Tag Archives: Adventure

Isla de Ratones

Posted by Cassie

Our most recent adventure was to the tiny one-acre island called Isla de Ratones or Mouse Island because at one point in time it was overrun by rodents. Since then it has been cleared of most pests and is just a nice day trip. It has an interesting history including a connection with MTV in the 80′s! As a beautiful little deserted island I think I like its original name: Piñas, which means pineapples, but if rodents make people leery of visiting, all the better for us to have this little island to ourselves!

Isla de Ratones

The day started around 10am in Joyuda where we chartered a boat for the short 4-5 minute ride out to the island. It would have been fairly easy to paddleboard or kayak to the island if one had at least an intermediate skill level. Still, it was fun to pile up our group of about 30 people into two boatloads and head on over!

Loading Boat
Loading pier

Boat Trip Boat trip 2

Boat back On the boat

Boat Ride
Our short little boat trip

I love these trips to these tiny islands off the coast of Puerto Rico. This one was a little easier because we didn’t have to drive to the east coast. It was right down the road past Mayaguez! A simple day trip. It was so funny how much stuff people bring to spend 5 hours at a beach. So we had plenty to eat and drink and there was even a bathroom on the island! We enjoyed grilling up food, hanging out in the water, jumping off the pier and even painting ourselves like Tainos with a special purple clay! Here are a few fun pictures and a video from the day. Some of these photos are from Lowell, Amanda and Daisy.

Kelp Hair LowellWe had a spa day with mud masks and kelp hair treatments haha!

Beach Daisy dock picture
We were a little concerned about a rainout but it was a nice sunny day!

Beach Chillen Cassie pose Fun in the water Water Chillin
Fun on an island in the sun

Cassie AndreaAndrea and I are painted like Tainas

Clay TattoosAnd these guys are just silly

Bright Cassie Shish kababs Patrick and daughter
Good times!

Amanda group photoCheers to Daisy for organizing this trip!

Silly photoGetting goofier!

Cassie sarongOn the other side of the island with the remains of an old pier

Base camp Long pier
Old pier Hanging

Cassie Britton pier

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¡Dale! More Interesting Spanish Words

Posted by Cassie

I try to keep a list of new Spanish words I learn. Sometimes the way I learn them is more interesting (and funny) than the words themselves. Here are a few that may be unique to Puerto Rico or were just new to me. Many of them have false cognates or multiple meanings which confused me at first. While I consider myself to be fluent in Spanish I am constantly learning. I don’t think it will ever stop.

Cassie farmers Market
La mañosa changona sin postizos pero con pantallas de pluma

Mañosa – A picky or spoiled female person. When I won’t eat much of a certain food like fried foods, I sometimes get called this. But I thought at first it had something to do with my hands (manos).
Changa/Changona – Prideful woman who likes things a certain way. In the same vein as mañosa, this is another term of affection when vacilando y bromeando  (having fun and joking) with each other.  Chango/changa can also mean monkey, so I thought they were calling me a monkey!
Comelón – Glutton/pig. On the other hand, Britton eats just about anything and is called the comelón. Giving silly nicknames to each other is a fun game here.
Revolú – Puerto Rican word for a big mess. This is a very handy word for a literal mess or a figurative one. I think it probably comes from revolution. Which would probably cause a big mess at first.
Pantallas -Earrings. I had only heard of pantalla as a screen, but here they can also apparently be dangling earrings.
Coraje – Anger. I always thought it meant courage, but here in Puerto Rico almost always when it is used it is to describe when someone gets or got mad.
Botar – To throw out/throw away. When I first heard this I thought they were saying votar which means to vote. Perhaps nowadays in most elections voting is like throwing out the trash…haha
Echar – to pour or fill. Like when filling up with gas. Not etch like I initially thought.
Bochorno - syn: Vergüenza  – Shame, guilt, embarrassment. I thought bochorno meant something about being drunk (borracho) which I supposed could happen if you get too drunk! Or buongiorno like good morning in Italy.
Dale – Go on, go ahead. This is a very useful term and often used, but when I first heard it I couldn’t help but think of someone in Spanish pronouncing the name Dale.

