Recent days in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 05/21/2019 - 14:08

Woke up. Powered on laptop. Screen froze. Laptop wouldn't reboot.

After looking up laptop repair shops, eating breakfast, drinking beer and coffee and Zombie mixed drink, laptop still didn't turn on. Shook it around a bit. Laptop turns on. Yay!

 San Juan, Puerto Rico

Went to the beach!

Puerto Rican beaches have fine sand. They remind me of Florida.

I think that Puerto Rico or Florida is what you get with American culture on Caribbean land.

Much is private in Puerto Rico, even more than in the continental US. Here I've seen entire streets and neighborhoods behind locked fences.

Puerto Rico pix!

New week in PR!

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 05/20/2019 - 10:41

Finally, a chance to take care of some chores.

Most Puerto Ricans reside in the rest of the US.

It's a small country. Most Puerto Ricans reside in cities.

There's a nuclear power plant!

I no longer like the sensation of drunkenness, in general. Occasionally I do. I still like the taste of many alcoholic beverages. I consider it lucky, because I have a tendency to overindulge.

Puerto Rico weekend

Submitted by eagle on Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:59

Now getting the hang of San Juan.

It's much easier to maintain cleanliness, do work, etc., while in comfortable quiet place than in noisy places or out camping. In PR than in Cuba.


Below, you can find a bunch of blog posts from my first few days in PR, and from my stay in Cuba. I didn't have much wifi in Cuba, to the point that barely had enough to leave the country.

Rock & Roll!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Puerto Rico blog May 18, 2019

Submitted by eagle on Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:59

So far, Puerto Rico strikes me as the most boring Caribbean island. It feels like a chunk of Florida broke off and floated into the sea.


The Spanish-speaking people seem like gringos. They mostly speak English.


I ate mofongo, a pile of fried plantains. Delicious!

The same chain stores. Highways. Things seem private, fenced off here, even more than in the continental US. I've seen entire streets and neighborhoods behind fences.

Puerto Rico blog May 17, 2019

Submitted by eagle on Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:58

Street signs are in Spanish, Puerto Ricans speak Spanish, but they seem to want to speak English with me. Their English is fluent, but they have an accent and sometimes make typical Spanish-speaker mistakes.

Maybe I'll teach English in PR.

Maybe I'll stay at some hotels, now that I can use bank card again.

Maybe camp out again now that I'm in PR.

I'm getting the hang of Puerto Rico. Seems like a boring American city, but with beautiful weather, and Spanish! :)

Just what I want! :)


Puerto Rico blog May 16, 2019

Submitted by eagle on Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:53


Another day, another country! :)


So far, Puerto Rico seems like a beautiful if straightforward country.

I like the people so far, more than in Cuba. I felt the same way about Puerto Ricans versus Cubans in Miami. Both are Latin, Caribbean people, with warmth, comforting food, cool music, etc. Puerto Ricans seem way more relaxed. Cubans seem more insistent.

Seeing store shelves stocked with stuff, what a different sight!

The restaurants here cost considerably more, but provide more of the mains, less of the staples.

It's like being in the US, which it is!

I still haven't figured out many of the details of the country. Is it also considered its own country? What language(s) is/are official? Etc. The signs are in Spanish, people speak mostly Spanish but more English. It feels kind of like being in Texas, etc. It's like being in a Miami neighborhood.

So much to do!

Would Cubans even believe in drive-thrus?

It's much more pleasant in Puerto Rico. Relaxing, boring, etc. Less interesting, scenic.

PR is a more developed economy.

So far Puerto Ricans strike me as somewhat plain. Plain-looking women, plain food, etc.

Closing down tons of open tabs, from Nauta (Cuban wifi often failing, requiring reconnections), Airbnb (often failing, requiring refunds), etc.

PR seems developed to the point that, like other parts of the US, there are few kids. Tons of suburbs, cars, fast food chains, etc.

One benefit of Cuba (in addition to another benefit of muchos pedestrians, etc.) is the plethora of fresh people.

Toyota may be the unofficial car brand of PR. Straightforward, works.

So many products and services. When people are free to buy and sell, they find offerings and prices that suit needs, in often unpredicted ways. It just works.

Puerto Ricans seem more respectful than Cubans.

Some life/travel lessons:

It's insane in this environment to expect peace & quiet, to expect things to go according to plan, etc. Instead, take the plunge, adapt! :)

It often takes two or more tries.

Puerto Rico blog May 15, 2019

Submitted by eagle on Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:48

Upon entry in PR:

Seems far closer to my ideal society than Cuba or mainland USA does!

