Available Online Archive of Puerto Rico Lifestyle Magazine Articles
Understanding the Politics of Puerto Rico - Politics are everything in Puerto Rico. First off, even in the last election 70% of the voting-age population cast a vote, which is significantly higher than the statistics for the U.S. Politics are constantly discussed on the streets, on the radio, in the newspaper, everywhere. It can be a little overwhelming if you’re not really interested. The only comparison I can think of is how Americans talk about football during football season. It’s really, really big.
While not a complete archive by any means, the following is the complete list of articles available online from PuertoRicoLifesyle.com Magazine.
Confusing Latin American Geographies - So, this isn't so relevant, I think, but it is kind of humorous. Watching some Italian singing contest show (we get Rai here... I know, I know, it's no good but it's the only thing we have in Italian and, like a surprising number of Puerto Ricans, my friend studies Italian, so we have it on frequently), they have on some Argentine... I think footballer player?
Tourist Assaulted in Puerto Rico by Rogue Wall - On a pretty normal day, a day not unlike today, I expressed midway through a movie-film that it was time for me to take my leave and empty my teeniest, tiniest bladder against the best chronological conveniences of those around me. Mind you, we've had all kinds of problems with movie theaters in Puerto Rico, but none compared in my mind to the assault I suffered unto the face upon merely not paying attention to where I was walking.
The Best Beaches of Puerto Rico - Being an island, there are, of course, lots of beaches in Puerto Rico. Quality varies, but the geographical location is the greatest determining factor. North and east-side beaches touch the Atlantic. Most of these beaches are decent, but in general are nothing particularly special.
Spiderman Collectible Trumps Other Tourist Glory - If there's one thing I love more than anything, it's a "thing". Can't tell you what it is, but it's probably something, and something I really, really love. What I can tell you is what I love more than that, and it's another thing. Not just "another thing" but the other thing, which is the joy of a random toy, regardless of where it is. This article is in edification of that random, second thing.
Speaking like a Boricua - This post is one of the most important ones, whether you're looking to work, live or just visit Puerto Rico. You have to know how to speak like a Boricua. Well, you don't have to, but it can really help.
A Super Short History of Puerto Rico, Part-1 - All right, this is going to be Puerto Rican history in a nutshell. Before Christopher Colombus arrived in Puerto Rico in 1493, the island, like much of the Caribbean, was populated by Taíno Indians. The Taínos became slaves for the Spaniards and were practically exterminated... there are a few different opinions to whether the Taíno is "extinct", I wrote a paper on this in Spanish so I'll be sure to upload that eventually. Anyways, in response to a lack of workers the slave trade was born. Other than this, Spain more or less ignored the island. It was attacked by the English, Dutch, and French for years and it was a popular place for pirates, notably Puerto Rico's own Cofresí.
A Super Short History of Puerto Rico, Part-2 - So, the Spanish-American War ends after the U.S. blockades Puerto Rico for long enough that the people were very welcoming to the American troops. It doesn't help that they were promised the liberty that the Spaniards didn't give to them. Of course, as you might have noticed, that's not really what they got.
Waterproof Sunscreen Ineffective Against Crying - When selecting a brand, type and configuration of sunscreen, it's important to bear in mind your needs, lifestyle and personal habits. For us, it was easy to choose a high SPF rating, opt for the waterproof, and go with a trusted name brand. What I didn't take into account was my personal propensity for crying, and none of the brands had anything to protect me from that.
Word of the Week: Zafacón - So we just happened to start talking about this and I thought posting it was imperative, since it's a real useful word.
Expatriation Rumors Heat Up, Pickup Steam, Verily Smolder - Assorted grumblings have been wafting across the gossip airwaves. I've seen boxes packed, tourist guide books perused and luggage equal parts purchased and packed. I'm not sure if it amounts to anything, but I'm guessing probably not. By the way, when is this "Puerto Rico" time period I keep hearing about?
Good News for Gay Puerto Rico - The infamous Resolución 99 didn't get passed. The goals of it were to restrict all marriage to unions between a man and a woman... you know, the usual. Here is Gay.com's article.
Puerto Ricans Unwilling to Exchange My Money - I knew when we landed in Puerto Rico we'd need money, and we'd need it equal parts "bad" and "fast," but what I didn't realize was that nobody would exchange my money for the local currency. The obvious snag in the nylon would be that Puerto Rico isn't a sovereign nation and uses US currency just like back home, and what I've experienced points to a very different problem.
Word(s) of the Week: Fruits - I wrote a post about bananas on the island (and how they're called guineos rather than plátanos amarillos or bananos or what-have-you from other countries). I've been meaning to follow that up with some more (emphasis on "meaning to"; I'm a bit forgetful I suppose). Anyways... fruit!
Botanists Shocked by Porcupine Tree Discovery - I've established my reputation as a discoverer over the past few years to the point where there's plainly no need to defend myself any further, so when I discovered this latest thing, the Caribbean Porcupine Tree, I expected immediate acceptance and recognition, but it seems those so-called "botanists" are an elitist group, somehow deferring instead to their "existing record of known plants."
Satire News Site Announces Twice Daily Publication Schedule - One of the oldest satire websites on the net, Glossy News, has announced to the surprise of many that they are returning to a twice-daily publication schedule. While traditional news may be dying off, this misfortune may be the very grounds for the 7-year-old spoof news bellwether has been able to get back on top of the fake news game.
