Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How the small islands in Caribbean are full of famous musicians - aka some news from Saint Martin

It's already some week that I came down to Saint Martin to do my IDC (Instructor development course)and IE (Instructor exams) to become dive instructor. At the end ended up with middle ear squeeze,hearing deficiency and sitting in the office at this moment.
But that is not the thing I would like to talk about :)
I just wanted to write something as I haven't published yet any of the articles which I have hanging in the draft. And decided,as I am getting deaf right now,to send you some music fromlocal production.
As I am sitting in the office here in Anse Marcel,someone knocked on my door with a huge smile,seing this person every day and greeting him like everyone here bon jour I have never got answer. Till he came right now himself to present. He presented himself like Jahbah,living on the island for already 30 years,born in dominica,playing all around caribbean reggue.  And showed me directly one song of them :)
The clip is not a great thing,but somehow I like the music!
I really like the sound and as well he is quite popular around Guadalupe,Martinique. Singing in English,Spanish,Criole,Papiamento and French.

The thing is that remebered me how I always used to go to Virgen Gorda with tourists and meet some friends over there,from which each of them claimed to be musician. And finally I looked up for some songs from my friend Elvis White,who plays quite a lot for Richard Branson and found one smily videoclip from here. Here it comes - Elvis White and Sexy waist - nice soca

Now just to find some music from Lili,who used to play all around the world and I always love to meet him when I get down to the Baths... But that's another quest!

Anyway I hope you enjoyed the music and I will try to give some news soon though... Even though that I owe you guys a loads of BVIlandish,Saint Martinish,Antiguis news.
Just one thing - remeber - each island has a different spirit and even one island - like St. Martin/Sint Maarten are actually two worlds apart.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Boriquas language - or better said special expressions in Spanish from Puerto Rico

When you come to Puerto Rico,the first things which hits you,if you are as well spanish speaker, the sweetness how the people speak spanish and how many slang or too different expressions from the orinal castellano they are using  (as I always get impressed by this when I come to some other spanish speaking country or portuguese speaking country,how the language differs and how people doesn't understeand the original castellano - comming from spain).

Here I picked up some words which stayed in my mind and you can hear it every day being here in Puerto Rico,it's very probable that I forgot a lot of them or I just take them as natural as one can do after being here almost 2 months ;)

Boriqua SpanishCastellano SpanishEnglishNotes
ChamacoChico, MuchachoThe boyViste ese chamaco ai el la calle?
Siempre consigo alguna jeva.
I always get laid somehow. 
(I heard it actually a lot in 
the island of Vieques,where
 is used for any woman)
Conseguir una JebaLiarseGet LaidExplained on a frase above
PonViajar a dedoRideConseguir un pon -
Find someone who will give you a ride.
Pedir el ponViajar a dedoHitchhikeMe da un pon? - Can I go with you?
HabichuelasAluvias/frijolesBeansAroz con habichuelas -
tipical supplement of puertorican food
Chancho/Cerdo asado
Roasted pig
One of tipical foods in Puerto Rico
Cojo mi guagua y vengo recogerte
- I will take my car and come to pick
 you up.
Gay man
Es un pato - He is a gay
Damn it!
Cuesta cinco chavos.
 - It costs 5 dolars
This word could be used for
someone who is as well
trying to cheat people for money.
- Es un pillo
El es muy panita mia -
He is my good friend

 Small Platano Pancakes
Another tipical caribbean
food suplement to main dish
Sweet Bananas
If you are here in Puerto Rico
I definitelty recommend to try the baby guineos :)

Jugo de China = Zumo de Naranja
= Orange juice (Do not confuse China from
Spain - which means Marihuana) 
De puta madre


Esa Bocina es Nítida! -
This speaker is Great!
Deal with
Todo el dia estaba bregando con mi carro.
- He was trying to fix my car all day long.
 Hang around/Have fun
Ayer hangeamos por la noche con ella
 - We went out with her yesterday night

Another word which comes from
 english using just the spanish ending
Flippers/Fins for snorkeling
Quien dejo los trastes sucios?
Who didn't clean up the dishes?

