Category Archives: Challenges

Lizard Internet / Mango Wireless


Posted by Britton

Our normal morning routine is to wake up, make some coffee and zone out on the internet for a bit until we start our daily do-ings.  Lately however our internet setup hasn’t been working!!  So my routine started to include walking over to the other side of the property and checking out our wireless bridge.

I can usually check segments of our network from the cabin, but lately the cabin has been completely cut off!
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Climbing the Pole
The higher the wireless router inside this little box on the utility pole, the better signal we get from our neighbor’s router that we share with.

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The Problem

Pretty much every day there is rat poop on top of the box, with some leftover parcha or starfruit.  So I know the rats have been hanging out on top of the box.  But these wires are inside of the cage I built!  They can’t be getting inside?!

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Another Possible Hacker

I saw this one on top of the goods one day too.  But again, it is waayyyy too large to get into the box and be able to chew the wires up!  So probably not the one I am looking for.

It wasn’t until the other day I finally saw the culprit!

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Ah Ha!!! (click to enlarge)

There has been a small lizard living inside the box and eating the cables every night!  The power cables are pretty chewed up but power cables shock them once they eat all the insulation, so he stops.  With the Ethernet cables however, he just chews right thru them.

I’ve mended the Ethernet cable probably 5 or 6 times now.  I covered it in some really thick waterproofing tape and that seems to be working for the moment.  I also will be hunting this little pest.  He is fast and I found myself chasing him with a stick the other day!  It was really quite humorous.

The other idea I had was to electrify the wire cage so that it isn’t such a nice spot for critters to sit and hang out.  I don’t think it will take much to do, but something I’ll have to figure out!  Maybe in the next revision?!

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Beach Breaks


Posted by Cassie

We are in the midst of moving over to the cabin!! (More on that soon!) Yay! But it has been a stressful period too. So we have been trying to take some time out to reset at the beach as well.

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At the Marina in Rincón

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At Steps Beach in Rincón

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Britton at Steps before going snorkeling

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Mermaid magic underwater

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But it was out and about that we found a shark!

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On the Steps at Steps Beach

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Flash Flood Stall Out and Rescue


Posted by Cassie

We went to Aguadilla for an appointment and ended up in Aguada (watery-land)! Literally.

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View overlooking Aguadilla out to Rincón

In Aguadilla we ran our errands, stopped and had lunch and then headed back home. On the way home it began to rain a little, and then a little more. We drove through Aguada and realized we forgot something and turned around splashing through a growing overflow of water on the road. We went to the nearest Farmacia. They didn’t have what we were looking for so we returned the way we came. This time there was a police car blocking the road with cars turning around. We could see that the road was flooded out, but we had just passed through there 20 minutes earlier! It couldn’t have risen that much more that we couldn’t pass, could it?!

The police spoke through the speaker and said in Spanish we could pass at our own risk to ourselves and vehicle. Britton took that as a green light! We went through one part just fine and then it started to get deeper and deeper. There was a slight hesitation on the part of Britton and then it was over. The truck stalled out in the middle of the road that was now a river…

poor-guaguaHow stuck we were! Look at that water flowing!

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Like we were in a fricken boat!

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That was sinking!

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Ooops…

We sat in the truck as it filled with water for about 20-30 minutes. People around us took pictures and video and yelled to us from the safety of the parking lot to make sure we were ok. Eventually the Emergency Rescue Management team showed up. The people in the military-looking Hummer first said they were going to look for a chain to tow us out and then decided to just get us out and we then would wait for a grúa (a tow truck) to get the guagua out.

It was pretty exciting to get extricated from the truck by climbing through the window barefoot. I’ve never had to be rescued before and I am so thankful these people are here! Everyone was super nice and didn’t give us a ticket or even a scolding except to tell Britton that he should be more careful since he had precious cargo on board (me)! Awww. I think they knew we had received our own punishment. They even said they were happy to make new friends with us even if it wasn’t in the best of circumstances. People here in Puerto Rico are so wonderful.

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With a few of the crew that rescued us! Thank you all!

The grúa came and towed out the truck and took us home. Now we are working on the truck to see if we can get it to run again…

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Checking the engine

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What an adventure!

Here’s a little video I managed to take in the midst of the chaos.

 

 

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¡Caravana, Caravana! Politics and Caravans in Puerto Rico


Posted by Cassie

Just as in the states, it is currently political season here in Puerto Rico. The politics of Puerto Rico is a bit different than in the states, but in one way it is very similar: it is nuts!

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Caravanas clogging the roads

Just as a quick primer on Puerto Rico politics, here’s a few things to know.

There are two main parties: 1) Populares (also known as PPD- Partido Popular Democrático) and 2) PNP (Partido Nuevo Progresista) which they pronounce in passing in Spanish as Pay-Nay-Pay. The distant 3rd party is PIP (Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño).

Popular is Red. Popular is symbolized by ”la pava” which is the old jíbaro hat.

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PPD: Pan, Tierra, Libertad = Bread (food), Land and Liberty

PNP is Blue. Symbolized by “la palma” the palm tree.

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PNP: Estadidad, Seguridad, Progreso =Statehood, Security and Progress

PIP Independents are green. The main platform is to become independent from the United States.

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But basically it is a 2 party system. The main platform for all the parties is identity in relation to the US. They are trying to answer the question of whether or not to stay a commonwealth of the US or become a state (or in the case of PIP to become an independent country). The red populares favor commonwealth status quo and the blue PNPs want statehood. PNPs are aligned somewhat with the Republican party at the national level though overall Puerto Ricans in general are politically liberal. The PNP governor candidate (of the party aligned with the Republicans) in fact is a liberal Democrat at the national level.

So while Puerto Ricans who are all US citizens (including us transplants) have all been disenfranchised and cannot vote for president of the United States, politics is still serious business here and everyone has an opinion on the state of things. Puerto Ricans also love to party. So what better way to connect the pastimes of complaining about politics and hanging out than having huge rallies and caravans!? We’ve passed by a few rallies and they are interesting. There’s often free food like lechón, live music and the candidate making long-winded speeches promising the world.

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At a political rally in Rincon. Live music, fun…and politics?

But it really is the caravanas that you will not forget if you happen to visit Puerto Rico during a major election year such as this one. They are basically long loud parades with huge speakertrucks, buses full of people waving flags, people walking and yelling, fireworks, long lines of cars honking and lights flashing. If you are part of the caravan it might be kind of fun, but if you get stuck in one unsuspectingly, it can be downright nuts and you WILL be late to wherever you were planning on going! I got stuck behind a caravan one night and it was sooo loud and wild I had to pull over just to calm down and let it pass.

Here’s a compilation (above) of a few of the caravanas we have been exposed to this year. This is not all of them, but just ones with videos…I am not sure where the tradition of caravans came from. Perhaps from a time before television or radio where the only way to get your news was from people actually going around and telling others about it. It seems a little absurd this day and age, but it’s also kind of interesting as a cultural remnant.

Thankfully political season will be over after Tuesday and we can all take a deep breath and appreciate the coquis and driving to your destination without becoming a car in a carnival parade once again.

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