Puerto Hermina and El Puente La Bellaca Quebradillas


Posted by Cassie

Top of the world

For my birthday this year we took a day trip up to the northern coastal area of Quebradillas. I had heard about a cool area called Puerto Hermina and wanted to check it out.

Puerto Hermina
Puerto Hermina, Quebradillas PR

Cofresi cave
Old pirate lair ruins

There was a lot to explore at Puerto Hermina including one of Pirate Cofresí’s old lairs, various trails, beaches and even caves!

Atop arch other Atop the arch

Britton framed Cassie window
Great photo ops!

I explored a lot of the area and even found a cool carved Indian face in the stone hills though I have no idea how long it has been there.

Face close
That’s what you call stone faced ;-)

Cave
This was the entrance to one of the bigger caves

Fishermen
A nice little fishing spot

IMG_9442 IMG_9400

IMG_9430
Enjoying the sights and sites of Puerto Hermina

CK BK Cofresi Hermina
Selfie time!

We stopped and checked out a few other spots in Quebradillas like the Guajataca River and I could even spot the tunnel in the distance. It was a pretty windy day though down by the beach so we didn’t stay too long!

Cassie crazy hair
Crazy wind-blown hair at the beach in Quebradillas!

Rio guajataca
Rio Guajataca has a nice little campground area -not sure if it’s only for day or nights as well

Beach
Beautiful beach scenes as usual in Puerto Rico

Beach 2 Tunnel
Beaches, river and tunnel in the distance

Our next stop was the Puente La Bellaca which is just down the same road as Puerto Hermina. This bridge has a very funny name in Puerto Rican Spanish. Bellac@ can mean crooked or a scoundrel, but in Puerto Rico more often than not it is a sexual term that means “horny.” In this case a horny woman. I have no idea why this bridge is named that, but that’s what it is!

Puente Bellaca entrance crop
Entrance to El Puente La Bellaca

It’s a nice little walk on a paved sidewalk through the jungle to this bridge that spans about 100 feet and is about 100 feet in the air above the treetops with a view to the sea. Unlike the sugar mill pier, though, at least there are grates to walk on and it appears to be pretty well-maintained because it is a currently in-use sewer pipeline.

Bellaca Bridge Puente
One side of the bridge

BW Bridge
Another cool photo spot

After our outing we were ready for a couple drinks and a nice meal. Overall, it was a fun excursion and I would recommend checking out Quebradillas!

Cassie barfly
Chinchorro para la cumpleañera

Here’s a short video I made of our day:

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Dancing with John Travolta


Posted by Cassie

Conquistador
El Conquistador Resort, Fajardo PR

We had another opportunity to be extras in the John Travolta movie that is currently filming in Puerto Rico. This time it was held at El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo and I was almost as excited to see this famed locale as I was to do the movie!

Conquistador tram
Tram up the steep slope of El Conquistador

We took the Mustang again, and again had car troubles, this time with a form of overheating. Thankfully we made it. Though it made the day a little more stressful not knowing if we would be able to get home or not!

Travolta trophy scene cassie
If you look closely, you will see me in the background of this shot in the movie

The first scene I was in was a trophy award ceremony for the main protagonist (John Travolta’s character). I loved my 70′s style pants in this one. Dressing up is so much fun!

Hippie chick awesome pants Slick BK
Full outfits from the front

Unlike the other day of filming, most of the day was spent in a huge ballroom of the hotel which meant it was a lot more comfortable and air conditioned! We ran into a few friends and met many more!

Terrie and us
With friends Terrie and Mark

Extras
With the group of extras in the trophy scene

After that initial scene they moved me in to get changed for the elegant dinner lounge scene. For this one, we were to be fancily dressed. I bought my own dress because that was part of the instructions, but they ended up saying that since I am the right size for wardrobe I could use one of the vintage dresses on the rack. I haven’t particularly liked any of my outfits in the other movies/scenes, but I just loved this coral-colored one!

Pretty background cassie Cassie dress conquistador 2
My dress for the dance scene

All the extras need costumes as well as hair styling and the lines can get pretty long!

Line of hairdo
The line for just two hair stylists!

Rafa Priscilla Cassie Britton
¡Qué elegancia! With friends Rafa and Priscilla

The dinner scene was pretty cool because I actually sat at the same table as John Travolta! You will definitely see me if you look for me! Here is a covert shot as they set up to shoot the scene.

Dinner scene
From Britton’s table across the room in the dinner scene

Band of movie
They had an awesome local Puerto Rican band for the scene. What a boon to their career!

There was one final scene that the assistant director called for: anyone want to dance? They had already had a couple’s dance scene, but this one would be a little funkier and dance to the song Fire. Me, me, me!! I jumped out of my seat and danced my booty off on the dance floor with John Travolta. It was an awesome moment in my life as I don’t think many people can say they’ve danced with John Travolta in one of his movies! Overall, it was a very memorable day and I can’t wait to see the movie!