Referendum or Restitution? - So the never-ending status question has been raised again, this time with the can of worms by Gil the Jenius and then the can of snakes from DONDEQUIERA. In this second post a series of questions are posed and in my usual fashion I've decided to respond. Not in order of the questions, of course, but in the order they fall in naturally. If we're going to stick with metaphors, let's call this the can of anacondas, shall we?
Go to Puerto Rico! Please! - So again, I'm urging everyone to go to Puerto Rico. Not because I or anyone I know gets something from it (I wish!), but just because it is an amazing place with something for everyone.
Nightmare Profile – The Search for Lost Luggage - Something woke me up the other night in a cold, hot sweat. It was so disturbing I swore I'd write an article about it, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. I should really start keeping a journal or, for that matter, learn how to write but, in the meantime, I'll tell this story in its stead; that of the tale of lost luggage.
Semana Santa in Puerto Rico (an Easter Thing) - So, my favorite Swede living in Puerto Rico (not that there are that many anyways!) asked me how Puerto Ricans celebrate Easter and semana santa in comparison to Spain and other parts of Latin America.
Terrible Game Review: Chicken Shoot for Nintendo Wii - There is no shortage of reviews that show just what a terrible game can be bought in "Chicken Shoot", but I somehow let my desire to get a good deal overcome me when I made my purchase, even though I had read the reviews, and I really did know better. It's not so much that you should expect something spectacular for $14.99, but the real problem is that stores simply shouldn't be carrying garbage of this sheer incomparability.
Puerto Rican Coffee, or Why You've Never Had Any - Before the Spanish-American War, coffee was one of the strongest industries of Puerto Rico. Along with sugar and tobacco, it dominated exports. So why is it today nearly unheard of?
Crush on Dora of Explorer Fame Finally Realized - Like any good American, I watch an inordinate, almost embarrassing amount of television. Personally, I'm partial to cartoons and shows involving adults dressed as oversized animals, typically dancing around while pretending to teach some lesson or other, but what I'm most partial to is that most alluring of child-centric starlets, Dora the Explorer.
Seattle Felony Criminal Advice: Never Take the Plea - If it was a year ago and you were brought up on charges, I'd have suggested you might not want to take the plea deal, even if you believe you committed the crime for which you were accused. Today it's a whole new world, and you'd have to be crazy to take a plea deal today. The system is now as bankrupt financially as it always has been spiritually, and the chances that you'll face a worse fate for facing trial is finally approaching zero.
El Día de Soy Americano - A Brief History of American Citizenship in Puerto Rico - So apparently the Puerto Rican legislature is trying to get a(nother) holiday celebrating American citizenship added to the calendar (for May 20th). Well, technically, it already existed, but they're reviving it. The other holiday celebrating American citizenship is March 2nd, "el Día de la Ciudadanía Americana", in case you were wondering.
Río Piedras Bookstore Delight - Yesterday we took a short field trip to Río Piedras so I could go book-shopping. I'm a closet voracious reader and the only way to get books from the island is to go shopping here, or at least until the bookstores get their act together and start selling them online (one has already started – but I'll get to that in a minute.)While I'm guessing there are bookstores all around the island, the only ones I know of and the ones that are most familiar to Puerto Ricans in the metro area are the ones in Río Piedras. Because the University of Puerto Rico's main campus is located there, bookstores have been built all around it. I really do mean all around it--the streets right off of campus have plenty of bookstores. Not surprising since the university publishes nearly all the books about the island.
(also, see more pictures from Rio Piedras.)
More Photos from Rio Piedras - If you want a better taste of Rio Piedras, these photos taken by our own Allison W. might give you a better idea.
Keanu Reeves Has Earned 1/4 Billion from The Matrix - If you're a big fan of The Matrix, or The Matrix Reloaded, you likely assume Keanu Reeves earned a hefty Hollywood sum, and you'd be partly right. He did earn a massive pile of money, but it was more like a Kingly sum. Of course, if you're a big fan of The Matrix Revolutions, you're either imaginary or someone who hasn't actually seen the film.
Movie Nights in Puerto Rico - What with all the hype about a recent blockbuster movie I won't name, thought I'd remind people of a couple things.
Airlines All Equally Yucky at Customer Service - With all the articles I spread and share the world over, you've got to hold an ounce of doubt about me. I'm young, less-than-seasoned and juvenile in more ways than I'd ever admit short of my own daddy paying it unduly upon me after I've already cleared an article to run. Beyond that, a big thing I've learned is that there are no good airlines left, not even a single one, and that they're all just a bunch of clowny-jerks. That's right, I said it, "Clowny-Jerks!"
Word(s) of the Week: Cucubano and Cucullo, Plus Tony Croatto - Tonight I was outside, enjoying the breezy dusk we were having here. It's summertime, of course, and the cool nights nearly make up for the muggy days. Anyways, I called my friend over to look at the fireflies, which were everywhere. She was pretty impressed with how many there were... enough, I suppose, to call her mom and tell her about it.
Caribbean Could Benefit from Qualified Exterminator - I know that us beggars are of the sort that we shouldn't also beg to be "choosers," but sometimes the shoe fits, the meme matches and (in this case) the bugs just bite too hard. Pardon my begging booty a minute but, is it just me or could the whole island or Puerto Rico benefit significantly from the work of a qualified, competent exterminator?
A Night with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra - I went to go see the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. I know, perhaps it seems strange for those of you paying attention since I pathologically avoid Nuyorican things, not because they're not of quality, since they are, just that Puerto Ricans and Nuyoricans are two different groups of people and I can only stretch myself so far. I guess that'll be something else for me to explore later on.
