Tuesday, December 29, 2009

La Catumba

la catumba

If you're on the western side of the island and you're craving for traditional Puertorican food, there is a place I  recommend:  La Catumba.  It's in the hills of Cabo Rojo.
La Catumba is a small traditional neighborhood store, which is also a bar, and a restaurant on Sundays and holidays.
harry the chef

La Catumba has been roasting pork for over 28 years, and along with it they also serve arroz and gandules, or rice and pigeon peas and pasteles.   That's all they serve and folks from as far as San Juan visit to dine.
  Pasteles has no English translation because it's a food that has been inherited since the times of the Taino Indians.  Pasteles are made from ground roots, or green bananas wrapped in banana leaves and boiled.  Pasteles have a stewish mixture in the center and it is either pork, beef, chicken and at times cod fish.  Pasteles are the Eucharist of Puertorican culture.  A Christmas without pasteles is no Christmas at all.
The pasteles served at La Cantumba are made from Cassava, which some folks call yuca; and green bananas.
ruben Sanchez

 Ruben Ramirez, the owner,  met us as we arrived and treated me like a long lost friend.  He shared with me coquito, Puertorican Eggnog with moonshine ( or rum) and Chichaito, a mixture of Anis liquer, honey and rum. And then he pulled out 3 pasteles for my son, my wife and myself, and hmmmm, they were good.

He showed me his roasting process.  The pork is split and wired to a grill.  Coal is tossed along side and it is turned slowly, cooking with indirect heat.
roast pork

On the stove he had a huge pot of arroz and gandules and the pasteles were just coming out the water.
I met his master roaster, Harry Sanchez.  I asked Harry what time he woke up to start roasting.  He said he started roasting at 10 pm the night before and had not been to sleep yet.

 Ruben said the night before there was a paranda till 4 in the morning, and he had only time to go home shower and return to the restaurant to check on the roasting pigs.  A paranda is a communal singing activity.  It is much fun.  Singing is part of the Christmas bond in Puerto Rico.

14 pigs were to be roasted and most were already sold.   Ruben showed me his tables and the view overlooking a valley.  He lamented we arrived too late to see a troup  of monkeys crossing the valley.  They lived  nearby.



We took an order to go, and I did not know there was a waiting list.  Folks kept showing up, or calling and Ruben had to turn them away.   Ruben made sure we got our order and we took it home for our Christmas Eve Dinner.  I felt a little guilty for jumping in line.   I appreciate the way I was treated.  This is the country and Puertorican country folks, called Jibaros, are known for their warmth and generosity.
The food was delicious.  The pasteles had the flavor of Christmas in Puerto Rico.
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Getting to La Catumba.  Many friends recommended La Catumba, but not one could tell me how to get there.
1-From Rincon PR, take 115 to highway #2 and take a right.
2-Take highway #2 to highway to highway 100.  It's right past the Mayaguez Mall.  Take that right.
3-Go down highway 100 to Camino Vincent Torres and take a left.
4-Take your first right on Pr 103.
5-Look for a bakery on your right.  The road next to it is Pr 300, take a left.
6-Go straight.  When you get to a fork in the road, take a left.  There is a sign that says Catumba, but it's the size of a license plate.  This road is called Camino La Capilla. (Church road)
7-When you get to the next fork in the road, take a right, and you're about a minute away.
Check out this Google Map of La Catumba
Remember to call before you visit to reserve your food.  Ruben's number is 787-943-9570.  Tell him Luis from Rincon sent you.



Monday, December 28, 2009

San Juan Puerto Rico Christmas Spirit


We went to Old San Juan on Christmas day.   From Rincon it's only a 2 hour drive if there's no traffic.  We arrived around 7 am.  The streets were empty and cold.  Not even the pigeons  were moving.
We shot photograph after photograph.  There were a few homeless persons already asking for money.   We gave out a few Christmas dollars.
Around 10 am we heard singing in the distance: Christmas Carolers.
We found them singing and giving out food.  They sang near the parks where homeless slept.  This church group returns every Christmas.  We followed them for a few songs.  They sang traditional Puerto Rican Christmas songs and gospel music with Spanish lyrics.
Their singing invoked the Christmas spirit to Old San Juan.

