Sunday, October 18, 2020

Island Life

Happy Fall, CT Readers!

I hope you are doing well.

Recently, a friend suggested that since we’ve been in Puerto Rico for 15 months now, I should do an update of life here. So, here goes - both the good & not-so-good.

The Good:

  1. I continue to be mesmerized by the gorgeous, HUGE, puffy cotton ball clouds. They are nothing like what I was used to in New Jersey. They seem to fill up the entire sky.

  2. The landscape is beautifully lush and green (conversely, see #11 on the not-so-good list).
  3. The almost-constant year-round 82 degrees.
  4. The relaxed lifestyle — if the ability to spend almost every day and night in shorts, t-shirts, & flip-flops, or possibly a bathing suit, or tennis/golf togs, speaks to you, then PR is the place for you.
  5. The drop-dead beautiful ocean views around practically every corner.
  6. Inexpensive (compared to NJ), but very good (in my experience) health care.
  7. Inexpensive (compared to NJ), but very good veterinarian care.
  8. The once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing baby turtles making their way to the ocean for the first time.
    Baby Turtles

  9. The adorable Puerto Rican parrots.
    Puerto Rican Parrots

  10. Being lulled to sleep by the ocean waves and a chorus of teeny-tiny Coqui (Puerto Rican frogs).
  11. Fabulous sunrises and sunsets.
  12. Proximity to the USVI & BVI.
    Morning in the BVIs, Feb 2020

  13. Great fresh pineapples, mangoes, and passionfruit!
    Fresh Passionfruit

  14. PR is very compact. If you wanted to, you could drive around the circumference of the island in three hours.
  15. The warmth & friendliness of locals.
  16. People regularly say “buenos dias” (good morning) or “buen dia” (good day) just in passing. 
  17. People sing and dance in the supermarket aisles! By themselves!

The Not-so-Good:

  1. Living with the threat of hurricanes between June & November. 
  2. Very high humidity - some days, the temperature & humidity are the same!
  3. The “Sahara Sands” from Africa that blow through here every year, and deposit micro-sand everywhere in your house. 
    Sahara Sands

  4. Although PR is a US territory, English is not widely spoken, which sometimes makes it difficult to complete certain tasks (such as renewing your car registration, or dealing with medical professionals, electricians, or hair stylists, etc). Thank heavens for Google translate!
  5. The lack of really good supermarkets (oh, how I miss Trader Joe’s, Wegman’s Whole Foods, & even Shop-Rite!).
  6. Forget ordering anything from Wayfair or Overstock or Food52 - they do not ship to PR.
  7. I’ve come to realize that living on an island is not all it’s cracked up to be (forget those deserted island fantasies!), especially during a pandemic. 
  8. The reason healthcare is so inexpensive here is because, on average, the population is very poor, and it’s evident almost everywhere.
  9. Almost weekly power outages. The power grid here was fragile before the double hurricanes of 2017, which pretty much destroyed the electrical system. They are still rebuilding it.
  10. Driving! I’ve come to describe driving here as the “wild west.” People regularly go through red lights, cut you off or go around you if they don’t think you’re turning quickly enough, and drive 30 mph in the left lane (and will not move over). You must drive defensively here.
  11. Really bad roads - I thought potholes in NJ were bad - not even close! 
  12. The lack of ethnic food. Being from the northeast, we were used to getting pretty much any type of cuisine or products in restaurants and stores. We were definitely spoiled.
  13. It rains alot here. Of course, that could be because El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest in the US National Forest Service, is on this side of the island (see #2 on the “good” list).

So if you’ve ever fantasized about living the island lifestyle or going “off the grid,” think twice. Depending where you’re relocating from, it might not be as easy as you think.  All in all, I’m glad we’re trying it, but it might not be the long term game plan.

Have a good week & don’t forget to make a plan to VOTE!