Spent the day on La Plata, the full day. First order of business set up the cabana. We had replaced one of the poles. Somehow I managed to lose one of the Teflon thing-a-ma-jigs that's inside and helps the telescoping lock, lock. Other than that it's the same old ropes and everything else.
The wind was strong and constant but the cabana held up just fine. A familiar site on the beaches is a people showing up with a beach umbrella. They unfold the thing before the pole is even set in the sand then it flips wrong side out. This also happens a lot even when the pole is set/screwed into the sand. The below video is why we ended up building the cabanas we use on Vieques:
This young guy, obviously frustrated, told me he must have gotten the worst beach umbrella made. We offered our cabana if they got too hot or too much sun.
La Plata was just as gorgeous as ever. Not much had changed and we're thankful for that, because there's a lot that has changed driving into Chiva and La Plata. There's been enormous habitat destruction along Chiva and on the road into La Plata. That sort of jungle feel, especially on the drive into La Plata is gone. It feels more like a savanna now. They widened the road going into La Plata. I'll have to get video of it this week.
Like I said, La Plata beach itself hasn't changed much.
The gallery is up and ready for business. I, of course, jumped right in on my curating duties.
Above is my new piece for this trip. There were lots of pieces that have been balanced for 3 years now. I remember digging this next one out of the water at least 3 years ago. It's one of Andre's favorites:
Counted 24 people on La Plata at the high point, about average for peak season. We ended up leaving earlier than we normally would (we feel obligated to close it down whenever we can).
So I guess it was about 4:30 when we said goodbye to our favorite beach. Our mission was provisions, our destination, wherever we could find what we needed and that could end up being as many as 7 or 8 stops.
First stop was the vegetable museum (VM). The VM is at the intersection of 997 and 200. When you drive by you'll swear it's a tire shop, which it is, but they also sell fresh, ahem, vegetables. Tires and vegetables, almost like bread and butter, or fish and chips, well at least that's the way it works on Vieques. The fruits and veggies are stored in these refrigerated semi trailers that are permanently set up, sorta like a walk in freezer/refrigerated. There are a lot of vegetables/herbs/fruits/melons inside these trucks, in varying degrees of freshness (hence the vegetable museum).
We bought 3 mangoes, 4 avocados, 3 pears, 2 limes, 4 lemons, 2 oranges, 2 grapefruit, package of carrots, one pineapple, 3 red onions, 2 yellow onions, 3 eggplants, 3 sweet potatoes, 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, one package of cherry tomatoes (that looked GREAT btw), package of grapes. They've expanded the VM to an area outside the trucks that has a decent offering of can goods, spices, beer (where are you not going to find beer for sale on Vieques?) and a few other items. We picked up some cumin and chili powder and capers. Final bill was $56.
Next it was off to Morales on 200. I had remembered that they had a much better selection of asian/indian spices, plus they seem to have more meat. We found the red curry but not the green. We even found organic honey at this store. We almost didn't find the honey. It was over near the candy bars. Honey, sweet, candy bars, sweet. Total bill was $195. We bought too many items to list, but a few of note werer: ground beef, chicken breasts, shrimp, grouper fillets, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, oyster sauce, dijohn mustard and a bottle of Pinot Gricio.
Still on mission, it was off to the Morales in Isabell because we still hadn't found in turmeric (it's for a tea we make each morning), plus we needed fresh cilantro. Didn't find the turmeric (I'm thinking there's no tumeric on island) but did get 2 bunches of cilantro. Also picked up some fresh cantaloupe. We found dried black beans, which weren't at the Morales on 200. Thing is we had already bought canned Goya black beans so we didn't pick them up. I bought 2 quarts of Hag and Dais ice cream and some more coconut water. There were a few other items but I can't remember. Total for that stop was $44.
So you want to see what $300 of provisions looks like on Vieques?
We did buy some sunscreen, salsa and corn chips, they just didn't make the pictures. With provisions secured in just three stops (there was still the Mambo, Buen Provecho and the Vieques Emporium for those really hard to find items) it was off to Beso's to get cooking.
Menu for tonight, once we finally got all the groceries put away was Mojo chicken over brown rice with a spinach avacado salad on the side. We had a Pinot Gricio for wine.
The chicken breast we bought at Morales where huge. They were boneless and so big we only had to use one. The cost for the package was $14 but since was just used 1/4 of it, the chicken for this meal cost $3.50.
We were going to cook it on the grill but it was getting so late she just cooked it in a skillet on the stove. It had cumin, pepper and was grilled in olive oil.
While she was doing that I was cutting up one mango and the one pineapple we bought.. I absolutely love fresh mango:
She took this and put it into a med sized pot that had olive oil, red onion, minced garlic. Once this sauteed for 10 minutes she added red wine vinegar, pineapple juice, one squeezed orange and 1/4 cup of white rum (you know, the gift we got when we arrived at Beso). Difficult for me to say how much the mango salsa cost. It wasn't much though. I'll be generous and say $4.
Now the salad. It was spinach, avocado, red onion, and sliced almond. The dressing was fresh squeezed lemon, olive oil, honey (organic), and ground pepper.
The spinach we used cost $2 per bag and we only used 1/4 of the bag. So 50 cents for the spinach. We used 1/4 of one avocados. I think the avocado was under $2 a piece. So maybe another 50 cents. We used maybe a dimes worth of onion. The almonds were $2 and once again we only used 1/4 of it. So another 50 cents. What is that now.....$1.50 We used 35 cents worth of honey and maybe 15 cents worth of apple cider vinegar. The olive oil we used was maybe 35 cents. Grand total on the salad $2.35 for two salads.
The meal is up to $9.85
The rice was $1.79
The wine was $11
Total cost for our Mojo chicken /spinach salad dinner was $22.64 of which the wine was half so if you drank water you talking less that $7 per person. Not bad at all and there's left overs.
Eating this great meal, and it was blow your socks off good, in the Caribbean with coqui frogs and ocean waves in the background......just doesn't get much better.
Who can put a price on that?