Caribbean travels!

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 07/23/2019 - 13:01

So it looks like I won't be going to Republica Dominicana today. The ferry leaves every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I'm still aiming to go this week, if feasible.

While happily "stuck" in Puerto Rico, I plan to do some more work, and see a few of the remaining parts of San Juan, the capital. As I've mentioned previously, I already feel like I've seen most of what I want to see here, but there remain a handful of places of interest.

Map of Puerto Rico with Places of Interest

Some of my stuff continues to fall apart or remain broken -- e.g. the bike, which I plan to fix in RD, since I don't plan to do any more riding in PR. Other things seem to be improving, like my electronics, which have thankfully remained functional for quite a while.

Tons of rain, or as the weather forecast calls it, sunshine.

I like the tropics. Many of my favorite fruits and vegetables come from this region. However, my body does not come from the tropics, so I often find it hard to handle the humidity, and the more intense heat. I do, however, appreciate the lack of cold weather. An occasional cooler night for having a fire could be nice. Anyways, not complaining about lack of winter, which I've mostly forgotten!

Eagle Gamma - July 21, 2019

I also am coming to appreciate the advantages of small islands. While they're much harder to get among than a single large continent, the islands by being so also prevent many of the problems of the mainland. Also, it gives a feeling of satisfaction to go from one country to another so quickly.

Puerto Rico is a country of comfort. People here like their air conditioning, cars, sodas, soft foods, beaches, etc. Anything insufficiently smooth is removed.

I like it here, it's pleasant. I'd be fine staying here for a while longer. However, I'd rather go to more interesting places, which I have not yet seen.

The search for novelty. Is that what travel is fundamentally about? One goes to a different place any time one wants.

I get bored easily. I travel often. I think that people who rarely or never travel have not much boredom. I have a low threshold for boredom, and as such have much boredom if I don't do something about it. Travel requires a ton of different styles of thought and action, introduces different emotions, etc. Travel is my anti-boredom.

I don't think I can exhaust the novelty. The planet is so big and complex -- even a small part of the planet is so big and complex -- that I can easily find interesting things to do for as long as I expect to live.

There are so many possibilities, in travel as at the hardware store. Maybe it's all that possibility!

Any day, a traveler can decide to see, or eat or drink or dance or hear, a never-before-tried item. That freedom -- so many choices!

By contrast, in one place, one faces the same choices each day. Same walks, same shops and restaurants, same people, same languages, etc.

I guess it depends on your personality, what you like. As for me, I do like some routine, but I also have a serious desire for variety!

It's funny how opposite Puerto Rico and Cuba are in some ways, given how comparable the two are in other ways. Both share nearby locations, geography, ecology, heritage, etc. Yet, Cuba is communist and has no commerce with America, while Puerto Rico is part of the United States and in some ways more commercial than America.

Travel, as with many other activities, is an activity that responds to how one does it. Many people think that travel is too hard, or expensive, or dangerous, to do except in the most limited of circumstances. However, by basically pushing oneself out to the places where one wants to go, one can often arrive quite easily, affordably, and safely. Not to minimize the costs of travel (or other activities). It does include some added difficulty, cost, and danger. However, these are often manageable, and they're not totally absent from staying at home.

If you want to go somewhere, I say take a chance. Don't wait too long!

I find it interesting to watch (and participate in) how belongings develop. One maybe starts out with a bike that one picked up on a whim, then later one adds some more parts, makes some replacements. Maybe one replaces the entire bike. Likewise with other equipment -- also attitudes, thoughts, emotions. Eventually, one becomes a different person with different belongings!

I've often been shy. That's part of my basic personality. I do have an outgoing side, I'm not at the extreme of the shyness scale by any means. However, I think that my shyness has prevented me from undertaking some endeavors, making some sales, etc. Travel is an effective way to overcome one's shyness, although the shyness itself still remains underneath one's abilities to overcome it. Travel forces you to get out there, to interact, etc.

Puerto Rico mixes its cultural influences from native, Hispanic, white, etc. sources.

