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Entries in Puerto Rico (4)

Wednesday
May042011

Re-Stocking the Shelves

Went to the one relatively large grocery store in Esperanza, Vieques to buy some eggs, but couldn't get in because they were using a fork lift to bring in a new shipment of goods (Coca-Cola) through the front door of the store. And this was the only door. And there was very little clearance (both on the sides and the top). And it took over 15 minutes. [NOTE: I hung around taking pictures (see Descontaminacíon, Rescate, Desarollo) and chatting with the locals, and finally got in to buy eggs.]

Tuesday
Apr262011

Descontaminac√≠on, Rescate, Desarrollo

As is shown in this wonderful mural in one of the neighborhoods of Esperanza, there are still several issues to deal with now that the US Navy has stopped bombing the island.  In particular, the residents are re-organizing to push for the decontamination (descontaminacíon) of the soils and habitats on the eastern and western parts of the island, to rescue (rescate) the land tenure they lost in 1941, and to promote sustainable development (desarrollo) on Vieques, i.e. to not follow the uncontrolled development path of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. [NOTE: I love the creepy U.S. soldiers depicted in the background.]

Monday
Apr252011

Punta Arenas

Slow pan off the beach at Punta Arenas (Green Beach) on the western side of the island of Vieques. Couple of points of interest. Notice the beautiful Caribbean Blue color (Pantone®284) of the water. And the shadows of the numerous coral reefs close by. And the fact that there is absolutely no one else around. We found some beautiful shells on this beach. [NOTE: That's Puerto Rico off in the distance (starting at 0:40).]

Sunday
Apr242011

Vieques

Have just returned from five days on Vieques, an island municipality of Puerto Rico in the northeastern Caribbean. Wonderful trip with the family.  Beautiful beaches and coral reefs, the world's largest and brightest bioluminescent bay,  super-friendly people, delicious food, and all of this crammed into the central third of the island. Lot of stories here.

U.S. Navy buys the entire eastern and western part of the island during World War II. Local sugar industry collapses. Navy continues to use the island as a weapons dump and a firing  range. People get killed and huge parts of the island get contaminated and littered with unexploded ordnance. After a series of peaceful protests, the Navy withdraws from the island in 2003 and the eastern and western parts are designated as National Wildlife Refuges. 

The beaches within the NWR are lovely, but you don't want to go any further inland. [NOTE: Go here for the official Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) for Vieques.]