Puerto Rico

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mayaguez 2010 Plaza Colon

Plaza Colon

Recently we visited Plaza Colon in the center of Mayaguez City.  There was an activity called:
HECHO EN PUERTO RICO: BEMBÉ CULINARIO Y COLAITO MUSICAL or rather Made in Puerto Rico, Culinary Dance and  the last phrase has no English translation because they're playing with words, but it means something like:  freshly brewed coffee musically or freshly brewed musically coffee.


stage at Plaza colon

The activity reminded me of plazas in Europe:  music and food under a perfect peaceful night; coffee conversations, a mellow crowd,  families strolling through the music, watching children playing.  This could have been any plaza in Spain, but it wasn't.  It was Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.  Rarely have I spent a night like this in the past 20 years in Puerto Rico. 



 magical night
Several restaurants offered samples of food and wine, but it was the music of Mijo de la Palma which made the night magical.
Mijo stage
They started late, but their music drifted like a the aroma of light floating through the night's breeze:
hypnotic and  peaceful.  It was a night I thought about for many days. 
 Mayaguez 2010

   January 7, 2010 they'll return to Plaza Colon.  7 pm.  Come see for yourself.
 


"MIJO en Directo" has 7 songs and is available for a $25 money order to:
Melvin Lopez (composer, guitarist and singer) P.O. Box 272, Rincón,
Puerto Rico, 00677.
*******************************
Note: Mijo has offered to do a free concert in Rincon's Plaza either January 2, 3rd or the 9th.
Rincon's Tourist office is closed, is there anyone reading that can help facilitate communication with Rincon's Tourist office?
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VillaOrleansPR@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge



Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge is located on the southwestern side of Puerto Rico in the municipio of Cabo Rojo. It was established in 1974, when lands were obtained from the Central Intelligence Agency. There has always been strange rumors of flying saucers and top secret government programs operating here.  There are also rumors of UFO bases and alien abductions.
I asked the folks at the Lighthouse and at the welcome center about this.  Everyone smiled as though they were in on a joke, but no one eye witness to anything strange.
They did mention a pair of young flamingos appearing during the summer.  They said this couple was white and was easily mistaken for egrets.  But after 4 months of dining on the shrimp in the area, they became pink.

http://www.VillaOrleansPR.com

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cabo Rojo Light House



We returned to the Light House in Cabo Rojo.  The Lighthouse makes a great day trip.  It's less than an hour from Rincon and half an hour from Mayaguez.  Take your time and soak up the scenery along the way.  Bring water and your hiking shoes.  There is a quarter mile hike from the parking lot to the lighthouse.  Take your bathing suit as well.  
 There's a beach, Playa Sucia which is considered one of the best beaches on the island.  The limestone cliffs drop around 200 feet, and just thinking about stepping to the edge gives me the hebe-jeebies.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Secret Garden Art Gallery




The Secret Garden has a new walk through video.  I did  the gardens, it's fun getting lost in plants.  Recently my neighbor cleared his lot, and this has brought in much sun from a new angle.  Our jungle surrounding the art gallery will grow.
Rincon Puerto Rico

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rincon PR Farmers Market




Rincon has its own organic farmer's market every 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month.  They offer all sorts of goodies and each time I go I spend too much.  I picked up Christmas gifts for my wife and her sisters: home made soaps with awesome aromas and a few great tasting jellies.  I found turmeric rhizomes- wow.  Turmeric has all sorts of great properties, one of which is anti-inflammatory.  I take the pill form, but fresh is always better.  I bought a bunch so I planted it in my yards.
I tried a veggie yucca lasagna and drank a juice made from toasted sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.
It bothered me that when I returned for a second piece of  yucca lasagna it was all gone.
This past summer I picked up exotic ginger plants whose flowers looked like wax sculptures.
December 20th is the last Sunday before Christmas.  If you haven't gotton all your presents it's your excuse to visit the market.  After 9:30 is good, because you want to arrive just after they've set up.  By early afternoon almost everything is gone.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Holidays