The Puerto Rican people seem to me smooth (sometimes bordering on bland). I like them, although I think I'm quite different from them. I have a hard time picturing Puerto Ricans eating spicy food, being moody, or doing some of the other things I do.

Biking seems fairly popular here as a recreational activity. I've seen numerous road cyclists, a few groups of mountain bikers, and maybe a handful of urban commuters (although not much bike delivery). I don't think I've seen any other touring cyclists, whether from here or abroad.

I'm recovering from my exhaustion after the first few years of travel. I'm now out there working and looking for more jobs, traveling and looking forward to more places, doing different activities -- and still spending some quality time at the beach. :)

It can sometimes be hard to relate to the more normal parts of society, after engaging in some unusual activity like spending a few years traveling. Not that I was the most normal person beforehand, but it's definitely changed who I am.

Overall, I prefer to have the experiences and outlooks from traveling.

Some of the costs -- not just financial, but also missing out on some normal things -- can occasionally feel sad, but in my opinion they're more than compensated for by the uncommon benefits. Plus, I can still do many of the normal activities, e.g. go shopping or ride a bus or whatever.

Each person gets to choose to a large extent what to do. Especially with modern society, technology, etc. Not just one choice, but many. I'm happy with some of my choices, sad about others, but overall positive. Looking ahead to make more decisions and take more actions!!!

There are many ways, and they are often confusing. In my humble opinion, it makes sense to go for your goals, adapting along the way.

Have fun! :)

Last night, walked to a park looking for a quiet place to camp. The park was fenced and locked, of course. Camped outside the park. As it got dark out, a bright light on the outside of the park wall went on. Fell asleep anyways. Woke up in the middle of the night to a huge motorcycle parade! Engines revving, music blasting. So much for the quiet night, but at least it was entertaining.


PR crime

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 07/23/2019 - 10:55

I'd heard and read that Puerto Rico is dangerous, but so far I haven't seen much crime. It doesn't feel like a dangerous place, compared to some of the other places I've seen.

Leaving Puerto Rico

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 07/22/2019 - 14:14

After a long day of minor mishaps yesterday, went to a forest for a place to camp. The forest was closed. Behind a fence, the city of San Juan had locked up the forest for the night!

My return to San Juan confirms my previous reaction. I feel like it's stuffy, hard to get around (huge highways divide the city), weirdly conservative in a liberal territory. I like it, but not as much as I love much of the rest of Puerto Rico.

Going to try taking the ferry to Republica Dominicana tonight. Not sure yet whether or not I'll be able to get on board. Don't know in which country I'll be tonight!

I'm feeling ready to leave PR. I feel like I've already seen basically every part of it that I want to. Now everywhere I go, I feel like I can't wait to get to the next destination! Felt like this also in Miami, Bahamas, Cuba, while approaching departure.

Excited to get to a new country, new city, new culture, new geography!

The older I get, the more I appreciate small towns instead of big cities. I still like the culture and population of large cities. However, it now feels like more of an effort, much more stress. I like the quiet, the slower pace, in the small towns. Kind people, relaxing, spacious!

I'm covered in scrapes and bruises. From camping, riding, etc.!


Submitted by eagle on Fri, 07/19/2019 - 21:07

Puerto Rico is actually quite a rocky island. It has fairly high mountains throughout.

Looks like there are no ferries from Dominican Republic to Turks & Caicos. I had wanted to go, not sure how practical it will be.

I learned that the early human populations on Republica Dominicana came from South America.

RD has had a contentious history, with different interests wanting independence or integration with various larger countries.

Looks like RD arose from the subduction of the American and Caribbean tectonic plates.

Sus dimensiones máximas son:
    • 390 km de este a oeste (Cabo Engaño a Las Lajas)
    • 265 km de norte a sur (Cabo Isabela a Cabo Beata)

From <>

Por cierto, prefiero leer en espanol!

Around half of Haitians are illiterate.