Saunter Ponies-Up Fun, Regardless of Naysaying - Think back, if you're able, to a time when you were outweighed by a load of groceries. Sure, it was a simpler time, a time when even the littlest things made you happy. I know this because I am myself so unafflicted by the confines of gravity, and the things of greatest minutia indeed delight me in spades. In this case, specifically, it's a pony.
Speaking with Facial Expressions - So early on in the creation of the blog I made a post about the Puerto Rican accent in Spanish. I've gotten a bit distracted from talking about language and how Puerto Ricans speak... not entirely, of course, but of course everything comes down to politics, so a fair part of the blog has been, for better or worse, dedicated to that. I think it's about time I returned to a language topic though.
Pizza Trailers Find Profit in Licensed Cartoon Theft - I love pizza and commercially licensed, protected cartoon characters as much as the next guy, but when it comes to full-price pizza sold at a cost equal to the piracy of the very same cartoon characters who lured me over in the first place, I've got a beef, and it ain't that mystery meat sprinkled liberally between the melted mozzarella.
Jorge Nunez Advances, Tatiana Blows Her Second Chance - Just a couple days ago we made the bold prediction that American Idol finalist Jorge Nunez was sure to be eliminated, and that Puerto Rico's best chance at the finals was the unlikely possibility that Tatiana Nicole Del Toro would be brought back in the judge's wild card round… boy did we miss the mark on that one. Jorge wasn't ranked 4th out of all the guys, but 3rd overall. And Tatiana finally got a fair shot, she just didn't live up to it.
Use of English in Puerto Rico, or, How to Deal with the Inevitable "Gringo" Label - So I was asked recently if Americans speak English or Spanish while living in Puerto Rico. The answer is a bit complicated so I want to start with some history first.
Idol's Jorge Nunez Slated for Elimination Tonight - If you've been reading Puerto Rico Lifestyle the last few weeks, you know we've done our best to promote the best and brightest of Puerto Rico in America's biggest popularity contest. Our promotion of Jorge Nuñez and Tatiana Nicole del Toro hasn't been a strict matter of pride, but a matter of talent, even in the face of the odds we know are stacked against them. Well, sadly, Jorge Nuñez put on a show-stopper of a performance, and tonight he'll leave American Idol.
Cockfighting is Still Legal in Puerto Rico - Cockfighting, surprisingly, is still legal in Puerto Rico, even though it's illegal in the United States (including Louisiana as of late). Interestingly enough, it's legal in Guam as well--maybe it's a U.S. territory thing?
Butcher Ponce de Leon Still Revered in Slaughto Rico - I'm new to the history game, having only recently learned that things happened before I was born. As an American, I prefer the narrow view, believing instead that everything important throughout all of history happened since I was born, specifically to me. This respect for Ponce de Leon, however, defies my limited comprehension. I thought he was kind of a bad guy, but just goes to show what I know.
Why Puerto Rico? (A Primer for Would-Be Travelers) - So, as we get started, maybe you're wondering what is so exciting about Puerto Rico, anyways. Why aren't I writing about Mexico or Chile or Spain instead? And why should you be interested in going?
Age Exaggeration Aids Airfare Budget by Hundreds - I may be many things, but one I'm not is a liar. Sure, I may fudge when it comes to curiously missing chocolates or point the finger when it comes to my turn in the blame game, but I don't admit to lying, even when I'm lying down. If not telling the truth is lying, then here's hoping we all can make a tidy fistful of Benjamins everytime we do it. Tell you one thing, we sure did this time.
Puerto Rico Expects Decades More of Flooded Streets - The director of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will take another 20 years before it can control Puerto Rico's infamous flooding problem because no money is available.
Letter to the Editor: In Defense of Tatiana Del Toro - While looking for information on Tatiana Del Toro on the Internet, I immediately came across your article in her defense.
Roadside Zoo Offers… Wait, Roadside? - As you drive the Puerto Rican countryside, it's not uncommon to see a truck parked off the highway with a huge "Exotic Birds" sign, but the offering is almost zoo-like in variety. They boast chickens, ducks, rabbits, kittens, puppies, pigeons, ponies, land crabs of assorted colors, and even the big draw, exotic birds… but it's on the side of the road, so um, what gives?
American Idol's New Low: the Tatiana Del Toro "Nude" Libel Begins - We can't pretend for a minute that Tatiana Del Toro is our favorite to take the top spot in this 2009 American Idol competition*, but she's still a human being, and as hard as Idol executives are working (Fremantle, 19-Entertainment) to undermine the very humanity of Puerto Ricans, this new revelation has simply gone too far… Now, it seems, there are naked photos of Puerto Rican finalist Tatiana Del Toro. Don't believe it, folks, you've got the propaganda all wrong.
Gúanica Dry Forest Has Something for Everybody, Except Humans - Deep in the heart of the bowels of the east, southeastern portion of Puerto Rico lies an unusual place. Not just unusual on the island, but across the world. Puerto Rico is home to one of the exceptionally few "dry forests" and it's a site to behold, assuming you have the hydration to behold it… which statistically, you don't.
Initiating Sex with Puerto Ricans and the Word of the Week: Wiki Wiki - So I pull open El Nuevo Día today, and of all things to write an article about, they have one about how Puerto Ricans use language to initiate sexual relations (I can't think of a better way to say that). It's an extremely interesting subject linguistically and I have to admit I am jealous of the researcher.
Walgreens and the American Corporative Takeover of Puerto Rico; Plus, Farmacies - So, this post from Dondequiera about how Walgreens has bought 20 Farmacias El Amal has inspired me to confront two important topics.