This is Fluffy, our one eyed white dog.  I have 5.  He's the calmest dog I know.   My wife at times doesn't believe he's a dog, because he rarely barks.  He's so calm I had to speed up this video 225% to give him some life.
The other day there was a cat in the yard and we heard the dogs barking and we didn't recognize Fluffy' s bark.  I told my wife "You see, he really is a dog."
She thinks he'd be happier if he barked more often.  But he is happy, he just doesn't have anything to say.
He likes mirrors, and sometimes he can spend hours in front of one if we let him, but we don't.  Fluffy wasn't always so beautiful.  We found him on the side of the road.  He was so small  I could hold him in one hand and he was full of fleas and a nasty rash.
Fluffly is a gift.   We'll share him with you.
Peace and prosperity to you in the coming year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rincon Puerto Rico on CNN

rincon puerto rico CNN
I write occasional articles and post videos on CNN iReporter.  This week they contacted me and asked permission to use my video for cable broadcasting.  It was a video I shot, and my son edited music into it.  This is the link: Rincon PR Surf Capital of the Caribbean

Rincon PR CNN Video


I've been shooting with a Lumix GH1, a fine camera that shoots in full high definition.  It has been a month now, and the more I shoot the more I learn how to use it.  The surfers I shot were about 100 to 150 yards away, yet this camera was able to get a good sense of them.
When I thought  about why they liked this video, I can see it tells a 40 second story.  Opening shots of waves, panning left to a group just entering the water.  These are surfing students from a local surf school.  The music underneath the video creates tension.  Everyone is focused on the waves, then I shot surfers riding waves.  Every time I see this I feel it's too short and it leaves me wanting more.  I follow my intuition so I'm going to combine the second part and add a third for a longer  clip.  I shot about two hours.
I've added the video below.  Check out my Youtube Channel: Puerto Rico Villa Orleans and subscribe.  I have about 45 videos up, and I'm working on editing a project on Mayaguez 2010.
 


Surfing Capital of the Caribbean

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Burgers

 Rincon is called the Surfing Capitol of the Caribbean.  In the winter, during the day, the beaches surrounding Rincon come alive with waves.  I've seen them up to 30 ft.
Night, comes alive with the beach bar/music clubs.  There's a small place to eat, on Road 413, up in Puntas, PR.  It's called Happy Burger.
Trina

 Happy Burgers is one of those places you'll never see written about in travel magazines.  It's one of those places all the locals eat at.  It's not a fancy place.  It's almost on the road.  It's next to Brisas Bar.
Sasha
But the food is delicious.  I'm not a food critic.  I like good food, and for the longest time my brother and other folks have been talking about the food at Happy Burger.  Their signature dish is a taco.  A taco?  A very good taco.  They cost $2.00 at taco happy hour, and $2.50 after that.   You can have either a corn or flour tortilla, with either beef or chicken.  I opted for the corn tortilla with with chicken.  What makes this dish special is that this taco has a thin layer of toasted corn meal on the outside which gives it a great flavor.  The chicken was tasty with sprinkled lettuce, tomatoes and cheddar.  It's served with a side order of sour cream.


Delicious Tacos


 I asked for hot sauce and they gave me this home made green chilli paste.  I like hot sauce that feels like an exploding fire cracker.   This paste is softer.  It's not warm when you bite into it, it's sort of sweet and tasty and then heats like music that's gradually turning up.
Trina and Sasha

I also tried their veggie burger.  It comes with a smile.  I was hoping to get their fish tacos.  Cause when folks talk about  Happy Burgers they mention their fish tacos in the same breath.  They serve a ton of other stuff, from shrimp plates, Cajun Chicken,  Chicken Wings and other varieties of sandwiches.
Their most expensive dish is $7.50.  One thing for sure, you won't break your budget, and you won't be disappointed.  They're open from 5 pm till 2 am.  You can order to go.  Call them: 530 318 5244

happy burger
It's a great late night place to eat in Rincon, Puerto Rico.

