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Random Puerto Rico Weirdness


Posted by Cassie

Here are some random weird pictures that don’t really have a place, but I just have to share. Though we are adapting well to our environment sometimes there are still moments here where we both just look at each other and say “WTF?!”

Ford Trax on a pool table strange sightsA Quad on a pool table!?

Farmers Market
Some sort of wild cucumber…looks like a plant from another planet!

Bar BathroomApparently this bar bathroom was made for visiting mermaids too…check out the conch shell showerhead and coral rocks

Fake Pig RoastThey really like lechon here…even when it is made from old rubber tires!

David BowieEven our chickens are a little wacky!

Wheelchair Cassie
And you never know who or what may photo bomb you whilst hanging out in a wheelchair!

Big IguanaAnd I don’t think I will ever get used to living in Jurrasic Park with these huge lizards!

Pink bromeliadAnd the colors here feel like we live in a cartoon

Rob Towel PlayingAnd check out our drummer, Rob! lol

Britton and his coffeeWalking around half naked is still sort of weird, but I love it!

Island Time literally
I still just don’t understand why they put an old ceiling fan and a clock on a bamboo stick outside? So many questions!

strange-sights-mushroom-house
Like, What? A mushroom house?? This is such a cartoon!

guavas
When the guys at the loza store give you guavas that look like avocados and laugh because your confusion is a sure way to tell a gringo from a Boricua

pitomba
And we continue to find new fruits we have never eaten before in our lives like this pitomba we have growing on the finca… it’s a little like an apricot

tarantula
And also finding a huge tarantula in your work boots!!

img_4067
So…that nicely tiled trough is the urinal….why???

please-do-not-wash-feet-funny-strange-sight
Apparently a lot of weirdness happens in bathrooms. When you live in a beach town…people like to wash their sandy feet in the sink

This place is so fun…and weird. But so fun. I love it. It’s like a dream: weird and wonderful.

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Cooking with Plantains (Or Yes, We are Adapting!)


Posted by Cassie

I remember when we were back in Greeley, Colorado. We tried to replicate what we imagined our life would be like in Puerto Rico. We were both so excited about all the cool things we could do when we lived there. We had indoor coffee plants, mini citrus trees, even a banana tree in our living room! I looked for anything with Puerto Rico in it. Read lots and lots of books, blogs, articles, etc. We even had chickens against all convention and with a big fight because we knew we could have as many animals as we wanted when we were outside of the rigidity, rules and conformity of the states.

Banana Tree in Living Room
Seems pretty funny now…our Colorado indoor banana tree

We also tried cooking some Puerto Rican food. And it was an absolute failure. Not only is Puerto Rican food extremely difficult to find in Colorado (the closest thing I found was a Cuban restaurant in Denver), but even the raw ingredients were horrible! We could do rice and beans but beyond that, it was a complete loss. There are no breadfruits or traditional viandas in Colorado grocery stores, coconuts were basically rotten and we had absolutely no idea how to cook plantains. A good reminder to eat local-wherever you are! I remember one plantain we tried cooking. We couldn’t even get the skin off it. We didn’t know how long to cook it and so when we finally tried it, we were like…how did anyone think that eating these was a good idea?!

Banana flowers
Our bananas growing now (outside)

So I suppose it’s a good sign when plantains (and breadfruit and papaya and avocados and bananas and mangos) straight from your tree become part of your daily fare. I wasn’t exactly taught how to cook with these things like a parent might to a child and I definitely would like to learn some traditional techniques, but when it is all around you, you learn quickly. Here is a video of a typical breakfast. Nearly all straight from our land.

Plantains (platanos) grow and look much like bananas (guineos), but they are considered a starch or main food group rather than a snack or dessert. Here they make all sorts of things with plantains such as tostones, amarillos, mofongo, empanadillas and many others. I stick with lightly pan fried amarillos. Amarillo means yellow and so unlike most other dishes which use the green plantains, I wait until they are yellow to cook them. They cook fast and don’t need to be double fried like some of the others.

This is still very basic cooking. For one thing, we only have one single burner. And another is I don’t know exactly how to cook some of the “fancy” things like mofongo, though I love to eat it! Con tiempo, con tiempo. It was fun preparing for our move, but there is really nothing like the real thing when you fully embrace it.

Mofongo
Mofongo relleno y Malta -something I never ate in Colorado but can enjoy any time here!

Growing, eating and cooking with plantains means we are adapting. Evolving. Becoming more Puerto Rican. And it is cool because plantains also have a cultural significance. La mancha de plátano or the stain of the plantain is considered a symbol of pride for the jíbaro, the Puerto Rican country farmer, who when cutting down bananas and plantains would invariably get banana sap on their clothing. This stain is nearly impossible to remove, like the love for the country itself.

Mancha de platano
Plantain stain on a towel that we set plantains and bananas on after harvesting them

La Mancha de Plátano
Luis Lloréns Torres
(Translated by me)

Mata de platano, a tí,
a tí te debo la mancha
que ni el jabón, ni la plancha
quitan de encima de mí
desque jíbaro nací
al aire llevo el tesoro
de tu racimo de oro
y tu hoja verde y ancha;
Llevaré siempre la mancha
por secula seculorum.

Plantain tree, to you,
To you I owe the stain
That neither soap nor the iron
Can take away from me
Since I was born a jíbaro
To the air I bring the treasure

Of your golden corm
and 
your green and wide leaf;
With me I will always carry the stain
For ever and eternity.

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Birds of a Feather


Posted by Cassie

Not too much to update. Life has been good. We are still playing music with the band and progressing on the cabin. We’ve also been hanging out and having a good time. We are fortunate to spend time with such a varied group of people we call our friends.

Core Five Continentals
Hanging out with the band in the Jam Space after a jam 

Baby turkey
This little turkey hatched from a nest over by the cabin and was the sole survivor. Since she has no one else to cuddle with, she snuggles up with me.

Electrical work
Running the electrical wire at the cabin with our friend Papo

Bird world
The birds making themselves at home at la finca

Surfer Spot
Enjoying a late night drink and food at Surfer Spot with friends

Live Music art walk
Lots of fun and friends at the Art Walk in Rincón every Thursday evening

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Snapshots of Life Right Now: September 2015


Posted by Cassie

Well, tomorrow is officially our 2 year anniversary of living in Puerto Rico (here’s life when we first arrived)! My how time flies! We still have so much to look forward to (or it could be seen as so much to do!) that time just sort of slips away from us. Perhaps it is the lack of snow and cold that makes everything sort of meld together, or maybe it is that we don’t have any real pressing urgency to be anywhere, but time has gone by so fast.

Turkey troop
Turkey troop in the sunlight

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, so rather than attempt to write about our daily lives too much I thought I would just share many thousands of words in a few pictures. Thank goodness for pictures to capture a few of these fleeting moments.

Mowing the lawn
Summer rains and heat means things grow super fast -so we both get out and mow!

Bridge quebrada
Preparing the site for the bridge crossing over the quebrada

Troupial 1
Beautiful troupial in a tamarind tree

Britton bench
Britton, Kitty and the turkey poults 

Cow at steps
Friendly soft-eyed cow at Steps Beach

Pulasan
Strange yummy fruit finds at the Farmer’s Market – A porcupine looking pulasan

Plumeria trinitaria
Plumeria and trinitaria (plus sphinx moth caterpillars)

Ship passingWatching ships passing and clouds building

Steps beachJamming at Marks
Days of sun and beach and nights of jamming music

Cassie chicken cat
And lots of time outside with the animals: Me, Kitty and a chicken

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