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

Back In The Saddle Again, Gene Autry, 1939

Well, its November again and we're back at Bravos House.  We're pleased to see that there haven't been many changes over the past six months.  I have still been obsessed with our lot purchase, but no one else seems to feel an urgency.  We do have an official Purchase Agreement and deposit with the sellers, contingent on the securing of a title.  We will gladly subsidize the legal fees, to a certain extent. to obtain this necessary documentation.
It is a Vermont invasion in Vieques.  We have two friends who have joined us for part of our vacation, and others who are Vieques homeowners are also on island.
Although the fish market is not officially open, we can see fishermen heading for the docks with their catch.  So, we head on down to meet them - hoping to relieve them of some fish, lobsters and conch.  Mission accomplished.  The boats seem to come back in daily at around 11am, so it is possible to score around that time.
My visiting friend Jane is a painter and we spend some time each day with a painting class for me.  She's a great instructor and I  enjoy our lessons, and actually end up with some nice watercolors.  I am proud!
As I've previously mentioned, you should never plan a menu before you shop.  We have invited the rest of the Vieques Vermonters for dinner, so we go off to see what's available.  There is a delicious bread made here, called Pan Agua.  It is available at 2 Isabel bakeries - Panaderia Lydia, located across from the Ocean View Hotel and Panaderia La Viequenses located across from Roys on Route 200.  Loaves are sold by the pound (libre) and one pound consists of two long, fat half loaves of warm heaven with a faint cinnamon fragrance for $2.  Buying at Lydia is reminiscent of Seinfeld's Soup Nazi.  You stand in line outside of a barred door, place your order, then step aside.  There is a sign that states "No cocinamos huevos"(we don't cook eggs),  but you can get a breakfast sandwich.  LaViequenses has all sorts of sandwiches available, breakfast (they do cook eggs), and lunch.  My favorite is their cubano.  They also have great coffee.  At this point I should also mention "El Serrucho"which is located across from the ferry terminal.  Popular for breakfast.  Bread can also be found at the small gas station on Route 200.
The  fruit and veggie truck is just off the corner of Routes 200 & 997.  Mundo also sells tires and a variety of other items.  It might not be the freshest of veggies, but it is there when you need it.  You can  usually find what you need.  However, there are no prices marked and I am convinced there is a local price and a gringo price.  He does not take credit cards.  We pick up cilantro, cukes, papaya, apples and clementines.
Callabazza is generally available, as are all types of rice.  We did bring a few frozen meats from home, so our dinner party menu is:
         Black Bean Mousse with plantain chips
         Mango chicken sausage with maple mustard
         Grilled pork tenderloin
         Papaya corn salsa
         Cucumber & onion salad
         Calabazza Risotto
         Ripe Plantains (maduras) with butter and rum
         Green Salad
         Coconut Ice Cream with chocolate sauce
         Plenty of Medalla and Don Q
Calabazza Risotto - Serves 6
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 calabazza,peeled & cooked til almost soft, cut into bite size chunks
3 cups warm chicken or veggie broth
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Saute rice and onion in olive oil until onion is transparent over medium heat.  Add 1 cup broth and stir until broth is almost absorbed and add another cup.  Continue to stir.  When 2nd cup is almost absorbed, start adding remaining broth in smaller quantities, until rice reaches a soft, but not sticky, consistency.  Add calabazza chunks and stir.  Add parmesan.

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