Puerto Rican author Luis Rafael Sánchez’s “La guagua aérea” explores the duality, hybridity, and fluidity of US-Puerto Rican identity through the frequent travel of migrants between New York City (the traditional destination city for Puerto Rican migrants) and the island. In recent years, however, the “flying bus” has adopted a new number one destination: Central Florida. The Orlando metropolitan area has surpassed New York as the primary locus of Puerto Rican migration on the US mainland. Given that migrants on the “flying bus” have a new primary destination and now tend to remain settled in Central Florida versus returning to the island, this essay will use an interdisciplinary approach to Sánchez’s fiction in order to demonstrate that the author’s metaphor for a fluid Puerto Rican identity no longer adequately explains the realities presented by the demographic and migratory shift to the Orlando area. This study also explores the differences between the recent Puerto Rico–Orlando migration and the previous waves of migration, calling into question the traditional revolving door migratory paradigm illustrated by Sánchez.
Published originally in Hispania, vol. 95, no. 1 (2012): 14-23.