I don’t have even a trace of bad snake thoughts here on Vieques, because this tiny, beautiful island has absolutely no snakes. Not one. They probably don’t even sell gummy worms in the grocery stores. It’s one of the reasons I love it here.
It wasn’t always like this. In fact, back in the 1870s, when there were sugar plantations here, there were snakes and an infestation of rats who loved to eat the sugar cane.
So, an enterprising Puerto Rican sugar cane farmer had a brilliant idea when he imported 9 little furry mongooses from India to eat the rats. They did such a good job with the rats, that the farmer started breeding them and selling them to neighboring islands. The rum industry was saved and the mongooses were the heroes of the Caribbean.
We said farewell to Vieques, Puerto Rico, on November 2nd.
For us, goodbye is bittersweet, especially when it means we are walking away from memories, special friends, a weeping community and an island limping toward recovery.
On this side of it all, as we now read the accounts of everything that occurred, during and after the hurricanes, we realize that not one of the news articles really captures what happened and what was really going on. The rest of the world just doesn’t “get it.”
John grew up in New Orleans. He’s been through a lot hurricanes and tropical storms. He understands hurricane preparation, as well as hurricane recovery. One of the things he tried to get me ready for, after Maria, is a major infestation of BUGS!
Man O’ Man, was he right. We are covered in flying and crawling varmints and his racket “zapper” is doing over time.
This morning, as I was making coffee, John stepped to the screened door with his zapper in one hand and bug spray in the other. He stood there for a second and then exclaimed to the insect population of Vieques:
“Bring it on. I’m ready for you. Who’s it gonna be? Who’s gonna be the BUG OF THE DAY???”
We’ve learned so much about what it takes to be disaster/hurricane survivors.
Our friend Bill describes Viequense with the three R’s: resilient, resourceful and respectful. The people on Vieques are truly remarkable. But, we’ve added another “R” to his analogy – RELIEF lines.
Daily, if we haven’t stood at least an hour in some kind of line, we feel like we haven’t accomplished anything for the day.
Here’s what I mean.
October 8, 2017 Vieques, Puerto Rico We owned a web development/marketing company prior to becoming house sitters. We thought we were tech savvy and pretty current on how devices worked, as well as anything that had to do with the World Wide Web. Often we used our phones to browse the Internet, even when we […]
Last year when we downsized (sold our cars, home, furniture, business and personal belongings) to travel the world as house sitters, we thought we were trimming our lives down to the bare bones. We kept only what we thought we needed to exist in the world. Two carry-ons and two suitcases each of our “stuff” is pretty basic, right?
WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
When my sons, Scott and Brad, were teens they had a pet iguana named Squiggy. Squiggy had full reign of their upstairs bedrooms and loved to ride on our shoulders as we walked around the house. I would even rock him to sleep and he loved it when we’d rub his little belly. Squiggy was one spoiled iguana.
September 20, 2017 Vieques, Puerto Rico Nothing that we went through during Irma prepared us for what Hurricane Maria did to us and the beautiful island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. We had followed the hurricane experts’ predictions about Maria’s path and we were hoping that she would pass south of us. No such luck. Here’s […]
September 13, 2017 Vieques, Puerto Rico We were lucky. Irma did little structural damage to Vieques. The trees and landscaping were not as fortunate. Huge trees were uprooted and many roads were semi-blocked from branches and debris. The electrical and telephone poles are still standing, but there was some damage to a few power lines. […]
John is a hurricane pro. He grew up in the Parish down the river from New Orleans (St. Bernard) and experienced several major hurricanes and a lot of tropical storms. If you are house sitting in the hurricane belt, during hurricane season on an ISLAND, then he’s the man you want to have around.
I’m a hurricane rookie. Growing up in a suburb of Dallas, I always thought a hurricane was merely a tornado that came from the ocean. I know, I know…silly me. I have a lot to learn.