzman.
Things here have a tendency to fall apart at crucial moments. The snafu has been raised to an art form.
Canada's center fielder, backpedaling for a catch against the U.S., bumped the fence. It collapsed. He fell over it, and dropped the ball beyond it for what was ruled a three-run homer. The U.S. won, 3-0.
Canadians have been snake-bitten generally. Gymnast Warren Long sighed, exhausted, "I'm so tired I'd trade my bronze medal for a Coke."
Five minutes later, a COPAN official had brought him a Coke, and taken away his medal - awarding it to a Cuban. Something about misreading a judge's handwriting. After five hours of argument, COPAN threw up its hands and gave both Long and the Cuban a bronze.
"There's two kinds of time here," said the U.S. swim coach, "U.S. time and Puerto Rican time, which is 45 minutes later."
On the daily list of events, the 4,000-meter pursuit race in cycling was translated as "the 4,000-meter persecution."
That would be a good name for the parking competition here. Fortunately, it is a local tradition to park anywhere, then bargain over tickets later.
Anothe kind of ticket causes more problems - the ones to get into events. Tehy occasionally are oversold. At a Puerto Rico versus Mexico basketball game, fans locked outside, tickets in hand, chanted, "COPAN has done it again."
Directions to remote stadiums resembld, a treasure map out of "The Gold Bug." "Turn left at the sign that says 'Poligino Tiro,' then try to avoid the chickens and goats for about two miles," instructs U.S. shooting team Captain Joe Barry.
"You can probably find us. The only person we've lost was a general. That figures. He said, 'Oh, I'm sure my driver can find it,' and we havent seen him since."
Any hater of the media should come here for a delightful vacation of laughing at reporters of all nationalities.
COPAN buses oblingly take reporters deep into the hinterland venues - then leave them, never to return.
The day's mad dash is to see which 20 of the 800 media dolts will be allowed inside the village for interviews - on even-numbered days only. San Juan has gas. It is words that are rationed.
In retaliation, U.S. reporters have set up an underground railroad, finessing the gloriously inept, armed-to-the-teeth guards that impede the flow of humanity everywhere.
Oh, well, only one more week to go. If anyone finds a lost general, just send him home. After all, what else can happen?
Did someone whisper, "Skylab?"