Puerto Rican Baseball Winter Leagues "Almost Better than the Real Thing" - Baseball's winter leagues have long been a point of heated debate for Americentric fans as well as players. Some players participate for pride-in-heritage, while others do it to stay sharp over the off-season. Whatever the reason, the fans are ultimately the winner, because the four Caribbean leagues are an amazing place for them to sharpen their game, perfect difficult shifts in techniques, and all while putting on an amazing show for the small crowds on hand.
American Idol Shuns Puerto Ricans, Embraces Nude Model "Bikini Girl" - American Idol's contentious and often despised "Group Week" has come and gone, but if there is one thing we now know for sure, it's two things: Puerto Rican's are only being included for the sake of novelty, and tasteless, human jokes are still free to move forward in the competition. Sure, we're looking at you, Norman, but worst of all, we're looking at the nude photo posing "Bikini Girl" Katrina Darrell, whose naked photos have already shown up online.
Wii Review: Offroad Extreme: Special Edition - Since our purchase of the Nintendo Wii last year, we've been doing our best to consider games as they come around, and do our best to review them as it's appropriate. We've been shopping since then like regular folk, but we've been suckered in to at least a couple lackluster Wii purchases, and this terrible game is just one such example.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga for Nintendo Wii - Of all the cut-rate games I've bought for the Nintendo Wii, none meant much for me than headache. After buying the Nintendo Play (which came with a controller, so I was warned to have low expectations,) and falling for another title I won't even bother naming, my faith in the system was entirely shaken… and then I found Lego Star Wars, and my modern gaming life just may now be complete.
Chaseable Pigeons Revel in Survival-Based Fitness - Unbeknownst to most animals, they are among the chaseable creations. I have proven that even scavenger and parasite species that require our presence to survive are never more than a few rapid steps away from being chased. Research further proves that these chased critters just love being pursued.
Letter to the Editor Regarding Taino Ninja Article - This letter was in response to the article Despite Appearance, Tribal Native Denies 'Ninja' Status.
Blair.com Might Not Be a Scam, Except It Is - I've made the mistake of buying from an online retailer with a short name before, with disastrous results (thanks for nothing, lousy Buy.com,) but the jokers at Blair.com are real scammers in ways I couldn't have even imagined. Order hasn't materialized, tracking numbers never work, and the telephone help is rude at best… good work, guys!
Passports Pointless por Puerto Rico - In my culture we have many customs but, if you ask people who are not from my culture, you'll find that their experience of American customs is very different. Thing's like body cavities, racial profiling and all kinds of assorted awkwardyness. What's odd though is I flew more than half a day, but never crossed these "customs" clowns.
Letter to the Editor Regarding Coverage of the Camuy Caves - I'm Puerto Rican and for accident read your web site. I'm sending you a notice from the people that discover the caves and expect that you can understand that for security the total of the caves isn´t open for the public. Damn!!! You try to do a bad message or what?????????
Letter to the Editor Regarding Puerto Rican Tattoo Safety - How dare you think you can publish such trash as your article about being tattooed in Puerto Rico. Not only is it offensive to the artists and our Board of Health that have done everything in their power to keep tattooing clean and up to the reputation that Puerto Rico has stood for in these MANY years we have had tattooing on the island. The island of Puerto Rico has proudly NEVER had a reported case of a client getting sick due to a tattoo.
Man Assaults Puerto Rico Ex-Gov – Ordered to Counseling - A businessman that punched the former governor of Puerto Rico, apparently because he criticized President George W. Bush, has been ordered to anger-management classes. Although he's never met the exiting 43rd US president Bush the junior, and didn't even wage his attack with so much as a shoe, he was facing up to eight years in prison for his lashing out. He was also sentenced to more than five years of probation and required to take counseling for alcohol abuse.
Shell Oil to Pay Mere $1 Million for Puerto Rico Water Pollution - Long time "friend of the environment" Shell Oil has graciously agreed to pay just over a million dollars, plus another quarter million, because they've been compelled to do so, following guilt in the illegal discharge of pollutants into a creek that flows to the Caribbean Sea.
Humor: The Universal Language - In Puerto Rico, as elsewhere in the US, 2008 was a year when race and national identity were front and center on the national stage as Obama waged his historic campaign to become the first non-Anglo Saxon man to win the White House. It's no wonder then that even in the world of satire and humor, Obama remained at the center of it all (despite the fact that humorists everywhere lament the departure of the easy target that Dubya provided).
Sharon Osbourne Continues Wicked Reputation - We've seen that Sharon Osbourne and wondered how much of the icy face we see is put on by MTV and how much of it is the machinations of her own inner demons. Between the erratic behavior on her American obscure end cable show and what I've learned from the likes of Ricky Gervais, I had to wonder, but when I finally got my screener copy of the BBC hidden camera show "Balls of Steel", I knew for sure… that lady isn't just crazy, she's straight up evil, almost as if she's trying to reinvent the very devil herself.
Travelocity Successfully Books Longest Route Possible - Over the course of the past day I've enjoyed many firsts. My first trip to the airport, first nightmare through security screening, and even my first flight on an airplane. Thanks to Travelocity, I not only saved a bundle, but also got to experience my second flight and my third flight as well. Who knew saving money could be so sucky?
Richard Branson's Virgin Airlines Offers Direct London to Puerto Rico Flights - Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited has officially announced that they have signed a deal to begin direct flights between London and Puerto Rico beginning in 2009. Puerto Rico tourism director Terestella Gonzalez says weekly flights will generate about $30 million a year in tourism revenue for the island, and that they will begin very quickly.