413 Puntas

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mayaguez Farmers Market

I spent a few hours in the Farmer's market. It's a neat place. If you want the flavor of Puerto Rico you must visit the Farmer's Market. The produce and fruits are fresh and local.  The folks in the plaza are kind and friendly.  No one would cross my camera as I filmed.  I was given bananas and mango (and I don't know where they got it, Mango is not in season).  I offered to pay but my money was refused.
There were quite a few people there today.  There was a band outside playing Christmas music.  Santa Claus was there giving candy away.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cheap Flights to Puerto Rico

Cheap flights to Puerto Rico


I just ran into a website that has cheap flights,  car rentals and hotels listed.  DoHop.com searches over 600 sources to find flight prices.  It took about 5 seconds to list these round trip flight prices.  And this site seems easy to use...... What??? $260 round trip from New York to Aguadilla?  That's cheap.
I checked out flights to San Juan but they seemed more expensive.
*
I tried looking for rental cars, but it said there were none available, but that can't be right.  Tourism hasn't boomed yet and I know there are car rentals in Aguadilla.
*
I searched for hotels, and found the cheapest beachfront hotel room at $157 per night for a room.  Our villa has 5 bedrooms and averages $125 per bedroom, but has a kitchen so you save money cooking.
Rincon Villas

Puerto Rico Beachfront Villa

Puerto Rico Villa for your beachfront vacation in the Caribbean.

New walk through video for Villa Orleans. I'm still experimenting with Final Cut Express and my Lumix GH1.  Villa Orleans is in Rincon, Puerto Rico

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rincon Surfing Monument

Surfer Monument
I was in town yesterday and I noticed this statue.  It says on the bronze plaque:
"Welcome to Rincon, Capitol of Surfing."
Surfing brings life to Rincon.  Surfers are a myriad of persons from high schoolers to doctors, from teenage girls to middle aged women. We had a surfing reunion from a group of guys who'd surfed Rincon in the sixties.  The youngest in the group was 65.  Most were retired with grandchildren.  They hit the waves and partied like they were in college.  My neighbors complained about the men singing in the water at 3 o'clock in the morning.
Surfing brings brings life to the restaurants, hotels and bars.  In season I've had to wait for open tables in my favorite restaurants.  I like listening to music in clubs and having an occasional sunset beer at a beach bar.  I like the feel of new life in Rincon.  I don't mind waiting.  It gives you an opportunity to chat and I've met folks from all over the states.
This statue recognizes the importance of surfers for this community.  We've got to protect the beaches so future surfers return. 

  There's a Surfrider Fundraiser Friday,  December 4, 7pm @ Rum Shack in The Lazy Parrot.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Surfrider FundRaiser

Live at Rum Shack in the Lazy Parrot!

Surfrider Fundraiser
Friday night, December 4, 2009
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Coqui of Rincon Puerto Rico

If you're vacationing in Rincon Puerto Rico and you need to find out what is going on in town or to find out things to do,  then you need to pick up El Coqui of Rincon.  It's a small bilingual newspaper sponsored by local businesses.

El Coqui 
Photograph courtesy of El Coqui and Brenda Gonzalez 

The town of Rincon has its cycle.  During the early fall many business close for their vacation.  As November arrives they start reopening.  There's always an occasional business that doesn't, and there's always a new business starting.  Rincon comes to life with winter's visitors and there's always a myriad of activities.

You can do your Rincon research by reading the Coqui. It has a few articles and many listings: restaurants, hotels, Bed 'Breakfasts, Inns, vacation rentals, beach properties for sale, yoga teachers, massage therapist, surf board rentals or surf instructors, in essence, all the businesses or services you'd need for a perfect tropical vacation.

