Monday, March 28, 2016

Blurring Lines

At last Semana Santa is behind us. It seemed to last as long as Christmas this year and I have no idea why. Time is always amazing that way, its fluid nature might seem to work in calendar blocks but it isn't anything close to confinable in real life. 

Out of the chosen quiet of my social life, every one in awhile a most pleasant flurry comes along to remind me that interacting with friends old and new is a very good thing for the soul, and the belly too. Like driving on the interstate after driving on Culebra, it doesn't take much to seem like very much. In the good way. 

But, as Maria sang, let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

The other day I stopped at the new 775 bar. Shadrak had asked me to come by and this was the time. I had a lot of preconceptions that needed bursting and quite a few of them did get burst, in one way or another. AND I got to test drive a hookah!

First he showed me the 'smoke'. Not tobacco, but herbs, fruits and flowers.

This one is mint

Obviously, watermelon

Each patron gets their own tip. The whole thing is super sanitary.
I watched, it really is a clean thing.

As the pieces and parts came together (see the black cubes on the one burner?) I tried to figure out what was what. I didn't quite figure it all out but it was obvious that Shadrak knew exactly what he was doing. He told me that the weekend before he'd had some good business but that right now he only has the one hookah. More will be in this week if all goes well. 

Gaming, television and a VIP room
The VIP room has its own television, a couch and is big enough for eight. 250.00 an hour buys you and your pals one hookah session and one bottle of any alcohol with mixer you choose. After the first hour, it's up to the patron to buy more hookah fill and/or more liquor. Which, if you have eight people, isn't a terribly expensive way to spend some time. 

A by-itself hookah session NOT in the VIP room is 25.00 an hour, 15.00 for another fill up. 
More to come in a brighter setting
So, why the no windows thing? Two reasons Shadrak gave me made a lot of sense. One, it keeps the road dirt down. Two, it makes for a different clientele than the location might normally attract. And that is a good thing. 

Out came the hookah. It's beautiful!
The others will all look different, is what I gather. 
I really didn't expect to smoke when I came in but Shadrak was nice enough to offer and go through the numerous steps to set it up. Why would I say no to that?

Those two burning cubes go on top of the bowl filled, this time, with mint.

A demonstration

I can tell you this, it was good enough that I'd have one at home. The whole idea, Shadrak said, culturally, is to be with friends and relax. He knows he's taking a big chance in introducing something that, while not uncommon in many places in the world, is new here. But he also told me that he's had a number of tourist customers who are very used to this form of socializing and looking forward to the chance to enjoy what the 775 Bar has to offer. 

Good luck, Shadrak! Thanks for the taste. 

Things that happen on the way to the store...

Ok, back to wherever I was. Or onto.

I don't go out much and it seems like while I was in, a lot of people moved here and know each other well. Over a couple of days I met more people than I did in my whole trip across the country. Ok, not really but it felt like it. Especially since they all know each other well. I felt like a tourist, and that can be a good thing. 

Another view from the top

After a conversationally intriguing dinnertime (meeting new people can be fun, she re-learns!), with chicken shwarma and kefta on the delicious menu (my personal universe keeping with the Moroccan theme started with the hookah) and dropping off new folks to me Neal and Darlene, Clive and I stopped at the food truck happening. There were a lot of happy eaters and some happy chefs too. 

Richard's Bambu BBQ
The action had quieted down at Richard's, but he was still there with his parents. His mother is so adorable!

Yes, I asked her to sit on his lap, I just couldn't resist.

Check it out!
Next door is Carlos' Panini food truck and the visitor over for the week. People were finishing up their meals and the end of a long week for our restauranteurs, whether on movable or permanent ground, was coming to an end. No doubt the bars would be hopping for another few hours but I took my sated self to home.

Carlos still smiling!

I don't know how so many golf carts could fit in there but they did
Yesterday was Easter and while it isn't a celebration day for me it is always nice to see families and friends and remember days of old, a leg of lamb on the table...

This year it was a beautifully cooked pernil and chicken on the table. Along with some great sides. But truthfully, I never really got a photo of the food table because the music was too much fun. 

Lots of talent here!
Apparently I'd met a couple of these people but they let me off the hook
that is was on a crowded night...or day. Or, they are just kind. Kind is good.
It seemed like guitars just kept coming out and for every one of them there was a good player right behind. From beginning to end the music played. I know they must have eaten at some point, though. I think.

A highlight was meeting Molly's daughter. Because for many of us, our families are far away, we've heard a lot about each other's children and siblings, parents and favorite relatives. When one or more of them do show up it's like meeting a distant part of your own family; you've heard about them a lot but here they are!

In the midst of all of this gallivanting, I did notice a few things. One was the whrrrrrwrrrrrrwrrrrrrrrrr of the boat next to me that was leaving for home. Coming up I saw that a line was caught under their boat. One person seemed to appreciate the info, another did not. They got it clear eventually and no doubt will be happy to not see the houseboat there on their next time over. That's okay. One foot of separation is not enough for me either. 

It's always fun to see the training ships come in. At least I'm guessing this is one of the two or three who show up around this time of year. That's about as big and as pretty as a ship should be to show up around here.

Have a musically motivated Monday. Do something more than middling.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Free Range Friday and a Spring Walk

Because it has felt like Saturday all week long (and according to a very unscientific poll, I'm not the only one feeling that way this Semana Santa week), I'm just going for Sunday early. And more wordily. What a surprise! Ok, it won't be like Sunday at all. 

This little girl's life joy was contagious
If you've moved more than a few times you know how old stuff turns up. One of the things that turned up was an old flash drive - which sounds ridiculous to write because how can something called a flash drive be old? A couple of photos caught my eye.