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony Fly Back to Puerto Rico - Even though there were early reports on muck-raking sites like TMZ, it seems none of them were worth any more than the paper nobody even bothered to print them on. All these rumors and reports aside, pop singer and Hollywood A-Lister J-Lo was seen boarding a flight with music master husband and mega-hunk Marc Anothony. Break-up rumors were largely distributed by the E! network, but no substantiation has yet come to fruition.
Nintendo Wii Offers New Incentive for Autistic Children - It was a good few months ago when we first had an opportunity to let one of our staffers try his hand at the most unusual of modern-era video game systems; the Nintendo Wii. Our own senior staff contributor, Patrick, is himself doubly qualified to love this system. First of all, he’s autistic, and secondly, he’s played the Wii… and his love of it went so far beyond “like” it wasn’t even funny.
Montana Travel Site Offers Unique Take on Tourism - Travel and tourism sites come dime a dozen, even in places as famously empty as the US state of Montana, but one publication is looking to shake things up a bit, and they're already doing it with the next generation of journalists. MontanaWithKids.com offers news, views and reviews of all the hottest – and most unique – tourist attractions in the state, and all from the perspective of the kids who see it as tourists.
El Taino Restaurant Fails to Fail Customers Any More - Over the years we've gone to places we've loved for free and we've gone to places we liked well enough without any consideration. Heck, we've even gone to places without consideration we've hated, but imagine this; we've gone to places by invitation and for free that we've also strongly disliked… this is one such place.
Despite Appearance, Tribal Native Denies 'Ninja' Status - It was the strangest thing. We were having a runaway, rampant day out, doing our darnedest to span the landscape of the Puerto Rican interestosphere, regardless of the locals' patent refusals to engage us in our media-istic capacities. It was a trouble we'd faced everywhere, but a resistance I hadn't expected to face was that upon meeting a poorly-wigged tribal re-enactor, who obviously looked like a ninja, that he'd say he wasn't a ninja.
Puerto Ricans Seeking Savings in T-Mobile@Home Find Short End of the Stick - Since VOIP calling began, Boricua have been on the cutting edge of it. Just placing simple calls to new friends and old family that once cost a fortune became virtually free almost overnight. The most popular method of calling the mainland early on was cell phones, specifically those with any number of assorted "free minutes". Now it's all about Skype, Vonage, and to the regret of some early adopters of it, the terribly mis-marketed T-Mobile@Home.
Surviving Long, Foodless Flights to Puerto Rico and Beyond - Apparently things were different before 9/11, but nowadays, airlines aren't just cheap, but they've reinvented cheapness in ways that really astound. If ever there could be a way to make air travel more inconvenient and uncomfortable, they've figured it out. So here's a couple ways you can make your flight more bearable.
Alicia Rickter Destroys Website Critical of Her, Mike Piazza - Last week one of the oldest satire web publications was taken offline due to complaints by former Playboy playmate Alicia Rickter and/or her Major League Baseball slugging husband Mike Piazza. The complaint allegedly stemmed from a less-than-flattering depiction on the satire site GlossyNews.com, but ended with the site being completely removed from the internet for almost a full day.
Ruined Lighthouse Stands as a Beacon for Shipwrecks - When traveling through the southern parts of Puerto Rico, you should take Highway-2 out a little bit further to the town of Gúanica, where you'll be delighted by the dullness of the dry forest, the remote disappointment of Fort Caprón and, time permitting, the ruins of the lighthouse on Highway 333, which stands today as a beacon for centuries of ruined ships run regrettably aground.
Puerto Rico Gimmes the Best Summer Birthday Ever - Poor Patrick. Him and his fellow summer-baby brethren have no idea what it's like to enjoy a during-the-school-year birthday the likes of which me and my other (non-Patrick) brother so consistently enjoy. The parents have always done their best, but it's never been so much as "good," at least until this year.
Judge Throws Out Select Charges Against Gov. Acevedo - Monday a U.S. judge tossed out the majority the federal corruption charges against Puerto Rico's governor, Anibal Acevedo Vila, who is facing a federal trial for alleged campaign finance violations. The judge threw out 15 of the 24 charges against the governor, and all but two were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they can't be filed again regardless of what future evidence may come to light.
Bus Drivers Seeking $30million in Back Pay Compensation - Puerto Rico school bus drivers are in the process of planning a strike in Puerto Rico, pressing the government to pay $30 million in back wages they claim were not rightfully paid. Union spokesman Carlos Ramirez says the school bus drivers represented will begin their strike in around the island Monday, if demands are not met.
We Be Jamón - You thought that jamón was a thing of the past? No, no, we bee jamón, and I think this ham is gonna last. Being in the Caribbean, I think of all other things Caribbean, no matter how loosely associated. So when I see a sign that offers jamón y queso, I know I just have to say the word and we'll be jamón 'til the morning comes.
Pacific Northwest Finally Has Its Cape Cod Escape - Growing up on the west coast, I was always jealous of my friends with their rich tales of childhood Cape Cod vacations. California has Carmel, if you're lucky enough, and Florida has Seaside, but once you get up to the Pacific Northwest, you're pretty much limited to forgotten logging and fishing towns, and the experience just doesn't compare. Recently, however, the planned oceanfront community of Seabrook has brought that famous experience West, and unlike the Hamptons, it's actually affordable.
