I’ve always criticized media for always focusing on the negative. In truth, I’ve been guilty as well. While preparing for an interview this past week, my 20-something-year-old niece told me to make sure to help bridge the gap of difference between Puerto Rico and the United States — to not just harp on the bad stuff.
She insisted, however, that I make sure to tell the truth about what is happening.
On a political program that deals with the problems societies face and their potential solutions it’s hard to focus on the good stuff. So I stuck to telling the truth about the situation but did get a moment of praise for the islands natural beauty and amazing people.
So in honor of a new week I figured that since I didn’t get a chance to do it during interviews this past week, I should at least take one moment or two to tell our readers about some of the amazing things about la isla del encanto (the isle of enchantment).
Without further delay and in no particular order, here are some of the good things about Puerto Rico:
History. If you like Spanish colonial history, Puerto Rico has it all. The massive Spanish fort El Morro, stands overlooking the bay of San Juan at the point of Old San Juan, which itself is an interesting city to walk through, soak up the history, and eat at some very classy restaurants.
Culture. Want to see some really neat culture? Go to any town that still holds las fiestas patronales (patron saint festival). Some towns have scaled back or even canceled these festivals due to budget issues in recent years, but if you can find one it is always a good time. Music, food, and yes, drink. There are also art galleries and music festivals galore. Check with Puerto Rico Tourism for dates and locations.
Beaches. It’s an island people. Check out Luquillo Beach (pictured) in the east, or my personal favorite Crash Boat beach in Aguadilla.
It’s not just one island. Puerto Rico includes Mona Island, for example, between the main island and the Dominican Republic to the west. It’s run by the US Parks service, but camping is allowed. You will be “roughing it,” but one of my fondest childhood memories was camping on Mona Island and sleeping to the sound of the waves. Other islands include Vieques and Culebra, which are both mostly undeveloped but large islands. Culebra has about 3,000 residents and Vieques about 10,000.
Boating. The US and British Virgin Islands are just a short boat ride away or a few hours sailing if you like slow boating.
Rain forest. “El Yunque” is the only one in the US National Parks system.
No passport required, and the US dollar is the currency.
Skilled labor force. This one shouldn’t be surprising.
Amazing artists, musicians, and actors. You’ve all heard of Ricky Martin, but he is only one of many who have come out of the island — not to mention boxers and beauties.
Yes, that last one is important. The girls are pretty. I should know, I married one.
Soon we will go back to bashing the politicians and bad policies and hopefully offering some ideas on how to make things better. For now, however, just think of a sunset and rolling waves on the shore. That’s how I fall asleep every night.