Moving to Puerto Rico and the Unknowns
3. The Heat
4. The Smells
|Our rental is right on the water -- HELLO algae!|
5. Trash in the Ground and the Post in a BoxHere in Puerto Rico, most of the trashcans are literally IN the ground (they look like THIS) and many of the homes here use post office boxes instead of home mailboxes. Any package deliveries also go to the PO Box. Neither affect us terribly much, but are an interesting twist on everyday life. The PO Box is in a little postal store in Palmanova Plaza, a beautiful square in the middle of Palmas with restaurants, a fountain and apartments above. (HERE it is at night.) I call it "the castle" because I can find my way home on the golf cart as long as I head towards the "spires".
6. The Golf CartsWe knew that many people drove golf carts around Palmas instead of cars, but we didn't know how much we would like it! Palmas is really quite like a small town in itself with multiple restaurants, a bank, the postal store, various activities like golf and tennis, etc. so the carts make good sense. What we did not realize is that a used golf cart cost us nearly the same amount as a used car here. Granted, we needed a 6 passenger golf cart instead of 4 for our family, but the used golf cart market is hopping. By all appearances though, the carts hold their value, so we should be able to sell it or trade it in for a fair value, as opposed to cars which dip dramatically. In any case, the entire family LOVES the gold cart. When it is hot outside, the wind is just perfect and when the baby will not fall asleep, the golf cart is her panacea.
7. The Dryer that Vents INTO the HouseThe homes here rely on tropical breezes and fans a lot. There is plenty of air conditioning to be had, but the electric costs are double or triple US mainland prices. For a couple of days, we tried to go without AC, but then the no-see-ums attacked and we realized that anything without a screen at dusk or dawn was just simply not an option to open. We started using AC, balanced with fans in the rooms that were occupied and both get turned off when you leave the room. You can get a sense of how delicate the balance is, yes? Well, enter laundry. The first time I went to do a load, the washing went fine, but then the dryer turned on and after 10 minutes, the laundry room literally felt like an oven. 200 degrees or so -- really. It turns out that this particular home has an inside dryer water vent. That means the heat, lint and such are pushed into a tub of water to vent IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM instead of outside and thus the ENTIRE house gets hot. It is a solution that might be necessary in a basement apartment or such, but for a tropical location where access to an outdoor vent would have been possible, it is a deal breaker for me. We are currently house hunting and that dryer vent is one of the very first things I check. It is VERY important.
UPDATE: 3 weeks in and we are able to turn the air off a lot more often even without opening the doors. 81-84ish feels ok (with a fan breeze) for room temperature to us now, but when it creeps above 84, it feels quite hot!
On the opposite side of things, this particular rental home has luxurious sheets, pillows, towels and beds. It makes a WORLD of difference and we kind-of hit the jackpot in that regards. It all evens out :)
All said and done, we are adjusting to Island life, trying to slow down, grow in patience and learn to manage the heat and the bugs. In short, Palmas del Mar is lovely, the people of Puerto Rico are lovely, the breezes are as lovely as expected (though the smell is sometimes not) and we would do it again in a heartbeat. We would pick a place with a dryer vent to the outside though.