Monthly Archives: February 2018

Never Let Your Marbete Expire!

Posted by Cassie

Well, we knew better and yet it still happened to us. And this lesson was an expensive one.

Marbete ticket
Marbete tickets!

We totally forgot about renewing the marbete (the registration and compulsory insurance) this year. Nothing came in the mail and we drove about completely oblivious to the expired sticker on the windshield of the Mustang. Britton went out to run some errands and stop by the beach for a bit. When he was on his way back, he got pulled over by a motorcycle cop. He had no idea what he had done. Well, it wasn’t what he had done, but what he hadn’t done: renewed the marbete. And what a fine. $500 for lack of marbete and $200 for lack of inspection (that you get when you get your marbete). $700 for something he didn’t even know he was lacking! Yikes. He tried to explain in his broken Spanish to the officer, but it didn’t matter. He was getting the tickets.

Farmers Market
Selling our flowers at the farmer’s market in Rincon on Sundays

He was understandably upset, especially because we have been working to save up a bit more money working at the film sets, selling flowers and renting out the cabana. Pretty much all of that savings went *poof* with these tickets. I told him it was ok. We made a mistake. Things happen, but we should just go and get it taken care of. No sense in waiting. Plus we would need the marbete in order to keep driving the car. Luckily the police let him drive home. We’ve heard that they sometimes won’t even let you go. They will impound your car and make you find an alternative way home. Oh, joy! So…it could always be worse I suppose!

Adam Brody and Cassie
Working as an extra for the show “Start-up” with actor Adam Brody

So we took the truck (at least that marbete was up to date) to Aguadilla (since the Anasco offices are closed due to Maria) along with the “inspection” of the Mustang (they don’t actually inspect anything, they just print a paper for $16 saying you passed emissions testing). We paid the $180 for the new marbete and found that we would get 30% off the tickets if we paid them within 15 days of receipt; so we did. Once that pocket ache was finished, we decided it was time for treat. Off to the ice cream shop again.

Banana Split
Since I was a kid, ice cream has always cheered me up. A nice banana split

If you can learn from us, do! Never let your marbete expire. It is not worth it. The police rarely enforce any laws here. But that is one that they are super strict about. Don’t risk it, check monthly!

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Ponce Carnaval -The Sardine’s Funeral

Posted by Cassie

From the from Alcaldia

Imagine a mix of Mardi Gras, Halloween, Puerto Rican traditional music and dancing, high school marching bands all with a dose of Burning Man and surrealism. What do you have? The Sardine’s Funeral on the last night of Carnaval in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

B C Ponce
At the historic Parque de Bombas in Ponce

We headed down to Ponce on Tuesday afternoon (the day before Lent) with very little expectations. We heard something about the burial of the sardine. What does that even mean? Well, as we came to learn it is a raucous and very strange celebration mocking death and mourning the end of Carnaval. It is held in the historic town plaza of Ponce and there are lots of other fun things including a bomba dancing and singing show. This year it was a pretty quiet night, but the outlandish festivities made up for the low numbers.

Dancing with the bombas
With the young bomba dancers

There are also lots of vejigantes (folkloric scary figures to scare away the demons) walking around and occasionally startling people. In modern times a lot of them wore Halloween masks along with the traditional robes and cow bladders that they would beat. We found a few deflated bladders left around. It was rather weird!

Britton bladder
Britton with a deflated cow bladder -Yuck!

More scary clownsWith some of the scary clown/vejigantes

Scary clowns
More strange fun…note the balloon looking bladders they are carrying

Scary costumes
With a werewolf vejigante

It wasn’t until the funeral procession for the sardine that we saw some of the more traditional masks.

Sardines Funeral
Here you can see the sardine in the casket as well as some of the vejigantes

Cassie and the procession
Me and the funeral procession

Carrying the casket
Lifting and then carrying the casket onto the stage

Death welcoming
Death and a marching band

Strange parade cats
Crazy cat man? Plus creepy dolls…

The whole parade itself was a peculiar event, but the sardine and the wailing mourners took the cake. When they brought the sardine up on stage, they said a eulogy for all sorts of silly things including broken cell phones and flat tires. Then they lit a hang-man on fire in effigy. The whole thing was bizarre but they definitely put the “fun” in funeral.  

We ended the night overlooking the entire scene from high atop a luxury hotel building. We then danced our way out listening to the final band playing “Hot, Hot, Hot” and limboed lower laughing all the way. I would highly recommend the Ponce Carnaval that lasts 5-7 days before Lent every year. And for the strangest event ever, come the night of the Sardine’s funeral!

RIP SardinaRIP La Sardina!

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Las Marias post Maria

Posted by Cassie

River view

We headed deep into the mountains the other day in order to meet a woman who sells plants from her farm in Las Marias. We are planning on expanding our tropical flower farm business and most of these exotics must be found at private farms rather than in viveros (nurseries).

It was here that we could really feel that the hurricane was still only very slowly being dealt with (and the coincidence of name). The damage from Maria to Rincon was severe, especially at the coast, but in the mountains they confronted different issues such as landslides off of cliffs and intense winds in the higher levels. Not only that but it is much more difficult to fix the electrical lines through the thick mountainous jungles and therefore most of Las Marias is still without power.

Cemetery Detour
We had to take a detour through the cemetery in Anasco because the road had washed out

Horse in the road
A horse in the road is fairly common here

Huge boulders in the road usually are not!

A whole house had been engulfed in mud

Collapsed Road and HouseAnd another had collapsed along with the roadway

We need a way outThis road was painted to, I assume, FEMA workers when Las Marias locals were blocked completely from the rest of society. The tick marks may mean the days they waited.

Mountain ViewThere is still such a tremendous beauty to the interior of the island!

Nos Levantaremos
We celebrate life! We will rise up!

When we arrived back in Rincon, we stopped by a little chinchorro for a drink and stumbled upon a birthday party. It was a perfect little Puerto Rico scene complete with lechon, dominoes, karaoke cerveza y tragos.

Lechon, lechon, lechon


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