Fun Valley Park Café Cuts Visit Costs by Half - One of the most enjoyable things we did in Puerto Rico was our visit to the kooky amusement park near Arecibo called the Fun Valley Park. I guess it was in a valley and I'm pretty sure it was a park, but what I know without a doubt is that it was fun. Only thing that could have made it better was the café, which did make it better, both by price and quality.
Obama Offers Hope Puerto Rican Style, But Can He Deliver? - President-elect Barack Obama has already made history by being nominated, then elected to the United State's highest office. Although Puerto Rico caucused for Hillary Clinton, his message and his story still resonate with our proud, historic people. Top it off with the fact that Mrs. Clinton appears headed for Secretary of State appointment, and the portrait of hope looks complete, but how do Puerto Ricans feel about it?
Cabo Rojo Lighthouse Coolest Thing on Puerto Rico's Southwest Corner - Of all the things to do on the Southwest corner of the conspicuously small spit of land that is invariably Puerto Rico, one of the -- if not the -- greatest things to do is check out the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse. Now, I'll admit I've spoken highly in the past on the virtues of the tourist center and the saltiest flatlander areas, but the lighthouse at the tip of it really takes what little cake there is to be had.
Arecibo Lighthouse Museum Is Freaking Awesome - Puerto Rico doesn't have a lot for kids to do. I'm not being mean I'm being honest and, with as long as I lived there this past summer, I'm sure I'm qualified to say it. One thing it does have a mere hour outside of San Juan is the Arecibo Lighthouse Museum. It's not really a museum but it's well run, exceptionally maintained and all kinds of fun like we could hardly believe.
Obama to Name John McCain as Secretary of Defense? - President-Elect Barack Obama has pledged to fill his cabinet, as did Abraham Lincoln, with highly qualified persons whose skills compliment his own, even if their ideals may at times seem in stark contrast. Questions remain as to how far he might take such a commitment. Former President Richard Nixon famously surrounded himself by sycophantic yes-men, but Obama has already made a number of controversial appointments to his transitional team, including polarizing figure Rohm Emanuel.
Avoid Leugim's in San German No Matter What - By day, this sleepy café adjacent the historic plaza is a great place to stop off for a quick respite from the often unrelenting seasonal rains, as it was for us. What lies in wait for you at any hour of any day is something quite different, and it's not just an intrinsic deception, it's as often an outright nightmare.
Municipal Cemetery Offers Wide Selection of Free Bouquets - Especially during summer months, it's common to arrive at the famous Camuy Caves to find they have already sold out for the day. In such cases, turn that frown about halfway upside-down, kind of into a straight line across your face, because there's something half as good just around the bend.
Cuevas de Camuy: the K-Mart of Puerto Rico Spelunkholes - Fresh flowers are hard to come by, especially when you live in a warm climate, as we ephemerally do. These are that much harder to find when you add on the language barrier and my total unwillingness to pay any amount of money for them, but I've found a place that has a wide selection, always fresh, and unless I miss my guess, they're free.
The FTC Is Wrong About Credit Repair - Credit repair has its share of detractors, and perhaps for good reason. The FTC campaign against credit repair scams makes perfect sense. But for every consumer that has been disappointed by a questionable credit repair scheme, there are so many more that have benefited from the service of a genuine credit repair professional. It is time for the FTC to acknowledge the good guys in the credit repair industry?
When Credit Repair Becomes a Necessity - Credit Repair Causes and Cures - Credit repair becomes a consideration in our lives when things go wrong. Some of the events that lead to credit issues are our fault, while others take us by surprise. Here is our take on the events that cause credit trouble, and our perscription for a potent cure.
Craig's List Approaching Critical Mass in Puerto Rico - Savvy browsers the world over are quickly contributing to the downfall of traditional newspapers thanks to their understanding of Craig's List and the basic need for a better way to post classified ads. In many markets Craig's List has struggled to catch on, but Puerto Rico is one of those markets in transition, and it's finally gaining the traction it's long held elsewhere.
Bringing YouTube Into Modern Era (and What's All Wrong) - We recently interviewed a number of video publishers about the qualities of YouTube in their video enterprises and the ways in which it can (and should) be adjusted to bring it into the modern era. It's a cutting edge site, no doubt about it, but there is still a handful of pretty obvious way sin which it's still lacking. Fix these problems and you'll have a mastery-grade site, no two ways about it.
Carlito's Bar & Kitchen an Ideal Stopover Dive - Traveling west on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, between Ponce and Cabo Rojo, you aren't going to find a whole lot of reasons to stop. There are periodic festivals, and the town of San German has it's own quaint charm, but you may just be passing through in hopes of finding food or gas. Gas is easy enough, since the service stations down there are fair and reasonable, but let me throw in a quick vote for where you should eat.
J-Lo's Ass to Secede From the Union - After months of inflationary pressure and exterior expansion, sources close to J-Lo's ass are reporting the beefy rump intends to secede from the main body of Ms. Lopez.
McRestaurant McAlmost McReminds McMe of McHome - If you've ever traveled, whether it was across town or across the world, the one thing you wanted more than unlimited outgoing calls from your room was something familiar that reminded you of home. In my case I could think of nothing better or more familiar than passage of those golden arches through which kids come out happy and cows come out hamburger.
Buick Enclave Meets Premium CUV Market Ideally - Of all the crossover SUVs out on the market this year, none have found any way to identify themselves. The Buick Enclave faced a battle more uphill than many rivals on the market, being a bit of a lost, middle-market brand than their competitors, but they've developed a product to offer that bridges that gap in better, if not just different ways, than many of their big-motor rivals.
