This is the lady that
writes this column every month and to whom I am extremely indebted.
Please stop in at Mar Azul to say ¡Hi! the webmaster
Hola from Vieques!
The more things change, the more they stay the same. For those of you who met
me during Mar Azul days, well they continue, you can find me there on Thursday
and Fridays, day shifts from 11am – 5pm. Quiet day shifts, have only poured a
few shots of tequila so far! It gets lonely there during day so be sure to stop
in and say hello. Keep in mind that May 10th is the annual Spam Cook-off at the
Mar Azul. This is a lot of fun and you even get to taste some of the entries
after the judging, Gene and Mary, I expect to see at least one of you here! By
the way, your daughter and her friends are not having any fun at all! Back to
the Spam, make sure if you enter you remember that judging is based on
presentation, taste and originality. I am always amazed at how good some of the
Of course May 1st is the anniversary of the Navy leaving Vieques and a big celebration is planned. There are lots of activities for Saturday but sounds like there will be some great music and great bands performing outside of the former gate to Camp Garcia which is now a huge Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Music starts around 2pm and it sounds like the party will continue until 4am Sunday morning. I know that there will be fireworks at 12:01am early Saturday morning with a few other activities starting at that hour. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is a peaceful party with no demonstrations against US Fish and Wildlife. Recently a group of about 100 people had a caravan that went to the former OP (Observation Post located near the former bombing range) and the people participating carried a banner that said “Get Out Fish and Wildlife, Clean and Develop Now”. The group also buried a time capsule that would be opened if and when the land was returned to Vieques. A big cross was erected at the site where David Sanes was accidentally killed during training exercises 5 years ago.
I had the pleasure of being involved with a fund raiser for both the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust and the Vieques Paso Fino Club early in April. Javier Ortero, the treasurer of the Paso Fino Club, had asked me if I would co-host the demonstration that was being given to those that wanted to know more about the breed. I had met him at one of the horse shows and he knew that in my old life I had trained Hunters and low-level Dressage horsed for many years. I was thrilled at the opportunity to learn more and do some of the translations that he was not comfortable with in English. Lucky for me, a friend, Joaquin Ortega, who is an internationally recognized Paso Fino judge was in Vieques that weekend. He joined us (and speaks excellent English) and I could ask him questions that I had which he answered from a judges viewpoint. Needless to say that the 100 plus people attending learned a great deal from the exhibition and are all anxious to attend horse shows to see if they can pick the winners. The event was so successful that I think both organizations will host it annually for locals and tourists. At the end of the program Joaquin made me get up on one of the horses and ride! I had huge sandals on and actually had to ride barefoot, in linen pants (certainly not attire that I was comfortable in!) but did manage to ride the horse pretty well. Luckily it was a nice horse to ride and I did not embarrass myself, much different from what I was used to riding before! One of the members of the Paso Fino Club made a point of coming up and telling me that I did a great job catch riding a horse I had never sat on, and wondered how much riding I did. Except for one short ride on a friend’s horse last year, it had been about 9 years since I had climbed on the back of a horse!
Café Mamasonga’s celebrated their "1" Year Anniversary last month and had a great party with live music performed by RootSticks, a reggae band. Lots of regular customers, friends and tourists attended the party that went on ‘til the wee hours of the morning! The food at Mamasonga’s is great and plentiful, be sure to stop in for breakfast or lunch when on the island.
The annual Cultural Festival was also held last month and was well attended. The added the first Vieques Book Fair this year with copies of about 35 books dealing in some way with Vieques. There were some great musical performances and they had a pretty good turnout at the event. I am always surprised though that more residents and tourists don’t participate at the event. It is a gorgeous environment, with good music and crafts and artwork by local artisans.
At a Happy Hour at the Crow’s Nest recently many of us gathered to say goodbye to Patti and Denny Johnson, former owners of Blue Caribe Dive Shop. With the closing of Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, they decided to leave the island and live closed to a military base where they could still enjoy some of the benefits that Denny earned while being a Navy Seal. Patti and Denny will definitely be missed here in Vieques. Hopefully they will vacation here occasionally to visit with old friends.
For those of you visiting the island who need to stay connected, Island Hop Computer and Network Solutions is moving to a new and much bigger location in Isabel Segunda. The new location is located across the street from Café Media Luna. Owner Tito Pena is excited about the move and offering more office supplies and a coffee bar at this location. If you need to check email or surf the net, his prices are reasonable and the location very comfortable. The grand opening is May 3rd and we are all very happy to have him expanding his services.
Vieques is proud to have a Junior Pan Am Judo Gold Medalist living here! Eduardo “Sonito” Rodriquez won the gold in his division at the competition held recently in Puerto Rico. He is the first Viequense to bring home a gold medal from this event. There are 2 Judo clubs here and they both perform extremely well at Judo Competitions. It is said that teams from the main island cringe when they see the Vieques teams show up! We are fortunate that both teams have dedicated instructors and families that sacrifice a great deal to allow their students/children to compete internationally. Congratulations to all the medal winners!
Restaurants are changing their schedules for the summer so you want to be sure to call ahead (make reservations please!) to make sure that some places are open the nights you want to dine there. Duffy, Chez Shack, has ended Grill Night temporarily due to less tourism on the island right now. Watch for news of it starting up again. I learned some sad news from Barry and Diane, Posada Vista Mar, they have lost their lease and will be closing on the 16th of May. Barry said that this is not a bad thing as they had decided to take some time off anyway. He said should the right opportunity come along in a few months, they might be back in the restaurant business. Posada Vista Mar was a favorite of ours as the food was delicious, plentiful and very, very affordable. If you are going to be in Vieques early this month be sure to have dinner there and encourage them to look for another restaurant to open in the future!
