Tag Archives: Ponce

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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Summer and Brandom Fun

Posted by Cassie

Summer and Brandom visit
First time at the beach in PR for Brandom!

We’ve been having fun with our niece Summer and her boyfriend. We were at Pollo Tropical and they asked his name for the order. He said “Brandon” but they couldn’t understand him and put “Brandom” instead. So that is his new name and I am sure everything has been very Random for Brandom seeing as this is his first time to Puerto Rico!

Ride in the truck
The mustang is still out of commission so we had to pick them up in the truck!

Summer Brandom us
Fun in Ponce at the famous Parque de Bombas

We’ve shown them around Rincón a little and took a trip to Ponce because Summer enjoyed it the last time she was here visiting us. Today we are off on more adventures with them, so stay tuned!

Ponce church
Beautiful Church in Ponce

Pinchos parque
Pinchos and Piraguas

Britton mask
Checking out the tourist shops

Cassie lion flags ponce
Lions, but of course

Britton pincho fountain
Enjoying his pincho

Cassie summer serralles
Summer and me in front of the Castillo Serralles

Cruz above
The cross was closed but we still wandered around the area

Hop fence
And jumped the fence to see the Japanese gardens

Cross overlookIt’s a really cool view up top

Cassie japanese
At the Japanese gardens

Koi fish Lily pads
They even had koi, water lilies and a pagoda!

Hector La Voe and Summer Cassie
Then we went down to La Guancha for a bit and hung with our friend Hector La Voe

Cassie eyes edit
We SAW it all

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Flashback to Puerto Rico: August 15-16, 2005

Posted by Cassie

This is the 6th Part in the Honeymoon Flashback Series. I would like to finish sharing this whole journal that we wrote on our honeymoon in 2005 before we leave to start our new Puerto Rico life adventure this fall 2013. Go here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

The Vortex of Ponce

Well, we left Parguera and headed to Ponce. We stopped for more super healthy groceries (beer, cookies, nuts) and for some fast food because we were having a hard time picking somewhere good to eat. Because Britton was driving, he had to order in the drive thru…in Spanish. I tried to help him, but it was hard to transfer the information across the car all mumbled through the speaker, so we ended up having to drive up to the window and talk face to face. When we tried to leave, we apparently went the wrong way because a policeman drove up and told us to turn around. This was the first of many police stops this day.

Dryland Forest
Puerto Rican Dryland Forest with cacti and everything!

Britton was a little shook up, but we managed our way out. We took a long detour and saw the desert part of the island and drove around where we could almost see Gilligan’s Island that I thought had a pretty cool name. It is just a small island about 100 meters off from Guanica.

Then we drove into Ponce, the Pearl of the South. It is probably the biggest city in south Puerto Rico. We got a little lost trying to find downtown, but once there, it was as if it had a vortex that sucked us in and we couldn’t get out.

Parque de Bombas

We saw the Parque de Bombas, the awesome old red and black firehouse. We also saw the old church and we drove all the way up the hill to the mansion and cross that overlooks the whole city and you can see all the way to the ocean!


100_1887 100_1889 100_1888 100_1881 100_1883 100_1885
The streets were all under construction so when we decided to leave downtown when it got dark, we got really turned around and didn’t know north from south. There were no mountains like in Colorado to guide us east or west. We drove around for a while and since it was getting dark we again decided to see a movie. When all you have is free time on vacation you realize how much time you actually have to spend! We were finally able to get in and see the movie, the Island! It was a little hard to find the theatre too, but we managed and it was a fun movie.

After the movie, it was late but not as late as the other night, so we started to look for a good place to sleep. We left the theatre but somehow ended up in the vortex that took us right back downtown by the firehouse. By now it was 12:30am and there was construction on almost all of the streets and a ton of one-ways or TRANSITOS. We would try to go one way, but either the construction blocked it or the one-ways prevented it. We accidently ended up going the wrong way down the TRANSITO and got pulled over by the police now for the second time this day.

The policemen were nice and understanding giving us tourist free-passes I think. But they didn’t speak very good English and so I at first tried to help Britton by speaking across him in the car. But the policeman insisted in trying to speak English and so I stopped trying. He didn’t know the difference or words in English between his right and left so when we tried to leave and follow his directions out we ended up RIGHT BACK in downtown Ponce!

The vortex had swirled on us again! Britton thought he was going south when we were actually going north. It got a little tense in the car. We were tired, hungry, nervous from being pulled over and utterly lost. So we were more than ready to escape Ponce! Britton tried to leave and again went down a road against traffic on a one-way, and was AGAIN pulled over by the police! The police are, to say the very least, friendly and forgiving and didn’t give us ticket for any of these mistakes. The other confusing thing about being pulled over was that we didn’t even know if we were being pulled over because they drive around with their lights on at all times!

Finally after sticking to the cardinal rule when lost of going in one direction (as much as we could with all the one ways and closed roads due to construction) we were able to get out of the vortex. We were so tired we just parked up on the side of a jungle mountain road. It was much easier to sleep with the coquis instead of the dogs barking, although it was a bit creepier and dark.

This morning we got up -and lost- again trying to find breakfast. We finally got turned around and visited Tibes Ceremonial Indian Center. It was nice to learn about the original indigenous people from the island.

Re-created Taino style huts at the ceremonial village

Then we drove up to where we are now: the Coamo thermal springs. We are tired and we’ve just returned from a dip in the natural hot spring pool and are hanging out in the room watching Puerto Rican MTV.

At the Coamo Hot Springs

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