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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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita), 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 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venezuela>

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 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venezuela#Suspension_of_constitutional_rights

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?

https://www.travellerspoint.com/guide/Caribbean_ferries/

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.

Rounding out Puerto Rico

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 17:03

More riding, rapidly approaching the capital, San Juan.

Rear bike wheel, which was somewhat out of true when I bought the bike, continues to skew, still rides.

Tons more to cover!

What a large, complex planet we inhabit. So many things happening, and ever-changing. Can't see it all, but at least we can aim to see the parts we most desire!

 

Beach day!

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 07/10/2019 - 20:18

I wish that wifi worked at a somewhat longer range. I think that 802.11 AC does, but that most wifi hotspots only support older types. Often, the only places that reach the wifi are loud, in the sun or rain, in parking lots, etc. Slightly bigger range would make a huge difference!

I'm now aiming to go up to Caguas. I'll want the extra week or so in Puerto Rico anyways. I have tons of stuff to do. Also, it's a beautiful country and I'm sure I'll find things to appreciate there, and in the surroundings, even if it does mean being away from the beach for a short period! Anyways, the ride doesn't look too steep, and it seems like an attractive part of the island.

Quiet day today, took care of some chores at the beach!

Puerto Rico thoughts

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 07/09/2019 - 21:48

Mixing up a fresh batch of work, activity, life!

I like work, from time to time.

Work keeps you honest, contributes to society, improves your function/competencies, etc.

Also, obviously, it pays the bills -- enables you to eat, have shelter, fix bikes, etc.

Summer in the Caribbean. The heat and humidity are unbelievable. It's like 33 C and cloudy, I feel so heavy and sleepy. It feels like I'm wearing a 400-pound blanket. I can hardly stand up, and I feel short on breath. When I lie down, I start to drift off to sleep. It's beautiful, comfortable, but hard to do anything!

Some people ask me if I regret not having a regular job in a regular place. Not much. Traveling globally by bicycle is a lot more interesting and exciting than most jobs.

I feel like I am in an uncommonly lucky position, having the skills and opportunity and other requirements to travel widely. Not that I ascribe much to skill. I think I've had tons of luck. Many people can do the same basic activities, like riding a bike. It's more a matter of chance, desire, commitment, work, luck, etc.

Also, my joints are severely stiff, which also comes from the cycling. My hips in particular are feeling sore.

And my face is super congested.

Annoyingly (for me, anyways), the most interesting things are often very different from the most paying things.

I think you can tell a lot about a place from the vehicles people drive, and a lot about a person from the vehicle. Puerto Rico seems to be a land of Jeeps, Mitsubishis, Toyotas, and Suzukis. This says to me that it's a place for outdoors activities, not an extremely wealthy but not extremely poor.

Long days/daze!

I like spending a long while on one type of activity, whether lying on the beach, or working, or riding, or socializing, then have another day for a different activity, perhaps much more than having days mixed up with some of this, some of that. Maybe it's more efficient. Anyways, I get into a mood, a frame of mind, an attitude, and it feels easier just to continue with that instead of shifting gears. Let's say I'm in beach mode, then I feel stressed at even the thought of socializing or working or cycling or doing anything other than decomposing on the beach. Likewise, if I'm working, then I don't want to stop, even for basic biological needs.

The weather contributes substantially to my moods. On a gray, cloudy, rainy day, I hardly feel like socializing or going to the beach anyways (usually). I'm thankful that my moods correspond somewhat to what's convenient for the weather, which I suppose my moods probably evolved for.

The longer I'm in Puerto Rico, the more I like it. This seems to happen with most places I go. I think there's also such thing as overexposure, too long in one place. Right now, I'm somewhat sad that I'm almost around the island. Also, quite happy to look forward to more countries!

Overall, I feel much better while having a long-term mix of activities: travel, work, socializing, thinking, relaxing, etc. I think that it's important for humans to have this balance. Each activity provides different benefits. We need some exercise, some quiet rest, some cameradarie, and much more.