Our friend Wally was here, solo this vacation, but we all kept him entertained or better yet he kept us entertained! Wally, a professional bartender, and Mary Beth have been visiting the island for several years and are considered locals by all of us in the hospitality industry. Mary Beth came down with some friends several weeks ago so we did all get to see her as well. Wally invited me out to Martineau Bay and we had a great meal there, the Churrasco was delicious! Both of us like Churrasco (skirt steak) and the Chimmichuri sauce that they offer at Martineau Bay is wonderful. There are a lot of mixed reviews on the food at the resort but I have had great meals there on a several occasions. Hey Mary Beth can you believe that no rumors were started when I had dinner with Wally.
Had a great time with my friends Robin and Scott who came to visit for a week. She raved about their room at Casa La Lanchita, about the food and goods available at Chef Michael’s FoodSpace and about their sailing adventure with Captain Bill of Vieques Sailing. I had to work (on Vieques Events) but I understand they had an enjoyable afternoon being naughty at the Mar Azul (it was cloudy and rainy that day). I missed them by about 10 minutes but was informed that Robin might rally for dinner but Scott was down for the count, a few too many margaritas and of course shots of tequila with the evil Al. No matter how many times I tell him to play nice with the tourists he has to hurt a few with tequila. After about 12 hours of sleep they were both feeling fine the next day! Robin, a former boss of mine, told me after her first visit (she came down with me on vacation about 11 years ago) that it was fun but she never goes anywhere twice. Well that was about 7 visits ago! They have already booked the same room at La Lanchita for next April but will be staying for 10 days instead of just a week! They may try and sneak down for a long weekend this fall as well. Vieques is a really seductive island, it keeps luring people back time and time again.
Took a much needed break and went to visit a friend in Key West over Easter. It kind of scares me knowing that many years ago Key West was very much like Vieques. No telling what the future holds for out little island but with the way real estate is selling and the press about us being the jewel of the Caribbean it could be really different 20 years from now. Be sure to come visit while we are still quaint and have no street lights!
The calendar follows with this month’s activities. As usual thanks for reading and come visit soon, be sure to stop by the Mar Azul and say hello! For more news download Vieques Events, it takes a few minutes but can be worth reading!
|Saturday, May 1st||1st Anniversary Celebration de la Paz Viequense|
|Sunday, May 2nd||Paso Fino Horse Show at the Equestrian Center in Santa Maria. 3pm on|
|Monday, May 3rd||Grand Opening of Island Hop’s new location at the corner
of Antonio G. Mellado and 65th Infantry in Isabel II
The Wine Club@Chef Michael’s FoodSpace. Wine tasting 7-9pm Reservations required, call 787-741-0490
|Wed.- Fri., May 5-7th||Verizon selling cellular telephones at Centro Comercial|
|Thursday, May 6th||Movie “Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon” with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. 7pm at El Sombrero Viejo|
|Sunday, May 9th||Mother’s Day, remember Mom with flowers or take her out to dinner!|
|Monday, May 10th||8th Annual Spam Cookoff at the Mar Azul. Use Spam to create an appetizer, entrée, dessert or sculpture. Prizes! Judging begins at 8pm|
|Wednesday, May 12||Restoration Advisory Board applications due no later than today, call Susana Struve at 703-471-1441|
|Thursday, May 13th||Movie “Shock” with Vincent Price and Janet Stewart. 7pm at El Sombrero Viejo|
|Tuesday, May 18th||Sushi Night at Chef Michael’s FoodSpace. Very limited seating, reservations required. Call 787-741-0490|
|Thursday, May 20th||Movie “Charlie Chaplin – Five Short Features”. 7pm at El
Island Steakhouse closed for private party
|Friday, May 21st||Gardening with Medicine Plants, at the Vieques Conservation and Trust. Lecture and slide presentation by Scott Appell. 10:30-11:30am. For information and reservations call 787-741-8850|
|Sunday, May 23rd
||The Wine Club@Chef Michael’s Foodspace. Wine tasting 7-9pm. Reservations required, call 787-741-0490|
|Thursday, May 27th||Movie “Sherlock Holmes - the Women in Green” with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce|
|Saturday, May 29th||Health for Vieques, free clinic at the hospital from
Art Exhibit featuring works by Eric Egas opens at the Fort Count Mirasol. 7pm
|Saturdays||Marine Life Talks at VCHT 1-3pm with Capt. Mark Martin
“Paco’s Paella at Café Coconuts
|Sundays||Cockfights at Gallera Puerto Real, around noon
Self-Serve Bloody Mary Bar at Banana’s
Paella Dinner Special at Trade Winds
|Mondays||$1 Medalla Beer Special at Bananas
Domino Tournament at La Sirena
|Tuesdays||Happy Hour at Island Steakhouse, 5-7pm, chance to win bar
Lucky Card Draw 6-8pm at El Sombrero Viejo
Mar Azul Closed
|Wednesdays||Ladies Night 5pm-closing at Amapola, happy hour prices to
ladies all night
Karaoke at Café Coconuts 7pm
|Wed., Fri., & Sun.||Yoga with Jen at Hix Island House 10:30-noon, call 787-741-2302 for info|
|Thursdays||Steel Drum Band at La Sirena
Old Movie Night at El Sombrero Viejo
|Thursday-Mondays||Back from the Beach, 2 for 1 drinks at La Sirena 5-6pm|
|Fridays||Lobster Dinner Special at Trade Winds
Karaoke Madness at Amapola
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