Saturday, December 31, 2011

What is in a Word?

In Spain, la Madre Patria, they call New Year's Eve, Noche Vieja. In Puerto Rico we call it, Año Viejo. Noche Vieja, means old night, while Año Viejo, means old year. There is a difference in gender, too, which is not considered in English. Noche Vieja is femenine and Año Viejo is masculine. I don't know which I prefer more, but I do know I have always called it Año Viejo, which is very appropriate since we are talking about letting the old year go and isn't just about any old night. So yeah, I'm sticking to Año Viejo and that's it!

Tomorrow will be another day. God bless you all with a beautiful prosperous New Year or Año Nuevo, full of God's love and peace.

The Latest Driving Ploy

It was an ordinary day. I had left my sister’s apartment and was about to get on the eight-lane highway in front of the airport. There were three lanes between where I was and where I needed to be. I checked if I had enough distance between myself and the car behind. In fact, I waited for a car to go by, and there was a clearing and in my judgment I could change lanes without endangering anyone. I turned on my signal light, accelerated, and changed lanes. Remember this is something I routinely do.

A red compact car, which had been at least six car lengths behind me, accelerated abruptly and positioned himself behind me and honked his horn, while I continued my movement to the right. I thought briefly that this reaction from the car behind me was uncalled for and there really wasn’t much I could do to say I’m sorry since there isn’t a universal hand signal to say pardon me or I’m sorry. Knowing it had been a minor offense, if any, I moved on. He’ll get over it. Next thing I know, the red car suddenly moved in front of me. Umm, red flag. Road rage.

I was expecting him to give me the famous hand signal, the finger, but it didn’t come. Instead he drove a normal speed for a few seconds and then deliberately put on the brakes in front of me. There was something funny about it. Actually, it was not funny at all. He had abruptly slowed down yet his brake lights did not come on. Next he went real slow, and then did a devil type of hand signal with long skinny fingers. I gasped inside realizing what had just happened. Seeing no reaction and no accident, he moved on.

I felt like cursing him while observing him suspiciously, but instead I prayed for him to repent. He moved two lanes across the road to his left and I did not take my eyes off of him until there was a concrete divider between us and he could no longer come into my lane.

I couldn’t figure this out. It was a sparkling new car. Shiny. Sparkling. Spick and span. Yet, I knew his brake lights hadn’t come on but it wasn’t until this morning I realized that he probably has his car souped-up to take off those brake lights deliberately. He wanted me to crash in to him or give me a big scare. In any case, it didn’t work.

What I did find alarming is the malice. No longer is it just the expected sloppy driving but now the ploys. I later spoke to a friend and he says this is a ploy that is being pulled on unsuspecting drivers to make them bump into the car in front of them, pull over, and then rob them. It makes sense since I was on the road to the airport where many tourists drive to return their cars.

Fortunately, I am returning home soon. In the meantime you can be sure I will be praying and changing my routine while watching out for that little red car that is on fire.

Dios nos proteja!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Bougainvillea


One of my favorite plants: the bougainvillea...am I spelling that wrong? Any way, just like Juliette would by any other name a rose would smell as sweet, more or less, and bougainvilleas are beautiful in white, tangy orange, beige, or magenta...feathery, paper like, and lovely. Thorns that secure a safe hedge, but nevertheless scratchy and a tad threatening all wrapped up in one.

La trinitaria como le decimos en español. Whatever you call it trinitaria (trinity) or bougainvillea, it is beautiful. Enjoy!

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Gift Cards Scam

Gift cards are so convenient but they should come with a warning label reading, "This merchandise may be harmful to your wallet!" Be careful when giving away a gift card. Scams! Unscrupulous people are finding a way to get to your money before you can give it away. Recently I gave a family member a gift card, which I purchased at it well known drug store and gave it as a present of course. You know how convenient gift cards are to insert in a thank you card or to give someone to go to a restaurant since you are making it more personal. Well, so I gave away a Visa gift card. When my relative went to use it, it gave him all sorts of problems including not being able to use it in his favorite restaurant to pay for his own meal. It was exasperating and confusing, defeating the whole purpose of the gift!


How does this scam work? Well they the steal the access code to your gift card. You purchase and activate the card but before you are able to use it, they have accessed and used it!

What can we do?

First of all, be wise. Check the display where the cards are located. They should not be available for people to touch and finger through unsupervised. They should be located behind the counter for direct supervision. If they are aren't, that should immediately raise a red flag. These cards are potential money and should be displayed as expensive jewelry because in value they are.

Don't buy them there and speak to the manager! Shop around until you find a store that has their gift cards properly secured and displayed. Until you find a place with the proper security in place, don't purchase a card. It might be better to give someone a money order than a gift card in my opinion.


More articles and advice on the topic:

http://www.newser.com/story/135703/gift-card-scam-warning-issued.html

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Punta Tuna Beach Maunabo in late December



These pictures speak for themselves, don't they?

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Cruz de Malta Fest




These are some guava colored Cruz de Malta or Maltese Cross flowers that I found in a garden in Villas del Faro. I thought they were lovely so here they are. The funny part is that the batteries in my camera had basically expired or died and a few minutes earlier had refused to open the camera or take a shot. I let the camera rest for a few minutes and it worked long enough for me to take these quick shots!

See other Cruz de Malta pictures.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Walking along the Beach


An occasional red leaf
among a sea of green,
grasses gracefully holding their ground,
washed up bamboo
peeled off branches,
a hairy coconut,
a solitary pelican gliding along
as he watches us
walk along the beach.


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