About 5,000 issues are published, but you don't need a hard copy.  You can download it off the net.  The Coqui website has a pdf version and an event's section listing  monthly activities.
The December Coqui is a special edition:  It's in full color and about weddings.  Everything you need for a perfect wedding is listed: locations, wedding planners, photographers, and stories from couples married in Rincon.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Caribbean Surf Vacation

This is the second part of Surfing Maria's Beach.  In Rincon there are plenty of things to do.  Surfing is just one of them.  Surfing used to be a boy's activity, but on this day there were plenty of ladies on the waves. 



Rincon is the Surf Capitol of the Caribbean.

Marias Beach Rincon PR

We are learning how to use our new Panasonic GH1.  At times the footage is amazing.  Sometimes it's just ok.
Everytime I shoot with this camera I learn something.  I don't like reading manuals or reading instructions, I enjoy shooting and learning on the go.



This was a day when the surf was good, with a little wind.  At times surfers caught long rides.   It wasn't too crowded.  This used to be a guy sport, but I was surprised to see many ladies on the boards.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Puerto Rico Villa Orleans: New Photographs

Taking good pictures is difficult.  We've recently modified the inside of Villa Orleans after adding our swimming pool.
Caribbean Kitchen
A beach house is continual work.  The salt from the ocean gets into everything.
Rincon PRliving room
A small screw or nail will rust and stain whatever its attached to.  Every year we replace televisions, microwaves, and screens.  Just last year we had our refrigerator painted, but rust came through the edges.
hotel rooms
Things you wouldn't imagine rusting, rust.  Our stainless steal Home Depot gas grill rusted.
We strive using things that don't rust and keeping everything simple.
beach resorts
 
We strive using wood, bamboo, WD40 and plenty of elbow grease to keep everything looking good.  Nina took these photographs and I love them.
Caribbean beach balcony

In February and March, occasional whales migrate through this area.

Beach Balcony
Our next project is making this beach balcony more attractive.  It's a great space early morning and night, but during the day it is hot.   Any suggestions?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rain Rincon PR


I love rain. It brings me peace and tranquility. At times rain in Puerto Rico falls torrentially, in large drops. Everyone hides in their home and few bother watching.
I continually hear parents tell kids  "Don't get wet, you'll catch a cold..."
But then how then are they going to learn to enjoy rain?
In Puerto Rico there are magical moments, like when rain clouds cross the Anasco Bay heading toward the Sun in the west. The waters turn a crystal neon turquoise between the rain and the Sun.
I wish I could count the droplets as they splatter, or slow down their sound as they pound and patter. They're hypnotic.
After a while, rain from the mountain turns our lazy creek into white frothing brown river, and tints the ocean a chocolate brown. It doesn't show here with this camera.  It looks grayish. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Puerto Rico Brown Pelicans

"Interior Department officials Wednesday announced that they were taking the prehistoric-looking bird off the endangered species list..."


These pelicans live along the west coast of Puerto Rico and I'm sorry to hear they've been taken off the endangered list.  In the years I've lived here I've seen a few dozen trees, homes to these pelicans, cut down.  I remember when there were more than a hundred up and down this coast.  I once counted 122 pelicans floating in front of the villa.  Now if I see a dozen in a day I see a lot.  
I'm learning how to use a new camera called the Lumix GH1.  This was my first video.  I'm also learning Final Cut Express so I can share what I see. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Surfing Domes Beach

Surf on November 10th. It was pretty windy. Only 3 surfers at Domes. This footage was shot on a Lumix GH1.



We're in an El Niño year and a few surfers had mentioned surf will be great this season.
Rincon PR

