Monday, August 31, 2009

Island driving school

It’s funny how errands that would be simple at home become more complicated when you’re living abroad. For example: getting a haircut. I had two main concerns about getting my hair cut in Puerto Rico: (1) I barely know what to tell the barber when the conversation is in English, so I definitely don’t want to have that conversation in Spanish, and (2) I had a nagging fear of ending up with a Cristian Ronaldo no matter what I said. Anyway, Yelp located a salon near San Juan that cuts men’s hair and I was off. (On a side note, this was my first time in a “salon” as opposed to a “barber shop”, and the atmosphere and scenery is much different… and much easier on the eyes.) In the end, my Ronaldo fears were unfounded… in fact, I think I look rather dashing (if I do say so myself), but I snapped a photo when I got back from the salon for your review.

Clearly I need to attend the Jason Walker School of Posing for Photographs.

As it turned out, the most dramatic part of the experience was getting there in a torrential rain storm. Even in good weather, the people here seem to think we’re all in bumper cars, and flooded streets did not help. I thought (correctly) that LA drivers are bad; but drivers here seem especially dedicated to negligence on the road. So just in case you're planning a trip to PR, here are a few things I've learned that you'll find helpful:

  1. At times it will appear that another car is trying to hit you. Do not be alarmed; this is just their way of merging.
  2. Right-of-way rules (as you know them) do not exist here. The rules here are similar to when someone fumbles the football: whoever wants it more gets possession.
  3. I have conducted an investigation and found that cars in PR are in fact equipped with turn-signal indicators. I can only conclude that there has been an island-wide agreement never to use them.
  4. While on the freeway, you will notice that many drivers take up two lanes (maybe it's more like a lane and a half). You can experiment with this if you’d like, but I have found that the one-lane technique works just as well as it does at home.
  5. If you want to blend in with the locals, you should be on the phone as much as possible while driving and under no circumstances use a hands-free device. Maybe this is where the two-lane technique comes in handy.
  6. This last tip isn’t specific to driving: If you’re going to need an ambulance, make sure it’s when traffic is light. Traffic here does not move out of the way of EMS vehicles.

But those rain storms make for dramatic sunsets...

Well, we're getting ready for the arrival of Tropical Storm Erika here tomorrow. Apparently it's a weak storm, but will bring tons of rain, which means flooding. I'll let you know how things turn out next week.


  1. LMAO!! This was truly your most entertaining post. Hilarious! You have certainly captured the essence of PR. That's why I hate going there. On another note, also glad you posted a picture, I was beginning to forget what you looked like. HA!

  2. Bro your editorial skills are impressive. you should think about being a writer. ¡Que bien!

  3. I know this was a while ago, but I just read this post. Hilarious!