Cinematographer Director crop
With acclaimed cinematographer Andrzej Sekuła and director John Luessenhop

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Happy 4th of July -Puerto Rico Style


Posted by Cassie

In Puerto Rico on the 4th of July you won’t see people strutting around in American flag clothing or even lighting fireworks except at the military bases. Occasionally stateside people will buy a bunch of fireworks and throw a party, but in general, fireworks are not a thing here on the 4th of July. I don’t think Puerto Rico ever really got indoctrinated into the whole Independence Day history of the nation, though it is part of it. The history of this island is so much longer than the 200 some years of the USA that it hasn’t quite fully worked its way into the pride of most islanders as it does with most mainlanders.

Almendros 4th
4th of July at Almendros Beach, Rincón

Still, because it is a federal holiday, Puerto Rico gets the day off. And no one is going to argue with that. This year, for many, that meant an extra long weekend of partying. And partying in the summertime means going to the beach! In Rincón both the balneario and Almendros beaches were packed with people, while other beaches were quite calm. This is a social, loud island, so the parties get more and more packed and more and more crazy! Some people set up camp right at the water’s edge to be right in the milieu melee. It’s fun for extroverts, but people who dislike crowds or noise should avoid these festival type events.

Gasolina stage
It’s a huge party on the beach complete with a hula hoop dance competition and air horns!

Rincon Bienvenidos
We ran into local Rincón celebrity “Bienvenidos” who often helps direct traffic and is always welcoming

Such is life
Such is life….is such a good mantra. Row, row, row your boat

We went on a beer run for some people at a pinchos stand. Everyone piled up in the truck. And then we drove, not to a store, but to someone’s personal house and bought some beer. I talked to an old man there who had lived in the area since it was all sugarcane fields. The layers and webs of life here make everything here just little wilder.

Sheryl pickup
No back seats, no problem!

There were supposed to be two other (calmer) parties in Aguada and Aguadilla, so Britton and I packed up and left. When we got to Aguada, no one was to be found. Perhaps it was too windy to set up. So we headed to Borinquen Beach, one of my favorites in Aguadilla, for another party. When we got there, we didn’t find a soul we knew either! It was spitting rain and windy too, but we swam a bit and enjoyed the peaceful contrast from earlier in the day.

Borinquen
Enjoying Borinquen Beach in Aguadilla -while some guy attempts to ostrich himself? ;-)

Britton Beach
We watched a beautiful sunset

Cassie beach

Rainbow
And rainbows

Unfortunately all we had brought to eat was a huge watermelon and lots of beer because we were anticipating BBQ at one or the other of the parties. So, we were getting pretty hungry. Then it started pouring rain so we headed out. We were wet from swimming so we didn’t want to go to any sit-down restaurants. Wendy’s it is, I guess! When it rains hard, often the power goes out and that happened even at this corporate fast food joint. The worker came out to our truck at the ordering window with an umbrella and told us that if we had cash they could serve us. So we had our American-style meal on the 4th of July after all. You just never know what you’ll run into or where you’ll end up here in Puerto Rico. Such is life, indeed.

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Serendipity and a Travolta Movie


Posted by Cassie

60s and 80s
Costume changes with friends- I’ve always loved playing dress up, being a ham, and meeting new friends so this kind of work is perfect for me! (Thanks to Carolina for this comparison shot)

We were invited to be a part of another movie! This time it was a John Travolta film and we were super excited to go. We learned a few things from our last experience as extras in a movie, though, one of which was that the day would be very long and sometimes boring and that the drive to San Juan was excruciatingly long. Thankfully we have some friends on the east coast who welcomed us to use their condo in Fajardo.

Luquillo
Luquillo Balneario beach on one side and the rows of kiosks are on the other

Kioskos
Down the line of kiosks

We stopped by their kiosko in Luquillo to pick up the keys to the condo. It was the first time I’ve ever seen Luquillo and I thought it was very busy and a little dirty, but it seemed like a fun, social beach.

Britton Monkey Threads
Britton says, why aren’t you at Monkey Threads in the kioskos de Luquillo! It’s awesome!

We got really turned around because we don’t have a smart phone and had to just rely on screenshots of maps, but eventually we made it to the condo at the marina in Fajardo. This building was 30 stories tall! We went up to the penthouse level and looked out over the railing. It gave me that tingling feeling in my heart and feet that says loudly: DON’T FALL!

Condo
This building is huge!

Looking down
Careful! That’s a looong way down!

The views off the balconies were amazing and we spent some time just enjoying them. I think we’ve become somewhat hillbilly though, living in the jungle for so long. I felt the compulsion to just go out on the deck naked as I always do at home and also to throw banana peels off the balcony as I do at home. Britton had to hold back from peeing off the deck! Haha! I also was mesmerized watching cable TV for the first time in a long while and I took an actual bath and filled the tub with hot water. We also wandered around to the pool area and gazebos of the property. It felt kind of good to be back to civilization for a while! These are the sort of things people take for granted as modern man I suppose.

