Showing posts from April, 2014

Puerto Rico: Day 1 and 2, Olde San Juan

I cannot think of a better family airplane movie than " The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. " The story of a single guy stuck in a work rut that dreams of adventure. Only to find himself in a predicament where he finally must take the travel plunge. This movie sets the tone of don't hold back, don't play it safe and life is to be experienced. And so, my family travels to Puerto Rico . Another Wood Family Circus. PR is an American protectorate, territory and commonwealth and is hotly debated as to whether it should become the 51st state. As luck would have it, on the courtesy van ride to our car rental, the patriarch of the family riding with us was a hedge fund manager. He educated us on the bond trading of US businessmen and the huge debt burden related to this island. For all intents and purposes Puerto Rico is too poor to incorporate into the Federal system. It does have an incentive program for billionaires, baby boomers and aggressive investors trying to avoid i

Puerto Rico: Day 3, Cabo Rojo and Boquerón

We have booked a week stay at Aquarius Beach Club in Boquerón . This is a timeshare getaway or else we would have more slowly circumnavigated the island and stayed at various hotels. Our hotel is on the southwest corner of the island and as such we are missing the zip-lines of El Yunque National Forest and the Vieques Island (which our hedge-fund "friend" tells us is where many of the ex-pats are living). Not because we consider the island particularly big geographically to drive but the under-groomed, winding side roads and generally slow highway speeds make for slower-than-expected travel. The Boquerón Beach is sauntering distance from our hotel and is a crescent shaped, white sand, locals favorite. It is also a wildlife manatee refuge. Very cool but inherently filled with seaweed and thus sand fleas. Not my first choice. The seaport village is quintessential olde worlde pirates hang-out.  I dubbed it Popeye's Sweethaven of PR. Vendors sell fresh oysters and cl

Puerto Rico: Day 4, Playa la Playuela, Faro de Los Morrillos

In general, we have observed a very nice, clean, healthy Puerto Rican culture. Compared to other meso-Americana countries, the littering is less pervasive, the smoking is less than any East Coast town, anywhere.  Beaches are pleasantly picked up after and fitness/bicycling is everywhere. I even had an old man tell me in broken English that the unrefined dark sucré is better for you than that from the Dominican Republic. There is one thing, however, I now call baked cerveza eau de urine, there is a certain smell which is always present in the central Americas, it's a mix of salty asphalt, stale beer and discarded liquor bottles all baked by the hot, hot, hot sun. And yes, it is present here, too. On route to suss-out the fishing harbor of La Parguera and investigate boat trips to Bahia de  Fosforescente we decided to scenic route-it to Faro de Los Morrillos de Cabo Rojo , a quaint and well-maintained 1882 Spanish lighthouse at the tip of the most arid end of the island. He

Puerto Rico: Day 5, Gozalandia Waterfalls & Mayagüez

There are many similarities one can draw from the "West Indies" that Puerto Rico itself carries-on in tradition and/or in appearance. The Spanish language et al, the equatorial weather effects, trashy, littered lots, bombed-out cement buildings and starving, begging wholly-intact ferrel dogs and cats. That being said these negatives are not nearly as present as in many other Central American countries I have visited (which is honestly quite extensive).   Nonetheless, mostly due to political graft and the natural disaster of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, where 28,000 people were displaced from housing, many homes, apartments and compounds have been completely abandoned and left to rot. Most cats serve an important service of controlling rodents, but we have seen, much to my heartbreak, at least one starving dog. The San Juan Tele has many humane animal service ads and I hope as the country continues to spiral up economically, so does the animal control.   On a more positive