After taking a wild step to get going on this leg of the adventure, I'm now feeling much more confident about getting around the Caribbean. Still plenty of challenges!

For many days now, the weather service has predicted no rain, yet it's rained almost constantly throughout the day.

I've had numerous close calls throughout my travels. Thankfully, I've come out fine! In fact, as I've remarked before, often the problems seem to lead to new heights!

I've had numerous close calls throughout my travels. Thankfully, I've come out fine! In fact, as I've remarked before, often the problems seem to lead to new heights!

Puerto Rico river

Submitted by eagle on Fri, 07/19/2019 - 14:35

Walked some more. The rear wheel probably needs replacement, and there are no bike shops or the like around here. Now traveling through the large river area to the north of the capital. Beautiful trees, including tons of fruit trees. Have eaten fresh avocados, starfruits, and more. Would probably eat even more, but I don't know many of the trees here, not sure which ones are edible!

I thought of leaving Puerto Rico on Monday, but that now looks like it won't happen due to logistical issues. I'm happy about that, because I want to take this part slowly. Gorgeous area!

Bike issues

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 07/18/2019 - 12:32

Continuing to ride, er, walk, through the hills of Puerto Rico. After fixing a few things on my bike, got a flat. Found a nearby bike shop. Picked up a spare tube and some patches. Patched the previous tube. After a brief ride, heard some noises. Looks like the rear wheel finally gave out. Now I'm in a sparse place, with only a barely functional bike. Let's see how to get out of this!


Caribbean reading

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 07/17/2019 - 15:32

From reading, Republica Dominicana seems like a reasonable country now, after its turbulent history.

Reading up about Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic. Haiti also has over ten million inhabitants. The area of Haiti is around half the size.

The money of Haiti is the Gourde. There's not much of it, as the average income is under a thousand dollars per year.

Looking at a map of countries by income (, I like the yellow ones. The golden mean.

Prices have changed a lot over recent decades!

Japan ranks lower than I would have guessed. So does Argentina. Uruguay ranks higher than I would have guessed. Most of the countries that I want to visit are quite affordable!

It looks like Venezuela went bonkers.

In 2018, the country's economic policies led to extreme hyperinflation, with estimates expecting an inflation rate of 1,370,000% by the end of the year and 10,000,000% in 2019[30][31]

From <>

Seems like another socialist dictatorship.

In Venezuela, a person is murdered every 21 minutes.[210] Violent crimes have been so prevalent in Venezuela that the government no longer produces the crime data.[211]

From <

I'm now riding through Caguas, a medium city in Puerto Rico. It has numerous industrial areas, with tons of car shops, heavy machinery, etc.

Haiti has been destroyed by mismanagement, disasters, etc.

Maybe I'll stay in Republica Dominica until after November. It seems like that's hurricane season, and I'd rather be in a more developed county. Plus, I already spent a hurricane with a number of Haitians in a shelter in Miami!


Looking around the Caribbean!

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 07/16/2019 - 13:16

After a long sleepy weekend, back to business!

Starting to research Republica Dominicana.

Looks about five times larger in area than Puerto Rico.

Three time larger population.

1288 km coastline!

1288 / 40 = 32.2 days riding?

One quarter the earnings per capita.

Around 50 pesos per dollar.

The history of Republica Dominicana looks sad & funny (sunny). Many conflicts, revolutions.

I'm surprised that some of the larger Latin economies are Caribbean islands. That means that South America has numerous small economies, I guess.

I look forward to some merengue and bachata.

Now planning to ride up to Caguas. It's a medium, ordinary city in the center of the island (north-south). I'm going more to see the geography, and to spend another while in a different part of Puerto Rico, rather than to see the place as a destination itself.

So it looks like in addition to the 30-day visitor permit, you can apply for 120 day extension!

Proof of onward (or return) transit. Bicycle?

Looks like no Jamaica, Haiti ferries. No ferries for Cayman Islands, Barbados, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao.

Looks like the southern islands may be better connected by ferry.

Looks like ferry for Trinidad & Tobago with Venezuela.