Baby Pony Silent, Technically a Little Horse - We had our third shot at giving our local Puerto Rican hotspot a chance the other day and it went pretty well. We once again enjoyed fine food and a good half-hour on the playground, but this time we upped the auntie's ante and partook of the diminutive equine staff on hand and enjoyed ourselves a rousing round of pony rides to boot, despite our wearing sandals.
San Juan Intercontinental Hotel Overpriced, Under-Good, Über-Sucky - When it comes to saying words in the negative, I'm much too junior of a journalist to speak such words without oversight. It wasn't without hesitation, managerial oversight and every ounce of attempt to resolve my complaints privately, but the Intercontinental Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico is a chubby bucket of human waste on its best day, and one priced at unbelievable rates at that.
Enterprise Truly Earns 6th Straight J.D. Powers Award, These Guys Kick Ass - I've traveled a good million miles and rented cars from pretty much everybody under the sun, and that include the "top rated" likes of Hertz. I've paid the absurd $20 a day for GPS and the accidental $15/day for insurance, but nobody has been as good to me as the people at Enterprise, and I do mean nobody.
Payless Rent-A-Car Profits from Lousy Cars, Rampant Fraud - When I first landed in Puerto Rico, I was scheduled to pick up a car from my very favorite rental car company of all time; Enterprise. They are honest, ethical, and unwaveringly committed to the satisfaction of the consumer (as their top-of-market rating on JD Powers five years running will agree.) Turns out I landed on the opposite side of the island from my reservation, so I was forced to consider other options at the last second, and Payless-Rent-a-Car deliver not just a car, but a headache, hassle, and a busted-ass car all at once.
Puerto Rico Tattoos a Great Way to Get Discount, Lousy Ink, Hepatitis - Puerto Rico is a great place for spring break, corporate conferences gone wild and too many more sorts of potentially crazy getaways to name. One thing that's fun to contemplate while blitzed on the world's most endless supply of cheap, premium rum, is getting a tattoo. There are a perhaps a million reasons why this can be a bad idea, so let's cover just a few of the top ones.
Michel Thomas Spanish Lessons Effective, Hysterical - I know I'm being a bit juvenile here, but we got four different language courses for our big trip to Puerto Rico, and they're all very different. Some are lousy on a good day, others pretty good (but much too long) and one is really, really great, but it's still comical to me. What can I say, Spanish is a funny language.
Fort Caprón Perfect for Everything Except a Visit - We've traveled far, wide, deep and always shallow, so when we were looking for fun things to do in the humble, seaside town of Gúanica, Puerto Rico, we dug in our research heels as best we were able to find things worth writing up. As it turns out, Fort Caprón should be omitted from this list in every case.
Hurridean Cain is Super, Man: Category-3 - We're a bit behind the ball reporting on this one, but Hurricane Dean swept through our Puerto Rican quasi-paradise, and we lived to tell the tale. Sure, you might point out it was barely a category-3 hurricane when it swept across the open ocean some 300-miles to the south of us, but we were pelted with torrential rains, screaming winds, and it was still the sort of thing that makes news, and not just by our own admittedly low thresholds of newsworthiness.
Brazilian in Atlanta Hits the Spot - I'm not a snob when it comes to food, so when I was asked by my editor to review everything authentic I could find in Puerto Rico, I had no problem saying yes. I was there for almost three months, and I found some really interesting finds in the mix. What I found most interesting was how much I missed American levels of service and the really unique finds like the Red and Green Steakhouse in Atlanta.
Puerto Rico Children's Museum No Place for Kids - We took a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico last week and we saw a bunch of newsworthy things that really rocked the boat of our ability to take the cake. We'll cover all of them in uncomfortable detail in coming weeks, but first I have to point out the horrible travesty on child-named attractions that is the Puerto Rico Children's Museum. All I can say is that it's no place for kids.
Superb Lookout for/from Cabo Rojo Lookout Fort - If you're driving south from Cabo Rojo to the southwest corner of Puerto Rico, also known as Cabo Rojo, which is a bit odd, be on the lookout for the tree fort to end all tree forts. I'm just sure that you, as you read this, are surely on the verge of driving this route, so I'm glad I can offer this great advice at such a timely juncture in your life. Hey man, it's what I do.
Arecibo Lighthouse Pirate Cave Worth the Trip Itself - Every once and so often there comes around a noun that leaves such an impression on me that it deserves a double-review. Last year, Remlinger Farms got that much and more. The Boudin Bakery in San Francisco got two. For our stay in Puerto Rico not much was deserving of two reviews except for Fun Valley Park and the amazing Pirate Cave at the Arecibo Lighthouse, which is just that good and it gets a second review too.
Zoo the Only Place Not Run by Monkeys - I've traveled far and wide; I've seen zoos in four different countries and I've loved them all. Nothing surprises me at the zoo any more, but plenty of things delight me. What does surprise me is how poorly visitors are treated in Puerto Rico pretty much everywhere except for at the zoo. Leads me to believe the zoo is the only place in Puerto Rico not run by monkeys.
Syndication Deal Inked with Puerto Rico Lifestyle Magazine - I probably could be more excited about it, but I'm not sure how. Maybe if I knew I was a journalist, what a magazine is or how to read, but no matter what, we are very excited about this latest arrangement to spread our young, timeless wisdom to a handful more of the myriad masses.
Hotel Coral by the Sea – A Fair Last Option - Our reservations in San Juan, Puerto Rico, were goofed up at the last minute. A staff member thought it was reserved, it wasn't, a conference was in town, and we were left scrambling at the last minute for a place to stay, and the first place we found was the decidedly cut-rate casa de slumber; Coral by the Sea.