The tropics are hard on my body. The climate favors certain activities, the ones more typical of the tropics like lying around eating fruit, socializing, etc. However, as Puerto Rico plainly shows, you can also get on with it and do your job anyways!

 

Back to business!

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 07/08/2019 - 22:17

After another beautiful weekend at another beautiful beach in Puerto Rico, ready for more work!!!

While I usually prefer travel to work, sometimes I like to have a heavy set of work to do. Either because of the weather, or my mood, or for finances, or other reasons, I sometimes prefer to huddle up and work. Usually after a long period of travel. Now is one of those times!

There are often disappointments, impierfections, shortcmings, etc. I think it makes sense to be tolerant of those, since they're part of the way things go. Instead of complaining, just moving on in a different direction. There are, after all, oh so many different directions to go!

 I am happy to be in Latin America. It's one of my favorite places on the planet!

 

 

Arecibo

Submitted by eagle on Fri, 07/05/2019 - 08:46

Woke up before 2 AM today, to ride up to the telescope at Arecibo.

Feeling tired, but solid!

Tent broke even further last night while setting it up in heavy wind. Now I think it's unlikely to work again in a decent format.

After a while of exhausting work, you need to replenish!

Plans are just that. Often, things don't work out per expectations. Plans are built on presumptions, often imprecise. When action happens, it should respond to observations, not just presumptions! An old but recurring travel/life lesson.

 

Puerto Rico notes

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 07/03/2019 - 22:49

There are so many possibilities in life.

It seems like such a shame just to do the default. Instead, through taking wild chances on our dreams and desires, we can sometimes achieve remarkable outcomes, experiences.

Camped out in a field last night. Large plants. In the tropics, there's so much sunlight and rain that plants grow rapidly. Grasses, pseudo-trees, etc., putting out as much stuff as they can, as fast as they can.

Puerto Ricans seem to get food right, in a basic sense. Puerto Rican food is often not very innovative. It consists of many staples, such as rice, beans, bread, bananas, etc. However, they make it hot, soft, fast, and affordable. They do not use much in the way of spices. The food tastes comforting, if not that exciting.

Puerto Ricans seem quite musical. I often hear Puerto Ricans singing or whistling or humming, more than elsewhere. Puerto Rico has also produced a number of internationally known musicians and hit songs.

Puerto Rico is a beautiful country to visit. It's small enough that it's densely packed with interesting things, and easy to get around. Just about every day, I find something rewarding. That's one benefit of a small island. Unlike huge continents where you can find days of repetitive places, here you soon get into a different section of land.

Puerto Rico is a very convenient place. Things seem to go smoothly. Quite a contrast versus Cuba!

Happy Independence Day!

Quiet

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 07/02/2019 - 18:44

Again, spent another day at the beach. I like these three-day weekends!

I have an addictive personality. I have no more food, water, or sunblock. I feel like if I had sunblock, I would probably stay even longer!

One thing I especially like about Puerto Rico is the attitude. After spending a while in paternalistic societies, such as the USA and Cuba, where people constantly watch you and interfere with any deviation from the norms, here people generally let you go, and if anything contribute to your preferences.

In those previous places, I often had to explain to police, nosy neighbors, and others, what I was doing, often followed by a visit to the police station. Here in Puerto Rico, I haven't even had interactions with the police, aside from standing near off-duty cops.

Found a place off the map. Or, rather, got lost in a place off the map.

Rode/walked uphill from the beach. Had a hard time making it back to civilization.

Followed a couple of horses. Finally made it to a gate. Thankfully it was openable!

After that, in the burning hot sun, the hard-to-breathe humidity, without sunblock, kept going. Stopped for a giant plate of rice, beans, cod, plantain, and a coke. Kept going, made it to a panaderia. Picked up some bread, more coke, some cheese, and a pastry. Kept going, stopped at a fruit stand for mavi, a brownish fruit beverage. Kept going, now at wifi.

 

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