Ella es muy chota -
She is picking nose in everything
 Petrol Station 

MaiMadre MotherI would guess that this
is something like the rest after
some Portuguese who lived on island
I would guess that this 
is something like the rest after
some Portuguese who lived on island
De veras?De verdad?Really?They always ask it with
big surprise and affection :)
Ya mismoEn un ratoIn a whileWell - it means translated exactly
- right now,but it means in a while
MazetaTacañoMeanEl es un mazeta,el no te va ayudar.
 - He is very mean,he won't help you 
ZafacónBasuraTrash Can Botalo al zafacón! Throw it to the bin!
MinocoCosaThingThey use this word if they
 don't know what is the name
of the word. Que es ese minoco?
What's that thing?
TrigueñoNegroTanned/Black African color of the skinSu novio es trigueño. 
Her boyfriend is black.

The person who does the work
of low quality,or as well cheats in bussiness
Embustero/PaqueteroMentirosoLiarEs un embustero. He is trying
to cheat people.
FrisaSabanaSheet/Cover/BlanketTrigamos una frisa con
nosotros a la playa -
Let's take some blanket to the beach.
A la orden (olden)De nada
You are welcome
It's a response when you thank to
 someone. Gracias - A la orden ;)
Es un Revolú grande. It's a big mess
To turn
Vira aqui a la izquierda.
Turn here to the left.
To drive
El guia mal. He drives really bad.
Being angry
Estoy bien enfogonado en ella.
I am very angry with her.
The word Abanico in Spanish from Spain
it's used in general for the fan you have in the hand,like have the Framenco dancers. Here
in Puerto Rico abanico are all the airconditioning ventilators and fans.
De cacheteGratis
For free

The daughter-in law

Preñada/Estar en cintaEmbarazada
Esta en cinta ya segunda vez.
She is already second time pregnant.
Pa donde cogió?Donde fue?
Where did he go?
Pa donde cogió Carmelito?
Where did Carmelito go? 
Dar una pelaPegar alguien
To hit someone
Me dió una pela. He hit me!
Me dió un cantazo. I hit myself.

MarquesinagarageParking place
ChochaCoñoVaginaChupa me el bicho - Suck my dick
Being Broke
Toy Pelao - I don't have any money
Chupa me el bicho - Suck my dick
Fue preso federal por vender perico.
I was in federal prison for
dealing with cocaine
Ta tostao - He is crazy

And here are some videos for you to practice and hear it real:

Rules how to speak with good Boriqua accent :)
1. In Puerto Rico they don't say almost never the R, so for example when you have the verbes, as every spanish word in infinitive ends up in R - Bailar,
Termination of all the verbs in spanish or anything which would haveAl al al Bailal,hangeal, Peldon, Pol favol

2. They don't pronounce much the letter S either - so for example in the word Espejo (mirror) - they would say Ehpeho. But still you have respirated h. When you compare it with people from Dominican Republic they just simply omit it.

3. They don't pronouce much the termination ado - like terminado,limpiado (finished,cleaned) - they just shorten it to ao - terminao, limpiao

These 2 rules sounds bit like if these islands were colonised by people from Andalusia - where they simply don't pronounce these things either.

4. There is no problem over here with word Coger - to catch - as in many others latin american countries where it means to, so don't worry,here in Puerto Rico you can coger whatever you want ;)

5. Speak with afection and like half singing, making the vowels to sound longer (it could be different silab - this u have to listen to get to it). Daale maami :)Pero entooonce?

6. End every phrase with ai papi - if u are talking to man,or Ai mami/ai mi amol - if u are talking to woman with enough affection and you could be considerate real boriqua ;)

7. Many times they use after every statement which would need some afirmation question - Oiste? (Did you hear?) or Aham (after any question or statement you made). You will notice this quite a lot.

7. At the end I would like to say after being a bit while out of Puerto Rico and getting to know a lot of people from Dominican Republic, los boriquas speak much slower than dominicans,maybe that would be one of the things to recognize the accents from these 2 islands.

