Author: Debbie (---.asm.bellsouth.net)
Date: 03-06-06 21:06
Thank you for your informative post on Casa de Helado, the insights into the taxi service and warning about the filth on Culebra.
It is exactly your type that I am happy to hear from. The fact that you hated it so much means you will never be back, and those of us that love Culebra so much will never have to cross your path. I find a certain amount of comfort in that, as others who frequent this board must also.
Contrary to one of your posts, this board is not largely populated with locals; I would wager that it's mostly populated with people who have visited Culebra (some multiple times like myself) that want to educate others on the island before they visit so that they won't be disappointed. A few years ago, I was bound to meet at least one person/couple/family per trip that hated it. When I became aware of this board, I made a concerted effort to reach out and answer any and all questions that I could, so that I wouldn't have to hear one more person tell me on-island that they hated it and would never come back. For every one of those, there's 10 other people that can peer beneath the dirt, the guesthouses with no views, and the slightly inebriated taxi drivers and see the charm and the beauty that exists. For instance, I find it charming that you can drive around with an open beer as long as you have your seatbelt on.
I've gone back through the board posts and it appears that you did not do your research! You made only three posts in the week before you left. In one of those posts, you said "We're at the mercy of the locals there and would like some helpful advice on how to get to and from San Juan to Fajardo without being robbed blind." So apparently, you already had something against Puertoricans before you even stepped on their soil. Sad, but insightful into what we should have expected to hear from you upon your return.
Had you done your research, you would have found some good views and some bad views about Casa de Helado. From that, maybe you would have had a better idea of the place that you had rented given all the controversy/publicity it received a few months ago. I don't know the owners, but I know which house they own, and I take issue with your calling it the slums. According to you, the whole island must be a slum. What consitutes a slum anyway? According to dictionary.com, "A heavily populated urban area characterized by substandard housing and squalor. Often used in the plural." Okay, so Culebra is not heavily populated, not urban by any means; it does not have substandard housing as compared to other small, but largely undeveloped islands and squalor is a subjective term. It's definition, just so you don't have to bother to look it up is "a filthy and wretched condition or quality". Let's attack that like we did "slum." If a place has mainly dirt roads with very little pavement (and lots of potholes where there is pavement), lots of wind, and periods of no rainfall, gee, seems like it would be a bit dirty. It is impossible to keep anything clean there, including houses on dirt roads. Quality? Culebrense don't have an issue with the quality of their living quarters nor their idyllic life on the island. Did you even know that a local is called a "Culebrense?" No, because you didn't give them a snowball's chance in hell to welcome you with open arms like they do most strangers/tourists/visitors.
As for taxis, I'm assuming by about the second day you were there, all of them knew your name. Who can blame them for charging more for having to listen to you? I'm a gringo, and caucasian at that, and I've NEVER paid more than $2 for a taxi ride to anywhere on the island.
Where DID you hear about Culebra? What were your expectations? Did you think you were going to be staying in a beachside resort, playing mini golf and drinking daquiris with umbrellas? If so, then you kind of deserve the experience you got.
I'm glad you're home and settling back into your life. Enjoy the barren *whiteness* of Canada, while the rest of us dream about our beloved Culebra.