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Indiana, United States
Debt free empty nesters...ready to stretch our wings. Life is good and we plan on making it even better. This blog is mostly about our trips to Vieques Puerto Rico, with a few odds and ends thrown in about our life after the mortgage.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Just what I needed......

No...this was not some other island photo. This was taken in Esperanza? How about that. We (and I'll explain the we part in a moment) guessed it was a pet of somebody. Anyway...what a colorful addition to the vista.

Ok...about the "we" part. The we were Lorrie and I living vicariously, again, through Bill and Joy. Those stinkers snuck in a quick trip to Vieques while in the southern U.S. Lucky dawgs. They are the best about keeping a continuous IV (involves vieques) drip of photos and info to me when they are on island.  It's a lifesaver and just what I needed.

They're our buds and we love them. Not that Joy doesn't like to tease me with pics that really only mean anything to those of us that really get Vieques...such as this:

To which my only response was:

Yea I know, doesn't even compare....anyhoo

June in Vieques, what's that like? Well first thing that hits you is all the flamboyan trees in bloom. If you can get up at a high elevation they  really are something to see, scattered across the island. 

I love this picture for so many reasons. First and most obviously is the flamboyan and just how beautiful it is. Then in front you have this broken down recliner with some box and other refuse lying about.  And that is Vieques. It's like there's this yin/yang full frontal at all times and it's why we love the place, because it's real. I could go on and on about that, but if you step outside the box you can relate to what I mean. Unless, of course, your one of the many looking for latest,  greatest, carpetbagger stamp of approval, cookie cutter, "spoon feed me please!", abomination of the quintessential caribbean. Sorry about that. Can you tell I eschew all inclusives? 

But I digress....

June in Vieques also means that the snowbirds are gone, for the most part, and the beaches are yours.

Joy was also sending me pics and asking me to guess what beach is was. This was one of the first ones. So...which beach is it? 

How bout this one? 

and here's the last one. This picture has enormous meaning for Lorrie and I. We have spent countless hours in this exact spot at this exact time of the day. For years this was the only spot we would go to and set up the cabana. 

The above picture is probably circa 2010 or so and it's turnout 26 on La Plata.  Pre cabana ban and that whole saga. "Calling Zack Kincaid...aka the beach gestapo!"  Seems like a lifetime ago. The  second beach picture is La Chiva, way on the east end, and the very first picture is Sun Bay. So...did you guess any?

June also means,  near peak mango season (July/August is usually peak). But there are many different varieties of mango on Vieques and you can usually find ripe mangos any time of the year if you ask around.  Lorrie and I love mangos and usually have fresh ones from David and Andre, gathered from one of the trees on their property, usually  in Feb. 

Did you know that some people can have allergies to  mangoes (some even to the flesh), for most it is the mango's skin. Mango skin, bark and leaves contain the same toxic substance, urushiol, as in poison ivy

The intense irritation and blisters follow contact. Symptoms usually appear within 24 hours, but may appear in a few hours or a few days. The rash and blisters may appear at different times because the poison can absorb into skin at different rates. The blisters may break and release a liquid, but the liquid cannot cause more blisters and it is not contagious. The liquid does not contain the irritating urushiol.

The amount of poison available in the plant can vary. In a drought year the toxins can be more concentrated. You can also be reinfected by touching contaminated clothing or pets. Wash any exposed clothing in hot soapy water and not with the family wash.

According to the booklet Pesky Plants by Thor Kommedahl, the reaction of the poison with the skin is nearly instantaneous. However, immediately washing with strong soaps or rubbing alcohol can remove any excess poison that might be transferred to other parts of the body. Soap or alcohol is needed to remove the oils.

We've never had any problems, but good info to know. 

There's a new sign outside Belly Buttons.

and look at how much Rancho Choli has expanded. Wow...I ate there his first year and it wasn't much more than a few plastic chairs out in what look like someone's front lawn. 

One thing that didn't change was how great of a host Choli is. The guy is super kewl. 

That and the food...can you believe that plate of food! 

Waiting on my owners...that's what Joy wrote with this pic. Only in Vieques. I remember having a hen chicken walk under our table one time when we were at Duffys and there were these two dogs that always seem to be present there in dayz past. 

Still can't get used to all the new signage...seems way too hip for Vieques. 

Towards the end of their trip I get this pic and that can only be one thing. Lyman's dumplings with pickled ginger. Only to be found at the little cafe at the airport, isla-nena  Well, I must correct that, it's Lyman's wife's dumplings. What a hidden gem on Vieques. It was only by chance that Lorrie and I found out about them a few years ago. It's now a staple for us. 

Great trip Bill and Joy had. They  also did some not so "vacation-like"  activities while on island. Like helping a friend paint some rooms in a house, making trips to the dump. Stuff like that. 

In other news....Lorrie and I have dumped the United Explorer card in March and switched to an American airlines  mile card.  It's a Citi AAdvanage platinum select  with 50k signup after 3k spent in the first few months. It's takes 60k miles to buy two, coach, round trip tickets. We've already there. United's flights out of Indiana using miles were/are horrible. Plus they run like 25k miles one way.  Good departure and return times out of the midwest on American. So we'll try this for a bit and see how it goes.  If you use a card like we do, it's a really good deal. We are flying down in Feb for $10 on American. If you don't ever carry a balance, these mile cards can be very helpful. 

No Cape Air this year either. They've decided to start charging for checked baggage?  Even on the commuter book tickets? I'm like WFT? I even called them to confirm that this change applied to commuter books holders?  Yep, you know it. I guess they don't want the business. A commuter book ticket is gonna cost you $115 each way now, if you check a bag. Totally defeats the point of buying a commuter book of 10 tickets.  So..we are flying out of SIG (isla grande)  this year. Will need to take a cab to another airport. No TSA at that airport. We will fly VAL. $75 each way to VQS. So $150 round trip. Only caveat is their baggage policy. 50lbs total per person max, including carry on. Yikes!!! We've needed to downsize anyway, so this is just the reason to make it happen.

 On a personal note I'm still digg'n retirement...but ready to get back to Vieques. I leave you with circa 1978...the Cars..."just what I needed." Thanks Bill and Joy. 

I had a cassette tape (yea..remember those) of this and played the sheit out of it, all while dating Lorrie...jeez man.