P.S. IMPORTANT: This is for sure not the list of every special boriqua word - as there are so many, as in every variation of Spanish in every Spanish speaking world,but these are which you would hear mostly and these are some which stayed in my mind while writing this article. I hope you enjoyed it ;)

To see more boriqua word and exceptions :
And many others :) I am sure that if you look for them  google will help you to find them ;)

How to hitchhike from San Juan direction to Fajardo

I have been hitchhiking here just on the junction to the airport and I have seen some buses comming around,so for sure you could get to the junction which leads to the airport by bus or any public transport.
And even there is several gasstations on the Calle Celestial which is diagonal with PR23 - Interstate PR3 - called as well Experso which leads to Carolina.
You can find as well several gasstations on this road,where people stops to get the petrol,only thing is tha n  in Puerto Rico people get quite suspicious and many time would refuse to talk to you if you are on 
gasstation. They get pulled up the windows or just close the door and run away (happened to me several times in aread which haven't been considered for dangerous,what area Metropolitana - means San Juan and the subburbs and satelite cities are considered to be quite disturbing places.
Explanation: Once we went with a car to Salinas to check some boats and we had to get some petrol and there was guy who approached our car - obviously drug addict asking for a ride. In many places of PR, just the people with financial problems - especially drug addicts,alcoholics,robbers etc approach to get something or to do them something as being poor and not having a car could be considered for a crime (or not having someone who can just drive you whereever you need). So I would rather on your place prefer hitchhiking with your thumb up on the main road let people pick you up by their own will and that you are not scaring them directly.
At the spot where I was hitchhiking the cars were going quite slow and I got a ride in about 20 minutes with my huge backpack and everything. Not bad for Metropolitan area and Expresso itself which is considered to be boriquas highway.

You would have to get to Expreso Loiza somehow :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Can I dive if I can't swim? Can I dive if I am on the wheelchair?

I know that I haven't been writing for a while - it has been conected with the reality that I moved myself to other islands in Caribbean to finish my diving certification and as it was quite difficilt to do it in Puerto Rico - epsecially because of organizational level and many other things,I have decided for British Virgen Islands.

And now how I came to these questions. I am making my divemaster with a school named BVI Blue Water Divers. There you can find very laid back atmosphere and the people are from all around the world,with high consciousness and awareness of the nature.

Yesterday when I came for my diving - I am helping as well in the shop to get some dives extra with my course,we got a group of tourists who were from Libanon living in Canada. There were 3 people and especially one lady from teh group looked very concenrned - it somehow dropped from her that she is not a good swimmer. So we tried to calm her down that it shouldn't be any problem though.
When we got to the diving spot on Norman Island - they were going first time to the water - so they needed to learn at least some basic skills.Before taking them to the shallow water the lady wanted to go to the water, so we gave her something to float on, she was scared to death,then it came out to the surface that she can't actually swim at all and that she has panick fear of the water.
In that moment you ask yourself - why do you buy a lesson of diving when you have deadly panick of water?
Nevermind. We got to the shallow water and the istructor Nicol - local belonger from BVI,with origins from Italy took them to very shallow water where they could stand up and try everything slowly and nicely.
The lady was catching panick every in a while. Being scared that if she drinks a bit of water from a sea that it would make her sick,being scared of having salty hair,being scared of every fish,absolute panick state,getting panicked for any kind of reason. It took Nicole in about one hour - till she learned to breathe trough regulator, till she was capable of getting down to sit on the bottom in the sand and breathe. She tried to teach her some more skills like cleaning the mask underwater,but the panicked lady wasn't able to do it after all.

When we got to other site,to the coral reef to perform the real dive,the lady felt much more confortable,more stable than when entering the boat. She actually felt very happy to manage what she managed on the first lesson - getting from dept 0 to 5 meters,without getting to the surface as she was a rocket.
This dive should be about 17 meters. So said - not that deep :)
I went down to hook up the boat to the base of the buoy and came up. We got J - the first of the to the bottom. Husband of the lady and I had to wait with him there,what I was doing,then came down Ahmed and then Nicole managed to get slowly the lady down. In some points all the dive looked like a theatre,where people were running here,others taking pictures,getting scared of fish,reef,crabs etc. Lady got panicked in about every 2 minutes of the dive,making huge eyes and that she would ascend to the surface. So we decided to calm her down and Nicole took her under the arm and we made small round around the reef.
Amazingly,she calmed down completely and we started to enjoy the dive. When we finished - everybody of them was so happy and the lady stayed floating hanging the rope with the biggest smile on the face from all of them. She managed. She managed to dive without even knowing how to swim :)
And she made a promise to herslef that she will come down to the beautiful underworld again.

