Wednesday, March 9, 2011

First Carnival in Puerto Rico

Check out our Carnival pictures in our picture folder
Tomorrow should be Thursday and we will be leaving the world of internet, roads and stores for an island that has flora, fauna, and beaches with a few humans.
We have not submerged our bodies in salt water since a glorious day in December down in Panama and the thought of floating on a tube or noodle is so delicious to us right now!
We arrived in Puerto Rico on Sunday, two days before the end of Carnival in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Carnival has been a 150+ year tradition and we were able to view only one of the events--the burial of the Sardines. This was a fun and audience participation parade for the night before the start of Lent. It started with bands, baton twirlers, dancers, and along the side lines a large group (50+) of masked and costumed marauders swinging paper mache' "bladders" at the young and attractive rumps of young women.
Some say the burial of the Sardines is symbolic for the number of fish that will be eaten during Lent, others say it is letting go of the old and negative, and welcoming the new and repentant. We copied some past pictures that capture the participants and flare of the night. I will try to down load them to the blog site.
March 27 Kelsey, Kiwi, and a friend arrive to spend time with us. We will explore Puerto Rico and with luck also some of the Virgin Islands. Grandma is super excited, but mom is more excited to see her daughter. Dad is just plain excited!
So we will be out of contact for awhile, sunning, reading, and working on child proofing a boat that has never been home to a baby! Yikes, child proofing at our age is a challenge!

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Lost a Day, Gained an Hour

March 6, Lost a day,gained an hour
After 5 straight days of non stop sailing, we arrived in Puerto Rico. Traveling non stop makes you loose time as well as sleep. During these long trips we each take a watch of 4-5 hours, sleep or work and then follow it with a 7 hour watch. The idea is to get 6+ hours of sleep, but due to boat issues over the pass two days we didn't get those long stretches. Sleep deprivation can do some strange things. When we turned on the computer this morning we learned it was SUNDAY! Not a good day for clearing into a country--overtime charges can be a killer. When we called in at 2 to clear customs, they said we needed to meet with an official and he would arrive between 5 and 6. Having not slept, we were looking forward to our pillows and a bed...but what can you do? We stayed up and waited till 4:30 to go to shore only to be told the local time was actually 5:30 OOPS! Luckily the official was running late. He arrived 20 minutes later, gave us the name of three local restaurants that will feed us real Puerto Rican dishes, and recommendations on two other beaches to visit on the south side.
It is Carnival week here and we missed the parade today, but we will hopefully get glimpses of the fete tomorrow and Tuesday as they wind down for Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Currently we are anchored in front of three dueling night spots with the ever famous walls of speakers. Since 9 PM they have tempered down the volume so we can only hear 2 opposing systems. Off to bed now to clear the head and get back in touch with the benefits of sleep.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1 leaving Jamaica

March 1, 2011 Sailing Away from Jamaica
Pictures have been added to our picture file for this and previous blogs-check them out!
It is with regret that we leave the island of Jamaica. Here, in Port Antonio we have found genuine people with large hearts and big souls. Yesterday we made our rounds to the veggie market, the butcher, and the bakeries. Each stop we said our goodbyes and the shop keepers came around to give us hugs, squeezes, and knock fists (Jamaican handshakes). As we walked around others that we had met stopped us, greeted us, and asked how our day was going? We had over 20 locals that made us feel valued. It amazed us that by day three we felt accepted here.
Daily we walked the length of the town in both directions, went out at night eating at the local drive-by Jerk Chicken stand, and never had a moment of worry or fear.
Everyone said we must come back and be in Jamaica again---and you know what, we will. This part of Jamaica made us feel welcomed, accepted, cared for, and appreciated. Yes, the hagglers were there, the beggars were there, and the hustlers were there, but if you talked with them, exchanged pleasantries about the weather or their town, and then said, "Not today, another time." they felt respected and gave back respect. Respectful actions and words make all the difference in the world. They are living examples of their national anthem. Often their parting words were, "Respect, mon." The rest of the world could learn a lot from this model.
Here in the anchorage we have met so many great people. First we met Mucho Gusto, Jeannie and Keith from Albuquerque, New Mexico-who knew Inspiration's Sandy and Ralph. Then we met Andres and Petra Heimlich from Vienna, Austria on Ulysses, and 8 of their 10 children-pure joy and love surround them. We also spent some time with Tim and Alexandria on Braveheart (who gave us valuable information about the Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic). We played with their 7 month old daughter, Amelia, and spent a bit of time with their crew Annie, Ben and Wendy from England. The crew went with us to Piggy's and to the Saturday night music fest that they called Carnival. Dave said the dancing style was close mashing body contact with clothes on-that is my G-rated publishable version of what he described.
Tasting foods, new to us, has always been a priority and our favorite was Piggy's Chicken-it's a drive by stand located where the road splits into three lanes--two going one way and the third going the opposite way. You ran for the middle space between lanes, order your chicken, and then ran back to a triangle in the center of the road and ate your dinner at a table for 4. Then for a beverage you waited for traffic to clear, walked to the bar across the street, ordered a beer, and returned to your table in the intersection. Dessert was a 50 cent bag of roasted peanuts from the appliance repair shop next to the bar. Best smoked chicken in town and definitely the hottest home made spicy jerk sauce.
While here we have been introduced to all sorts of new things:
Holey Bulla, a spice cake donut with banana flavor
Naseberry, a kiwi looking fruit that taste like buttery brown sugar and fruit mixed together
Sweet apple, slice open & white custard oozes out, be sure to spit out the watermelon size seeds
Otaheiti, a pear shape fruit that is a blend of apple and pear flavor
Saltfish, a salted dried cod similar to jerky
Ackee, a starchy veggie that cooks up and looks like macaroni and has a nutty flavor
Jamaican Jerk chicken with a wet and dry rub
Curried goat and coconut rice
Brown pork and brown chicken
Wild cinnamon, with a deeper, smoke flavor
Patties, a meat or veggie filled turnover
Banana flavored deep fried fritters
Calaloo, greens like collar or spinach
Blue Mountain Coffee
Nutmeg nuts and pimento that you grind fresh into your recipes
Red Stripe beer and Rum punch
News Flash: For the first time ever Dave actually said NO to a new food--twice. He decided he could live without tasting cow foot soup-the chef showed him the delicious amount of oozing gelatin between the joints) and the turkey neck/nuts stew.

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