Taco Maker Makes Decent Tacos at Lackluster Prices - A fairly common chain around the island of Puerto Rico is Taco Maker, and it looks to be an upscale Taco Bell, a Taco Time sort of place, if you will. The problem is that you're an awfully long ways from Mexico, and that's not a concern in and of itself, since Taco Bell ain't exactly Mexican food. Still, if you want to know if you should pay a visit, consider this.
If You're Ever in Sabana Grande, Try Nicky's Pizza - If you're ever in Sabana Grande, and honestly I can't imagine why you would be, you'll find there's nearly nothing in terms of tourist draw. The buildings are quaint and rustic, the people are as friendly as anywhere, but strangely this is a town that really likes pizza, and Nicky's is a good choice.
Puerto Rican Restaurant Boasts Playground, Pony Rides - Just off Highway-2 in the south of Puerto Rico (about twenty minutes west of Ponce) is the sort of restaurant you read about. I know I read about it on roadside signs in a good 30-mile radius, so when I had the chance to dine at Gaby's World, I jumped all over it and was rewarded in ways no restaurant has ever even tried.
AAA Car Rental Inc Doesn't Live up to Mediocre Reputation - Once I arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I needed a rental car, specifically to get the hell out of Dodge, though in all fairness it's because our business office and accommodations are on the other side of the island. I'd already checked all the rates through the mega-chains, but wanted to try my luck with the local flavor, and what an acrid taste it was.
Coqui Not Quite Ubiquitous, Despite Famous Claims - Prior to visiting Puerto Rico, I had read that the coqui is a ubiquitous nocturnal noisemaker throughout the island, but upon arrival, I learned two important things. First of all, I learned that it isn't ubiquitous, and that there are places where the micro-beasties don't exist. Secondly, I learned that most travel writers are lazy as hell and don't bother to do their own research… which of these is more important to you?
Garbage in the Heart of Touristland, Puerto Rico - Maybe it's a cultural difference, but where I come from we don't throw garbage on the ground, when we do there's somebody to pick it up, and this is always twice as true for the tourist spots. I couldn't imagine begging tourists to come spend money in my town if there were heaps of garbage beside (and inside) the city park, along the beach, and dotted along every single road.
Puerto Rican Drivers Are a Special Kind of Terrible - Most travelers heading overseas are advised strongly against driving. Unfamiliarity with rules, signs and the custom of local driving attitudes are reason enough to take a bus or taxi, and in those places, the infrastructure supports you doing so. In Puerto Rico you have to have a car if you intend to do any serious traveling, and the driving isn't impossible, but these people drive a special kind of terrible.
Best, Cheapest Luggage, and How Not to Lose it at Baggage Claim - Luggage generally costs somewhere between a lot and way too much, but there are less expensive options if you're not elitist about it. You need fair quality, want decent looks and from there you want to be able to recognize it when it rolls off the carousel. This covers all those bases.
Every Puerto Rican Town Shares the Same Unique Charm - When you get to the heart of a small, old town, like Lajas, Yauco, Gúanica or Sabana Grande, you find a unique, antique charm. The sort of thing you've read about but can't quite express until you're there. You should plan to visit a few such towns on your trip, but there's no reason to go crazy with it, because the charm they have, they all have in common.
Review of Fort Caprón, Gúanica, Puerto Rico - In the area to the south of Puerto Rico, halfway between Ponce and Cabo Rojo, you'll find the town of Gúanica, which has little in terms of tourist offerings in a traditional sense. You've still got all the local culture and Caribbean sites to help you unwind and enjoy, but aside from that, it's not really geared for tourists, per se. That doesn't mean there's nothing to see, and Fort Caprón is one such exception.
Gúanica Lighthouse Review - Another testament to how painfully little there is to do in Gúanica aside from relax and drink ice cold cerveza with the locals, is the Gúanica lighthouse around km-marker 4 on Highway 333 south from Highway 116. It's interesting enough for a six-minute visit, but once you've seen it, you've seen it, and you're done.
Arecibo Radio Dish Must Get Like a Billion Channels - When traveling through the parts of Puerto Rico that are not the capital city of San Juan there are many "must see" attractions, but there are only two that really take whatever cake it is that people love so much. One is the caves at Camuy, but the one that's just about as popular is the radio observatory at Arecibo. I've seen satellite dishes before, but this one must get, like, a billion channels.
When in Puerto Rico, Check out the Camuy Caves - Assuming you are in, or shortly going to be in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and you have enough time to pop out of town for a jiffy and check out whatever sights there may be to see, a not-to-be-missed attraction is the Camuy Caves. They're rich in bio-diversity (despite the tourists), fun enough for all to enjoy (despite the hike) and well worth your time (assuming you can get in on your first or last try).
Parque de Bombas, Ponce, Puerto Rico Doesn't Suck, Kind of Funish - If you're ever in Ponce, Puerto Rico and you hit the old downtown area, you'll find it almost impossible to miss the Parque de Bombas, which is the age-old firehouse which has been converted to a free museum run by the city. It's an odd spectacle, but at the all-time low price of "free" it's worth almost every penny for the journey.
Fun Valley Park Celebrates 6th Anniversary - It's been a tough go for the good folks at Fun Valley Park in Puerto Rico, and they've weathered the economic and political storms quite well. Most of their local competitors have fallen since they've been around, but smart business, and fun business too, has made them a veritable staple of the Puerto Rican landscape of entertainment, despite a most unfortunate beginning.
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