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The Gringarican Handbook - stories about moving to Vieques, PR, life in the slow lane and becoming a Gringarican

Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles, 1969

Good morning Vieques!!  We are up before the sun,but not before the roosters!  I can still hear the night creatures in the palms as I take an outdoor shower. I think an outdoor shower is a great invention and have designed one for each level of our soon to be (?) dreamhouse.  Nothing like showering with an ocean view.
 
We must be living right, as the previous day's travel went too smooth - early arrival at SJU means we can grab the 11 am Cape Air flight.  House manager picks us up at the airport, drops me at Maritzas and takes Fred and luggage to Bravos House.  By 12:15 I am at Morales with a long shopping list.  We are home.
 
An island drive is a must do for our first full day back.  We are eager to see what's changed, and happy to say, "not much".  However, the road to Red Beach is now paved!!  Those lomos (speed bumps) every 30 yards will certainly help keep the speeds at the posted limit.  We know there is a hefty fine for speeding within the Fish & Wildlife area and are respectful of the roads - and our rental car!
 
Shopping is still a mysterious venture at times.  I think I have purchased some very nice pork chops to grill for our evening meal.  Instead, I find I have purchased ham steaks.  The package said "cerdo chuleta ah".  The word ahomar (smoked) was cut off.  Next time I'll know!
 
Relaxation is our goal and it is much too easy to soak up sun on the bedroom patio and then move to the covered porch when we need to cool off.  I get a notion for seafood, so I run down to the docks and get 5 pounds of conch and 5 pounds of lobster, fresh off the boat.  In fact, I help the diver carry the lobsters from his boat.
 
At the refuge beaches, particularly Red, we are noticing many "W" purple towels.  Of course, now that the road is paved more are coming.  We are happy that the road past Red has remained unpaved and move on to a less populated beach. 
 
There are some must do's - we must get a smaller Post Office box, we must meet with our realtor and attorney and we must set up a bank account.  The fact that the U.S. Postal Service is alive and well in Vieques is a plus.  Also the fact that banking is similar to the states and the local bank even has branches in Florida and New York.
 
We are pretty much in the dark as far as the process to secure our lot.  We're not the only ones.  The listing realtor says she has an inside scoop that the municipality will not contest the adverse possession case for the title.  The attorney says that he thinks all the legalities could be wrapped up by December!  So, in anticipation of a closing within the year, we execute a Puerto Rico power of attorney ($$$) so I may close on the property without Fred in attendance.  Its only April now, but we will be ready!!
 
Just when we start to miss canine companionship, along comes Oscar.  A friendly fellow who likes treats and belly rubs (okay, so who doesn't) and is content to hang and enjoy the sun with us.  He becomes our morning wakeup call - he sits by the bedroom doors and gives us a morning hello.  He also feels the need to warn us of any cars coming too close to the house and accompanies me on a lime picking excursion.
 
We have made many friends during our travels, some we have kept, and some we hide from.  Tom has become one of the latter.  A Norte Americano with a home in Vieques, he has "been on the island longer than anyone", is best friends with everyone from the mayor to the street cleaner and has done everything.  He wouldn't use our builder, or our lawyer.  Don't ask why I invited him to dinner, though I invited our friend Gilly too, to act as a buffer.  When she saw him arrive, her eyebrows shot up and she got a look of fear in her eyes.  We endured him together.  That's real friendship.  Fred dislikes Tom so much that he takes care of all the dishes, just to get out of the room.  Lesson learned.  At least the dinner was good.
 
Fresh Lime Cake
 
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temp                             1 1/3 cups self rising flour
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar                                   2-3 large limes
2 eggs, room temp                                                1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
 
Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter and flour an 8" pan.  Cream butter and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Beat in milk, then flour.  Transfer to prepared pan, smooth top and bake 35 minutes.  Grate 1 T lime peel.  Squeeze 1/4 cup lime juice.  Mix peel, juice and 1/4 cup sugar.  Poke holes in the cake after removed from the oven and pour half the lime syrup over the hot cake.  Cool.  Whisk remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and syrup.  Drizzle over cake.  Let sit 1 hour.  Good with coconut ice cream.
 
On our last day we meet some Bravos House neighbors.  They give us good tips on building, engineers and contractors.  Since our realtor is confident that we will have a closing by the end of the year, this is all very useful to us.
 
We say goodbye to Vieques and Oscar, for a few months.

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