Saturday, March 22, 2014

Side Trips and Celebrations

We have been on the road a lot this past week, mainly to Cabo Rojo.  Looking at a map of Puerto Rico, Cabo Rojo is as far south and west as you can go. It is about 80 miles from here.  The north shore road is the most scenic because that is the windward side of the island so the rainfall is quite abundant.  It is about the same distance by going south the Caguas and then along the south shore.  That is the leeward side, so it is like a desert compared to Arecibo.  It reminds me of driving east along the Columbia River Gorge from Hood River to The Dalles.   
Fruit stand on the road to Mayaguez
Anyway, we drove down there yesterday to get an apartment signed up for the sisters there.  That apartment is right across the street from Shalom Bakery, a panaderia or patisserie with a huge reputation.  So we tried it out and boy, was it good!  Oops, hold the phone.  We just found out that there will be 4 sisters there in stead of 2, so we need to get a different apartment signed up.  This idea of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing has been taken to a whole new dimension down here. No matter.  We have 45 days left, not that anybody is counting.

One of the girls in our Caparra Ward is headed for BYUI in September, so we volunteered to help her get moved in and settled.  Her family had us over for dinner last week so we could visit about the process.  They are excited, and so are we.  We also found out that her grandparents live in Cabo Rojo.  
Grandma and Grandpa Dickson with one of her paintings.  El Faro
These great people have been active members of the Church for several years, and the grandma is really quite a craftsman, doing paintings and ceramics with a Puerto Rico flavor.  
This is Puerto Rico!

Dicksons' Beach House Balcony

Grandpa and two grandkids, fishing
She gave me some pointers on how to make some ceramic pieces that I am anxious to try.  
Don Quixote
Ceramic plate. I think I can do this.
Three Kings.  Three Kings Day, Jan 6, is bigger than Christmas

So they called us to invite us over to their home, see the paintings, visit for a while, and then they took us all down to El Faro.
Cliffs at El Faro

South of Cabo Rojo is a lighthouse called El Faro that is on a little peninsula.  That is the place where one of our elders fell off a cliff into the water below and broke his leg.  The rescue was apparently quite exciting.  He had to go home for 6 months to heal, but he came back, from Boise Idaho, to finish in grand style.  We knew him on Tortola.  Great missionary. 

Last Saturday we went with our friends and co-workers, George and Sharon--sorry, Elder and Sister--Peterson to Las Marias to a community festival.  
This is like a huge tomale.  Good.
It reminded me of TFCF&R (Twin Falls County Fair & Rodeo) with lots of craft booths and lots and lots of food booths. 
Conos, or pizza in a cone.

Fried in hot grease, sort of like scones but thinner.

These bowls are made of deep fried shredded plantains, then filled with chicken and rice.  Dreadful.
Three Kings
This was called the China Festival, which refers to oranges, not a place across the Pacific.  There were all sorts of local food items to try, abundant opportunities for fresh OJ, and some really nice art--paintings, bent wire objects, wood carvings, wood sculptures, ceramics, metal creations, and so on.  
Gourd carving of the manger scene

Birth of a Coqui Frog
Don Quixote is popular subject for art and craft

We purchased a few things, but you can’t see them until we get home in, did I mention, 45 days.  
Just how I feel quite often
There were even a few music performing groups trying to sing some Puerto Rican songs.  Let’s just say that some of the groups are better than others.  There were also some spontaneous jam sessions with the musicians and half the surrounding crowd jumping up and down and singing along.
Wild orchids
Arecibo Observatory
Puerto Rico is a beautiful place.  The people are beautiful and warm, even though they are all Democrats.  We are blessed to be here.

El Faro

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