Friday

Congratulations 'old city' San Juan, you have been added to our list of "places we might have babies in".

Your narrow cobble stone streets, out door markets and classic European feel creates an environment that puts a skip in our step.



Here are some testaments to your beauty:



15 foot thick Spanish fort walls surround the city




Extensive parks and trails




Wonderful views of the ocean




Plazas every other block




Birds

Monday

Chopped puerto Rico

From these ingredients: found rice, found curry powder,found creme de coco, and bought tomato, garlic and tofu. It tasted better than it looks, especially with a little lime juice.





Sunday

Dengue Feva!

Josh, our co- worker at the hostel, was sick when we arrived. We thought that he was just over exhausted, he had been running the hostel by himself for the last week. A few days passed and he didn't seem to be getting better. Getting paler, even as a redhead. He slept a lot and spoke of not having any energy.
Yesterday josh woke up around 10am and was commenting how he felt better. I, Jameson was sweeping in the hall and talking to Josh in the kitchen just out of my sight. I suddenly heard a loud thud and ran to find Josh collapsed in the corner, shaking and gargling his own spit. I pulled him off the wall and tried to get a response, after a few seconds I grabbed the phone and called 911. All the while thinking 'Is 911 what I call in Puerto Rico?' It turns out to be correct and I detail the events and our address in broken, scared Spanish. Josh comes to and I help him to the couch and wait for the ambulance.



I, Laney, met Josh at the emergency hospital down the street. It was a tad sub-par but at least he was there. They did a blood test and determines that he did have a virus and wanted to transfer him to the large public hospital. I went in the ambulance with him. The driver talked on his phone the entire ride.
The new hospital room was painted bright blue, an old cracking coat of bright blue. It was frigid and valentines decorations hung from the ceiling. The old man next to is was dying. Josh said he felt much better, but Jameson told not to believe that. They asked him a series of questions and quickly concluded that indeed it was Dengue. The nurse laughed and said "Welcome to Puerto Rico". There are 4 types of dengue and all 4 can be contracted in Puerto Rico. Although it sounds scary, dengue only has a 1% mortality rate. There also is not an antidote, just rest and fluids. Josh got an IV and rehydrated. We were discharged at 11pm. Josh had been very concerned about the cost of his visit. We asked nurse after nurse to do the bare minimum because of his lack of health insurance. Each person assured us not to worry. At the end of it all, after 2 blood tests, 2 ambulance rides, one CT scan, half a dozen blood pressure tests and an IV his bill came to the grand total of $85.

Forts

Settled in 1521 by Spanish conquistadors 'old city' San Juan is a small island just off the main land surrounded by stone fortress walls.
It has the classic Spanish fort look but its what lays inside the walls that determines the vibe of the neighborhood.


This is the third 'Spanish fort' we have spent time in and San Juan's may be the most chill. We found it easy to navigate and though it thrived on tourism it didn't come across as too over baring as long as you avoided sight of the cruise ships.
There are many small plazas that sprinkle the streets which contain artisan markets, busking musicians and devote Catholics.


The beauty of the giant stonewalls are stunning. Though this wonder is met with equal realization that its roots lay in the notion of conquest and colonization, an unfortunate result of all human historic sites.
We find it's best not to think about the flawed reasons behind exploration and just enjoy the byproduct of the artist inclusion of building and decorating.

Thursday

Skipping Winter Round 4

Before leaving the cold for warmer grounds I found myself pondering the concept of skipping winter. This is our fourth year doing so, either missing it entirely or partially.

Typically autumn welcomes us home. There is nothing quite as beautiful as a Virginia fall. Toothpick trees bursting earth tone colors, the harvest atmosphere. The holidays are close by and seeing our family and friends makes it easy to return to the old dominion.

Then christmas and the solstice pass with the first post holiday frost and my mental state starts to panic. Somehow the frosts don't bother me during holidays, it is only when I'm expected to carry on as if everything were normal that my biological instincts ignite. This is not normal it is cold. I am a mammal, and as such when it is cold I want a home, I want to hibernate while storing up fat and food.

So every year, sometime after December 25th I start dreaming of setting up a business or buying some property to store my things and create a home. But we current humans are a different kind of mammal, we have a choice to be a bird. We have the power to ride a giant metal hawk without flapping wings south to warmer climate and ignore our natural responses. This is the ability of being human during a time of technological advances, hell, me sharing this thought on the internet is proof.

So rather than build a home in a hurry I wait and consider the alternatives and subject each location to consideration. The world is large and I can see it, I live in a time where that is possible. So for now I am a bird.

Perhaps next year I will be a fish.

-whiskey

Wednesday

How we eat for cheap.

It's not always easy to find healthy, balanced vegetarian food abroad, especially when you're on a budget. One of the glories of working at youth hostels is that travelers leave behind food everyday; spices, oil, bags of rice, fruit...



We arrive at our new locations, assess what people have left behind, go buy some veggies and make some food.
Here is what we made tonight. Rice and beans to the next level with salad. It does the job for sure and there are leftovers for tomorrow.


Tuesday

Day 1

On the bus today on our way to the hostel in miramar. Ten different people on the bus were trying to help us with directions... None of them knew what they were talking about, except maybe one. A homeless seeming man asked to play my accordion and then an old man told me I shouldn't let homeless people play my accordion.
We finally found the hostel and took a stroll around the neighborhood. The beach pictures below are some of the the nearby sights. The ocean was strong today and it rained for about an hour. Now there is a lovely breeze and trumpets and voices lofting from a nearby window.



Away we go

Weeeeee!

Monday

I just hosted my final Silent Music Revival which will now be on a little hiatus as Laney and I travel to Puerto Rico and beyond.

Here is a clip from the event:

video

Next Puerto Rico....

Wednesday

Laney's old travel blog from before she knew Jameson


I just thought that it might be interesting to show all you people out there a link to a blog that I kept in 2007 while I was studying Buddhism in Asia. It has both photos and little narratives on what was happening in my life.

Laney's old travel blog

Jameson and I leave for Puerto Rico in less than a week now. We are just packing up our room, saying goodbye to our friends and family, and soon we will be on our way!

Sunday

Happy Bearth Day

We spent New Years weekend at our friend Patrick's house on the Chesapeake Bay.
It was wonderful to start the new year with salt water near by.
















I have a feeling that 2012 is going to be a great year!