Boat Bay
Check out all the boats!

Cassie rock
I still tend to gravitate towards nature -and au naturale ;-)

Deck view morning
It was the first time I had seen a sunrise over the ocean and it was incredible!

We thought our scene was going to be at El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo which would have been great because it was only 5 minutes away from us, but they changed it to be in Santurce in the heart of San Juan.

Ocean and Conquistador
El Conquistador from the balcony of the condo

We filmed at La Casona in Santurce which is a very old remodeled building and is now an elegant restaurant.

La Casona
Looking down at the courtyard of La Casona during a scene

60s outfit
Do I look like I’m going to a semi-fancy/conservative restaurant in Cuba in the 60s?

The first thing when we arrived we had to fill out our paperwork and then head over the wardrobe and makeup where they changed my look a few times to fit the time period (mid 60s at first) and feel of the scene. It is sort of random and serendipitous which roles you may get as an extra. Some are “heavy” like the guys who played Mafioso guards opening the doors for Travolta’s character. I would say I got a medium role. I got to sit at the table with Jordi Mollá, a famous actor in Spain who has also done a number of Hollywood movies, most noteably, Blow. His role in the scene was to sit with three women (one of which was me) and then signal to Travolta. So I may get about 1 second of screen time, mainly the back of my head! (Famous hair!!)

Jordi Mollá
Vicky, Jordi, Me and Carolina -the best table in the restaurant haha!

We actually talked with John Travolta a little while he waited to enter the room of mob bosses. He said we all looked great and he loved that time period. They really don’t like us to take pictures during filming, so I didn’t get a picture with him, but it was pretty cool. The only thing that I can say was really bad about this experience was all the smoking! I am getting over a slight cold and since they were smoking inside the restaurant during our scene (they would probably say to be period accurate but that I would say was just plain disgusting) it caused me to have a coughing fit. I had to try to hold in my coughs while they were rolling and it was quite torturous if you’ve ever had a cough that needed to get out and you couldn’t! I had to get up various times to get a drink of water to calm it down.

Makeup
Makeup!

We had a late lunch/dinner and then headed to wardrobe/makeup again to change time periods. This time to the 80s! I really didn’t get much of a role in this scene, but Britton did. He and a friend played a couple crossing paths in front of Travolta as he heads out the door.

Britton looking ood
Britton looking sharp at La Casona

Still, even though we were all dressed up with nothing to do, we ladies had a great time laughing at our bright blue eyeshadow, huge hair and red lipstick. Girls just wanna have fun!!

Sara and Cassie 80s
Sara and I -Crazy makeup!

Priscilla and girls
So much fun! Priscilla, me, Carolina and Vicky

Britton’s scene ran late and I had to wander around the building for a while. I talked with Manolo, the owner of the restaurant, and he took out his beautiful macaws and African grey parrots for me. He also showed me some of the finer details and mosaics around the building. It was a tesoro. The night ran long and we didn’t get back to the condo until about 4am!

Las Vistas view
Me at Las Vistas

We slept in late and then went out to brunch at a nice little place in the hills of Fajardo called Las Vistas. Then we were on our way home in the Millenium Falcon (the Mustang)!  The drive back was pretty uneventful until about Arecibo when I told Britton I needed him to stop so I could use the restroom and get something to drink. As he pulled off the highway, the car began to sputter. We were only about 1/2 a block from a gas station! Come on, come on! But nope. It just died right there.

Broke down Falcon
Where we broke down

Serendipity strikes again, however! We broke down precisely at a mechanic shop! How odd is that!?! They pushed the car into the shop lot and diagnosed the problem. It was the fuel pump! Yikes! I walked down to the gas station and went to the bathroom and cooled myself down in the air conditioning. The mechanics were very helpful and friendly and said they would contact Auto Zone and see if they had the fuel pump in stock and that they could work on it today! Wow! That would be awesome! We were tired and worn out from a long two days in the city and really just wanted to get back home to the countryside. Britton being the always helpful type, stepped up and they finished installing the fuel pump in only about 2 hours from the time of the breakdown! We were so grateful. They probably could have taken advantage of us, but only charged us about $40 in labor! If you are in Arecibo I highly recommend Nachi’s mechanic shop!!

Working on the car
First they had to take out the fuel tank to get to the pump-I even got involved and helped jack the car up while they got under the car

Unfortunately it was Noche de San Juan and there was a big tapón, but finally about 8 hours after leaving Fajardo, we made it home…safe and sound. Stay tuned to the silver screen and look for us in the movie Speed Kills or it may go by the very appropriate name of Cigarette.

Sunset and flag
Sunset out the window on the way back

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