Friday, October 16, 2009

Villa Orleans' Swimming Pool

sotheby's rincon puerto rico swimming pool
Villa Orleans now has a swimming pool!  Now we can swim/soak at night under the Caribbean stars.
It's not a very deep or very large pool, but it's a pool never the less.  When I lived at the villa I'd go swimming at night.  The water is always warmer than the air so night time swims were always pleasant--until I started fishing.  When you swim at night, there's always an occasional Jaws fantasy that slips through your thoughts, but you brush them aside.  Jaws is a fictional movie, with a fictional shark.
But I started fishing at night, and I've pulled in all sorts of moray eels, one as long as 5 ft.  And then there were times when the line of my deep sea reel and rod peeled off as though it was possessed and disappeared into the abyss.
Once I fought a fish as long as I am tall for over an hour.  I'd reel him in, he'd reel me out. The spark plug I was using for a weight was tossed back and forth whenever I'd pull him to the surface.  There are big fish here, and they stay away during the day.
But now, we don't have to worry about being devoured by Jaws or being bitten by eels.  We can soak a few feet from the Caribbean, enjoy a beer or margarita and watch the sunset and the midnight moon rise.
The pool has been a process.  We started out by visiting pool places and getting quotes.  I tried looking up pool places on the net, but no one in the pool industry in Puerto Rico has a net presence.  I found a few websites with general information.  We settled with a pool company called Pucho's Pools.  I asked the sales manager for reviews or letters of recommendations, but he had none.  He offered to take me to a few sites where he had installed pools and maybe I could speak to the owners.  It sounded like a run around where there was no one who could recommend them.  But then we ran into a friend, an electrician who had worked with them, and recommended them highly.
Jorge Cruz, the sales manager told us it would take 7 to 10 days for the process and then we were placed on a 5 week waiting list.
This is the before picture:

rincon pr
We first pulled up the deck and then removed  the rocks around the deck.  We have a ton of rocks, and hid them along the property.  It took us about two weeks to prep the area.  We removed  plants to give the pool folks room to work with.
pulling deckimagine pool here

I fantasied about swimming here.


Day 1-The pool folks arrived at 7 in the morning.  At 7:15 their first machine arrived, but the area was too narrow and they had to get another one.  Their other machine was broken, so they had to rent one.  It wasn't until 9:00 am when the second machine arrived.  By about 10:30 the hole was dug.  The swimming pool arrived by then and after prepping the area, the pool was in the ground before noon.
rincon pr

Then they began the process of packing sand around the pool.  They left around 5 with the swimming pool half full of water.
Day 2- The next day was spent packing more sand around the pool.  An electrician arrived and extended a cable from the apartment to where the pool filter motor.  The pool guys prepared the forms for the cement sidewalk.

looking good

Day 3- The third day they poured in cement and built the platform for the pool filter.  I began the process of moving the ton of dirt they left.  I used it to raise the gardens around the villa.
swimming pool coming to life

I offered everyone a beer on the 4th day, but nobody drank beer.  I expected the pool to take those 7 to 10  days.  I am very happy they only took 4.   I am very happy the pool crew picked up their mess before they left each day.  They worked from the moment they arrived to the moment they'd left.
I am very happy with Pucho Pool.  It has given Villa Orleans a new touch.  There are times when waves are rough and you can't swim in front of the villa. There are times when the song from Jaws plays in your head as you're wetting your feet  at night and thinking of a swim.  Then, it's just better to swim in your pool.

rincon puerto rico
Badly Photoshopped Shark!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hermit Crabs


From Beach Life
hermit crab



















We found this little guy while redoing the gardens.  It's the smallest hermit crab I've ever seen.  Something this small often goes unnoticed.
I try watching where I step, to keep from crushing these guys. Most of the hermit crabs I see are much larger.
How would I feel, if I were him? in the hands of a giant?
We took him to the farthest area of the property, where few feet tred and let him go.


Rincon PR Hermit Crab
From Beach Life

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mayagüez 2010 Games

Mayaguez 2010 Logo


In summer of 2010 from July 17 to August 1, 2010 the Central American and Caribbean Games (or CACs) will be celebrated in Mayaguez.  An estimated 250,000 visitors from about 40 countries are expected.   17 municipalities of Porta del Sol including other areas of the south of Puerto Rico are hosting events.
Rincon will be hosting  games as well:
  • Triathlon – Saturday July 24, 2010
  • Triathlon Relay – Sunday July 25, 2010
  • BMX – Wednesday, July 28, 2010
  • Mountain Bike – Thursday, July 29, 2010

If you're planning on visiting Rincon next summer, then it's best to reserve your lodging soon, as Rincon is  anticipating huge crowds.  If you'd like more details see this Mayaguez 2010 web site.