This is a laughing gull drunk on those little pearlescent berries.
Yes, he really was drunk. He fell out of the tree right after this photo.

Remember these two guys? Hey, Doogie!
Hey, Anthony (Croc, as many will remember him)
Every season there are a few places with changing decorations. This is one of them. 

A good spot for an Easter dinner?
Here's the free range foodie part!

Until I get the problem with my propane hook up figured out (yes, I've gotten a new fitting and a new regulator, now I'm thinking it might be the brand new tank hasn't been purged correctly) I've been using this one burner that my brother kindly sent to me (hooray for family who knows cooking food is important!! and tea! and coffee!). 

Lately we've had some really good avocados again. The ones that aren't watery or pre-bruised or just awful. The ones that taste buttery and make your mouth sing in a mellow tone. So I've been buying them a lot and using them in every way I can think of, this time a quesadilla. In went an egg (you can see it peeking out from under the pile of other ingredients), avocados, a little leftover pork, cheese and tomatoes, some shallots and then of course a tortilla on top. Warm it up until the bottom is browned, then use the flip plate method and do the other side. It was delicious!! 

It's curved because those tortillas were huge!

Lunch and dinner all on one plate
Don't forget D's Garden has veggies now! I'll be taking some photos this week. People are already discovering it so you want to get there early. She's now open 6 days a week, 9 - 4. She and her crew have done a beautiful job, get ready to be surprised in the good way! If you don't know how to get there...Head out of town in the Zoni direction. At  the top of the hill before Susie's (where Tiki Grill is located) turn right and go all the way to the end and around the corner. You can't miss her place. 

Have a fiercely favorable Friday. Do something fun. Frequently.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Semana Santa Means Holy Week (or - When Locals Hide Week)

Semana Santa is that week of the year when Spring Break and Religion combine to make a bit of craziness. Crazy drivers, crazy beach go-ers, crazy in the stores, just a lot of crazy. So unless one MUST go to town the best thing is to park someplace like, ok, never mind, park in your secret parking spot and walk to your town errands. Stay out of your boats and off of the beaches and in just a short time, say, next week, things will return to whatever we call more like normal around here. 

Truthfully, things have been pretty quiet around where I am this year; a first and a fine thing. 

One great thing about Semana Santa is all the trucks and roadside stands for food!
This food truck is over here from Caguas for the week;
Carlos from El Panini says give it a try, it's good food!
Speaking of good food, here's an awesome BLT from Dinghy Dock

With a full moon this week, just to add some extra crazy and beauty, a lot of us have been looking skyward. Day or night, la bella luna is around.

I tried to get the moon and Jupiter together but just couldn't quite do it to my satisfaction. But check it out for yourselves, they are having some up close relations lately.

Some randomness...

I never get tired of the tarpon

I figure one of these days, this truck won't look like this and I'll be cursing myself
for not getting a photo. I'm already mad I didn't get one with Joe smiling while driving.
Which is almost like a DWS, Driving While Smiling, but different.

Paul and Red. And some other assorted flavors.
Remember Jane and her dog Hounddog? After Jane passed, David and Debbie, who had been fostering him, fell in love so completely they chose to make him part of their family. He (and they) have been back for their yearly visit. He looks soooo good! And so do David and Debbie. Our adopted satos are so very lucky!!

Visiting the houseboat and always welcome.
Even with Crazy Days, some things still get done around here (and a lot of things don't). Mike never takes a holiday that I know about; here he's working on a project for me that made my life a lot better. It's how we roll. Color me grateful. Again.

Have a tolerantly tranquil Thursday. Do something teachable (like, how to park, how to throw trash where it belongs, how to smile).

Monday, March 21, 2016

An On the Water Sunday Funday

It seems like we should all be on the water all of the time, and I know a fair number of people who are. Some make their livings doing that, some just love being out there and are fortunate enough to have the means to do just that. It's always fun to get a turn to be one of them.

But first, yesterday was the Spring Equinox in this hemisphere. With all the rain we've had recently, there were a lot of blooming flowers to celebrate with. These were some close by me at the time.

Taking care of a friend's orchids is almost as good as having my own again.

And then it was to the sea, the beautiful sea! Yesterday (like the day before) was one of those perfect winter days we have here, where inside your heart is singing, So lucky! So lucky! to be here.

I love this little house on a floating platform. AND look at the solar panels!

This is new. Good for whoever is doing this!
I've never built a home before but I've seen plenty of friend's and some family members homes being built. That stake that marks the spot where it will all begin always seemed pretty heart jumping to me, but not the same way it must have felt to the home builder to see for the first time. 

This mooring ball marks my spot in the world, where the houseboat will be when it gets there (That's called patience, which is how I disguise my superstition). I'm excited. To put it gently.

Round ball marks the spot!
We also went past Francie's old houseboat. Rumor has it that it has been sold again and it appears to have people living on it. That's a very good thing! We wonder how they will like everyone showing up for a party on the 4th of July...

Then it was out to more open water.

No, I didn't touch the color button, it was really like this.
The Painters did a wonderful job.

Another sailboat.

I don't think this is really a car wash but first glance made us wonder.

Can a view be eaten by the soul? In a word, yes.

Punta Soldado from the water side

Can't help it, I love no homes to be seen. 
Then it was time to head back to land. Sun on our faces, a lot of laughter in our memories and still beauty all around.

I'm sure there are more exotic ways to welcome Spring but this worked for me on all levels. I hope sharing it worked for you, especially if you are in the snow belt zone. Your flowers are on the way, really!

Have a makeadifference Monday. Do something mysticallydowntoearth.