Now,why I am actually writing this story, it's because I think you can do whatever you desire to do,even though that you are handicaped or not knowing the basics of what should be the prerequisits of something.
Today I bumpted to one amazing video,which made me write this down - about the lady who is diving on her wheelchair :) And that's as well the answer on another question in the caption of this article!


So,don't feet too fat,too slow, too unknowing, too skilless,too scared and panicked! Everything is just a question of will,patience, good guidance, creativity and understeanding.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hitchhiking in Puerto Rico

Before comming to Puerto Rico I was making some survey. The same one as I did before comming to Brazil.
I consulted google for some hitchhiking advices, articles and videos and didn't find anything reliable actually.
I found very short video about two guys getting picked up too happy and some creepy article how 2 guys were picked up with someone drugged (this could happen anywhere).
Then I just simply put a topic in the group of couchsurfing of Puerto Rico and people started to lift their fingers and do bu bu bu to frighten me. As far as I know,people in the districts with higher rate of criminality somehow always use to be more paranoid than the others. I got said that I will surely get raped,killed and put in the pieces and dumped in the open sea to be eaten by a sharks.
In that moment I said to myself - let's see :) This can't be that bad.
In the Island of Puerto Rico which from one side to another has about 180 km and from north to south about 60 and population of 4 million of people,making it one of the most populated islands in caribbean with good road infrastucture the things can't be that bad.

Puerto Rico outside of San Juan has almost no public transpot. I heared that there exist some public cars how they call them - Carro Publico - but I have never actually seen them, as well as if u go to the bus stop, you can easyly spend there all day and I can guarantee you that no bus will appear.
The only transportation company which generaly operates around the island is Linea Sultana and especially in the western part of the Island. I have never seen them actually either.
And Carros Publicos should be something like Taxis - you call them and they should appear, I taked to some people who used to use them and they claimed them to be extremely expensive - for about 3 km you pay around 5 dolars.
Linea Sultana - should look like this,but I actually never seen it
Other thing is that every Boriqua - how people from Puerto Rico call themself,has a car. There are several cars in the family,sometimes each person of the family (and I am not exagerating) has his own car.
So what is another option for someone who comes to the country and doesn't want to hire a car and is low cost traveler to do?


In Puerto Rico they say "viajar del pon" or "pedir el pon". I am already here about one month and something and I am hitchhiking daily everywhere. Let me explain you :)
At first I hitchhed from San Juan direction to Arecibo, where I got picked up by amazing funny guys from Bayamon itself who invited me to eat and were explaining me million and one thing around the island.
They accualy were going to buy some dogs in the central part of the island,but they ended up brining me to Isabela (where I had a host already),giving me a small gift for my keys which I still have with me and lots of hugs :)

And to be continued

Now I actually lied to you. The first time I hitchhiked in Puerto Rico was one of the first days on Island when we decided with Katie - another couchsurfer who was staying at the same host with me in San Juan that we will go to Younke and come back. We got a ride there by the parents of our friend from San Juan and back we were just walking down the slope - I have put my finger up and here we go - 5 minutes waiting time.

Here comes the proof.

We hitched the Haitians living in Maiami :) Who were so nice to bring us to Luquillo to the beach. From where we managed again in 0 time,when the night was approaching to hitch another ride with one couple heading to San Juan - actually they haven't been going to Santurce,where we lived,but just on periphery,but they took us almost in front of the house. Unfortunaly I don't have any video from this as the girl in the car haven't feel confortable with me filming. (Many times people doesn't let you to film as they have several girlfriends/boyfirends,who they don't want to find out that they took another woman with and be online).
I have actually never been given lift here in Puerto Rico by a woman,even though that they many times express their admiration for my courage and even one gave me a beer (not a lift),when I was hitchhiking at night from Mayaguez to Isabela running around the gasstation.