Menudo: This is about the funniest thing ever

Menudo – Change in your pocket. All the quarters, nickels and dimes, etc. Also the name of a famous Puerto Rican boy band that launched the career of Ricky Martin. Here menudo is not the tripe soup of Mexico like I initially thought it was! You may also hear “más a menudo” which means “more often than not.”
Chilla/chia – Woman on the side. Mistress. I was discussing how great semillas de chia (chia seeds) are for your health and my friend explained the alternative meaning of chia here in Puerto Rico! I assume it could also go for chio too. Though chillo is a type of common fish here -snapper to be exact.
Obsequio -Gift/present. I thought of the English word obsequious which has sort of a negative connotation of being submissive and servile to an extreme degree. But here the word obsequio is virtually interchangeable with regalo.
Postizo -false, fake. I had absolutely no idea what someone was talking about when they asked me in Spanish if I had fallen on my face and had to have postizos. I later learned they were asking about my teeth and saying that they looked too perfect to be real. haha.

See what I mean by how difficult learning a language like Spanish can be?! So many different meanings and cognates. Had you heard these? Did I translate and understand them correctly? Any other meanings or funny words I should be aware of? Language is yet another adventure here in Puerto Rico.

If you found this helpful, here’s a couple older posts about Puerto Rican Spanish and vocabulary.

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Step One Complete: We Bought a House in Rincon Puerto Rico

Posted by Britton

When Cassie and I first set out to buy a property in Puerto Rico we knew it’d be an adventure, we knew that it wouldn’t be possible to know how it would turn out and we also knew it would be a great accomplishment.

Step one was to: Buy a property

Well that has been completed.  We were right though.  It has been an adventure, it wouldn’t be possible to know how this turned out and it is a huge accomplishment. 

We started out South of Lares pretty deep in the jungle/interior of Puerto Rico. We waited a year for the property to be correctly registered and it didn’t happen. During that first time trying to purchase something we always found ourselves leaving the property and driving to Rincon. Nearly every day. It took an hour+ to drive there, then we’d drive back late at night.   We backed out of that deal and started looking again.

On our second attempt we came looking for something further west. We looked in Atalaya and Aguadilla. We stayed at a place just off the 413 in Rincon for that trip. We really liked a place in Atalaya we looked at but the price was just too much for me.   We passed and someone else bought it.  We felt like we had to start all over…again.

On our third I found a property north of San Sebastian. This was much further West than Lares and only about 30 mintues to the beach / Rincon. We negotiated an offer which we could afford and it was accepted. We felt pretty good about this deal. It had land, a house and was closer to all the action.

Then the unexpected happened. We found a property that was not only in Rincon, but we could afford to buy it. The price had always been a limiting factor for us living in Rincon! So it seems like it is a good fit for us.  We finished up the deal just yesterday and purchased it.  It is a bag of mixed emotions.  Everything from overwhelming joy due to us finally completing step 1 of our goal to a bit of fear and panic about what is next.  Do we fix up the wood house?  Do we not worry about it because we may want to tear it down and build a house of our choosing? 

This seems to be a logical thing for us.  We always have something going on and like to have something to do.  This project will keep us busy for years to come. 

There is a concrete studio apartment bulit there as well.  I think we will get the water turned on and make that livable for now.  It will give us a place to stay while we are here, it is nice already inside (just needs paint and maybe some plumbing).   We aren’t really sure what to do with the larger wood house, but I guess we have plenty of time to figure it out.

Stairway in Wood House

Cassie on the Deck

At this time it looks like step 2 will be to figure out what step 3 is.  It is different to dream about something than to actually do it.  When you actually do it, you feel all kinds of things you don’t in the dream.  You see things in reality that don’t exist in the dream(good and bad).  One of my favorite analogies of life is that it is like a rollercoster:

The world is like a ride in an amusement park and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and around and around and it has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly coloured and it’s very loud. And it’s fun – for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question; is this real? Or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, and they say, “Hey, don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because… this is just a ride.”

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