No huge police presence.

No huge government presence.

Things seem to work.

Laughter! :)

Capitalism works.

So much to think, see, do, try, say, etc.

Things often go "wrong," mistakes happen, etc., but you find ways to travel.

By the way, I think I'm a solid fit for travel, or travel for me.

There's even a subway in San Juan, apparently! :)

Apparently it's hard to get decent Airbnb directions in PR, too. :)

So far Puerto Rico seems like a bigger, more modern society than I would have guessed.

Pop. 5 million? 3 million.

I want to spend a couple of weeks catching up, exploring town, working, meeting people, eating, etc.

Then, maybe a month or two expanding throughout the city.

Then maybe a month or two seeing the rest of the country.

Then maybe boat to Dominican Republic, ride to Haiti? Return to PR?

See if other ferries. Can maybe make PR a base.

Seems like a dense enough country to supply interest for some time, m a few months.

Fresh new country! :)

Part of America. I'll probably get annoyed at the American stuff again soonish. For now it's a breath of fresh air! :)

I'm going for a more tolerant attitude, towards people, places, activities, etc., in PR.

I like small towns.

Big cities can be too loud.

First settle in! :)

Out from the Cuban internet blockade! :)


Cuba blog May 15, 2019

Submitted by eagle on Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:22

A quiet night, after busing then walking.

I feel like I've just about run through my supplies here. I'm down to around 75 cents' worth of pesos. I'm almost done my deodorant, insect repellent. Getting ready to restock! :)

Probably spend at least the next six months, through hurricane season, in Puerto Rico.

Long day!

Made it back to America!

Feels like the future.


Cubans seem pretentious, despite not being particularly smart, wealthy, beautiful, etc.

Each place has its pros & cons. Challenges anywhere.

Cuba blog May 14, 2019

Submitted by eagle on Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:18

I think that what you do is more important than what you study.

The cheap things are often better: laptops, food, hotels, etc.

Often not, though.

Cuba is a beautiful country. I'm ready to leave, for the financial situation (low cash). Also, I'm getting more annoyed by the culture, other than some stand-out individuals. On the downside, there are still a few more parts that I would like to see.

I'm happy to have had the chance to see so much of Cuba, on not much cash. $300 US, much lost in transaction fees and other costs, along with perhaps a few hundred more dollars from PayPal for Airbnb.

You can go far for not much money. Especially in Latin America! :)

It's been quite an adventure!

Walking across Cuba in one direction, then busing across Cuba in a different direction. Tons to see, eat, meet, do, etc.! :)

Tons of feet & face pictures. The important parts! :)

I apparently like the architecture.

It's big, it's bold, it's beautiful.

I like how each building is unique, artistic. It's opposite of US where most buildings are identical copies.

I like how the mangoes, so sweet, fall to the ground. You can pick one up almost anywhere. Here, they taste varied, some like fruta bomba, some like spaghetti squash.

I like the Cuban people more now, after having met a number of them.

On a country farm.

I tried taking a nap.

Now around 1:15 PM Tuesday. Planning to set out on foot at around midnight. 7 km to the international departures. Depart at 9 am.

Things it's common to see a Cuban carrying while walking, biking, or riding a bus: chicken, fan, etc.

Cuban people seem insistent.

They want to be heard, seen, etc.

"oye," "mira," "oiste?", etc.

Maybe explains Fidel's long speeches.

In Cuba, because of the poverty (which is because of communism), also because of the traditional society, people use bike, walk. The cities are more compact than American cities. People eat outside, talk with each other. As a result, it's much more fun, interesting, to walk around Cuban cities. (Also, other Latin cities, probably elsewhere.)

A result of the larger number of people walking, biking, is that car traffic adjusts to pedestrians, cyclists. You can walk down a major street with cars, they'll sometimes go around you.

Here, even elegant women ride bicycles, have to do regular things.

I've had numerous advantageous experiences while traveling in Cuba, many unexpected. Often as a result of mistakes, accidents, "problems."

I think that travel opens one to different environments. The interaction w/ geography & culture other than what one already knew provides different insights about oneself & one's larger (general) environment.

Travel just means going somewhere. You can even travel without physiologically leaving home. As one person mentioned, traveling by Google street view.

After around a month and a half in Cuba, I feel like I've finally started to understand the accent. I don't think I'd gotten to that point in Miami, despite the Cubans there. I may even have picked up some of the accent and vocabulary, even though I still think it's the ugliest form of Spanish. Oiste? ("You heard?") I also have a much better sense of the culture & geography.