Download Mayaguez Games Schedule  in pdf form.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Puerto Rico Villa

This is a promo from a friend who offers video production services in Texas.  Video Uno Studio creates a variety of video presentations.



So what do you think?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beach Dog finds Home

"I wanted to thank the wonderful volunteers who rescued and fostered Rusty from Steps Beach. He is now living happily with me and my family in Connecticut. We adopted him in February.

He was sleeping in his cage with the sun on him, and my four year old boy woke him up. He was on a mission to give dogs some love and attention that day, the dogs from PR that made the trip to Stamford, the dogs without a home or family. When I asked him if he wanted to take Rusty home, his eyes and face lit up. He has been living with us since then.

He has acres to run, gets a nice long walk every day, plays ball and fetch, and has the run of the house. There are even other dogs he plays with in the area. The best part of Rusty is he is such a gentle, caring dog. He can be a bit playful and nippy with me, but he is a gentle dog when it comes to my son. He loves hugs and kisses. He is well fed, brushed, bathed, and is now living a good life. We absolutely adore him. Here are pictures of him. You do wonderful work, thank you for Rusty. He is the third dog I have rescued. The first Sato. We are hoping to adopt another Sato in a year or so, I want to give Rusty a bit more time with his new family and surroundings. But I think he would enjoy another dog around.

Lynn Russell

I have watched your you-tube videos and it breaks my heart to see how he lived. I cannot wait to go home and hug and kiss him."



my name is Rusty
I'm from Rincon PR
My new family!Rusty's two videos. Once again, thank you ARF. The Animal Rescue Foundation in Rincon has fundraisers and the monies go to helping animals in Rincon. ARF provided a voucher for Rusty's visit to the vet. Donations are always welcome.
ARF in Rincon





Rusty's first video.



ARF is sponsoring its first Cat Health Day scheduled for September 26, 2009 at the public beach in Rincon! ARF!

Tropical Gardens

My neighbors cut their Screw Pines and I picked up 2 truck loads. It's in a bad place to load my truck, and they have more. I'm hoping they don't get rid of the rest of their plants so I can cart them away.

tropical garden
I have several places where these will fit in the Secret Garden. These guys reproduce by seeds and cuttings.
tropical plantsThese guys make my day. They get close to 30 feet high, perfect for nice plant wall.
tropical rain forestRincon PR

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tropical Storm Ana

tropical storm

This image is distressing. We live on the west coast of Puerto Rico and this image places us between an invisible path between Monday and Tuesday. All summer I've been planting and attending the gardens so they're lush and jungle-ish. Now Ana threatens.
We're from New Orleans and we've seen our share of nasty storms, from Hurricane Camille in '69, to Hurricane George in '98 and Katrina in 2005.
My brothers lost their businesses in Hurricane Katrina. It took us a year for things to get back to normal after Hurricane George. So this storm is small in comparison.
The National Hurricane Center estimate we could get between 3 to 5 inches of rain. This isn't much, but take a look at the video below. I took it this past week from our normal rainy season rains.



Rincon, PR

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bamboo Plants

bamboo plants

This is Black Bamboo. Bambusa Lako, or rather Timor Black Bamboo. It was brought to us by Robert Soporito, the owner of Tropical Bamboo, a bamboo nursery in Loxahatchee, Florida.
The villa has all sorts of tropical plants, but it does not have bamboo. Robert just visited the villa and brought this beautiful bamboo plant which is the beginning of our bamboo forest.
Watch this video, listen to the sound of the wind and the sound of bamboo bumping into each other.
Check out Robert's website: Tropical Bamboo Plants. He exports to Puerto Rico.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Villa Orleans Review

 rincon puerto rico Amazing Place!"What an amazing view! Our stay was so wonderful....walking the beach in the morning, laying on the porch listening to the waves has been a perfect way to spend 6 days..."
The Burns
Florida