I tried to hitchhike as well in a couple with a guy (as I was told by other guys who tried to hitchhike in Puerto Rico and claimed to be very difficult and dangeorus),my friend from Colombia,living in Mayaguez - Gabriel.
The waiting time was bit longer - it wasn't anymore 5 minutes - it was around 20 for the first ride from Mayaguez to Cabo Rojo and 10 minutes for the second ride. But still I see it like amazing waiting times for a hitchhiker :P

Here comes the proof:

I hitchhiked as well in the island of Vieques (Small Island which belongs to Puerto Rico, which is about 2 hours by ferry from Puerto Rico itself and it  costs just 2 dolars to go there - definitely recomended) to get to the Ferry - got ride immediately I put my thumb up and the person dropped me very close to the place where I needed to go,having a short and nice chat,saving me 5 dolars for the Carro Publico - which in Vieques works somehow,but I didn't find out how it works to get from Esperanza - other side of the island to the Isabela II,from where the ferry goes. It's about 5 miles. 

I hitchhiked as well in the island of Vieques (Small Island which belongs to Puerto Rico, which is about 2 hours by ferry from Puerto Rico itself and it  costs just 2 dolars to go there - definitely recomended) to get to the Ferry - got ride immediately I put my thumb up and the person dropped me very close to the place where I needed to go,having a short and nice chat,saving me 5 dolars for the Carro Publico - which in Vieques works somehow,but I didn't find out how it works to get from Esperanza - other side of the island to the Isabela II,from where the ferry goes. It's about 15 miles.

I have even hitchhiked inside of Area Metropolitana of San Juan - which is considered as the most dangerous place of the island - I can tell you that it wasn't easy and people dont stop very much,but I was lucky to find this guy who dropped me on the exit of the area Metropolitana in Bayamon:

Hitchhiking over there wasn't that dangerous,just the people go too fast and they tend to overlook you,even having your hitchhiking plate etc.It's easier if you are on some gasstation close to Expresso (The only highway in Puerto Rico and ask a bit around,talk to people).

Truly sincerely I can't tell you much about it,as I did it just twice till now and never had any problems,even though that sories became much more interesting and people as well and getting a ride especially around Mayaguez at night was quite difficult even though I moved then to gasstation,where I asked the people directly. As they mainly refuse to talk to you or feel scared or affraid or shy,it's quite complicated. But what I can tell you for sure is that you have a higher chance to meet drunken or drugged driver. Remeber - no public transport and everybody like to have a beer or a small drink after work :) I personaly prefer not hitchhiking at night in Puerto Rico (but that is my own feeling,you could have diferent and I would be happy if you share your stories).

And then you ask WHAT ABOUT POLICE? In USA it's forbidden to hitchhike and Puerto Rico is incorporated Teritory of USA. How is it then? Is the police interested in you trying to hitchhike (viajar del pon). Truth is I have never got in trouble for that in Puerto Rico,they just seem to ignore you and let you hitchhiking wherever you are,even though it would be Express (the highway), where I got picked up by this policemen out of service at that moment.

He was extremely nice and even though he was going just to Luquillo,he took me to Fajardo at the end  to manage to take a Ferry to Vieques - picking me just one hour and a half before the ferry had to leave somewhere around 70miles from Fajardo itself :) Thanks again.
Yesterday I was picked up as well by already pensioned police officer of New York City,could make a video as teh battery of my camera was already flat. Sorry,guys.

Then you ask me,WHAT ABOUT THE CRIME (that huge crime rate what everybody is talking about). In comparation with South and Central America Puerto Rico itself doesn't have that much high rate of crime as many people paint it. You hear on news and tv about stories as someone was shot etc,but in general the crimes are related to drug smuggeling,drug selling,inapropriate reaction to some situation of the person,getting to the places where you can wait to have some crime (like burthels,streets of prostitution,dangerous neighbourhood,where there is a drug bussiness - sell/buy/kill, or just crimes of the passion - like killings of wives in the fight/ beating up a small child to death for crying too much etc. So if you have a bit of common sense you should be fine.
I am hitchhiking every day here,as I don't have a car. Inside of small towns,outside of small and big towns and between them.

So if you see me somewhere around with my thumb up - please, pick me up :)
Maybe we can learn something useful from each other,or just exchange some amazing stories! Everybody has some!
 And if you are already in Puerto Rico and you don't know if to hitchhike or not, just don't be affraif,people mostly exagerate too much :P But sometimes they have really good advices for hitchhiking spots itself ;) Which you can check on my another post: (thanks to Marcos)
Enjoy the Enchanted Island and your freedom! :)

P.S.: All the videos mentioned in this post should have english subtitles - just press the small button of youtube channel to add them ;)