The Elsa P belonging to Tio Pil (Felipe Paz Sr.) has got to be the cargo/passenger boat with the longest history. Way back in the 1950’s and into the 60’s, the Elsa P was a sailing boat. To make it a motorized boat, Tio Pil removed the mast and built the shade/caseta for the comfort of the passengers and for the captain’s compartment. At this time the Elsa P was a three story vessel with cargo below deck, on the deck and up on the caseta/shade. And just where are the passengers’ seats? Anywhere on the deck where there was a small space with no cargo, or on top of the boxes of merchandise that was part of the cargo.
How lucky one was when there was a mattress on board and one got to sit or lie on it first. Otherwise passengers sat on coke crates, milk boxes and even bags of beans and flour. Note that the third floor was reserved for heavy and large cargo-in this case large pieces of Mennonite furniture, and corrugated construction steel rods. Of interest is that small compartment at the stern. You guessed it right- the boat’s restroom. It consisted of a piece of 2 X 4 board on which one person only could sit. Yes, everything went directly into the sea and there was no problem when the boat was travelling. The problem was when it was docked at the main pier in front of Central park, so Tio Pil had the door to the restroom padlocked.
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