Friday, July 27, 2012

beach clean-ups

There is a beach clean-up at Playa Pastillo this Saturday. Pastillo is a beautiful beach on the other side of Isabela. We've been there a number of times, just not recently. It's below the cliffs of Royal Isabela Golf Club and runs all the way to Guajataca.

We used to participate in beach clean-ups a lot when we first got here. We're still members of Rescate Playas Isabela (Rescue the Beaches of Isabela). Once a month or so I volunteer to take water samples at various beaches so they can monitor bacteria levels. But we don't go to beach clean-ups any more and people wonder why.

There are really two reasons. First, we do beach clean-ups every day. Every day when I run the dogs on the beach I pick up trash people left behind. It's usually plastic grocery bags, plastic cups (yesterday I picked up over 100), beer cans and beer bottles that people brought to the beach but were too drunk, too lazy, too ignorant or too apathetic to take home (or at least to the trash cans in front of Ola Lola's).

I come from a hiking/backpacking/canoeing and now snorkeling/diving background. The rule is "take nothing but photos and memories, leave nothing but footprints" and in the case of canoeing and diving, leave nothing. In other words, you carried it in, you carry it out.

"My" bit of beach runs from the end of the little calle we take to get to the beach to about the end of Yippie Calle aka Deadend Road. It's about a quarter of a mile of beach front. Not at lot, but it's "mine" and I want it clean.

Does my small effort help keep the beach at Jobos clean? No. And that brings me to the second reason we - or at least I - don't do beach clean-ups any more. I'm just not into picking up other people's trash. If people are too (see above) to pick up their own trash, they deserve the trashy beaches they get. It's not my job (paid or unpaid) to pick up after them.

I'll donate money. I'll work on education projects. I'll pick up on my own little stretch of beach. But I won't spend my free time picking up trash somebody else was okay bringing to the beach but was too inconsiderate to pick up and dispose of properly.

Here endith my rant.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

NIght dive last night

Night dive! I won't bore you with the two seahorses or the two starfish or the school of mackeral scad or the whole bunch of decorator crabs or the octopus or the beautiful lionfish we saw. I'm just going to jump right to the baby reef squid. I love the reef squid! This is the first time I've seen them at night, fluttering in our lights, changing colors. They were a little freaked out by the lights I think so we didn't focus on them too long.
(I hate that lionfish are here. They are a terribly destructive invasive species. But they are beautiful.)
Sorry - no photos from this dive. We're working on a light setup for night dives.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


 We've known for several years there was a cave and fresh-water spring at the base of the cliff near the beach called Dunas. Dunas is past Villa Pesquera about 6 miles east of Ola Lola's. Hole 13 of the Royal Isabela Golf Club is on top of the cliff, right straight up the cliff face.As I said, we've know about it for a long time but never found it until yesterday. The spring came up again in a conversation with our friends Stanley, David and Tito Monday night and we decided to hike back and look for it again. This time we found it.

It's a beautiful setting with lush greenery hanging over the cave and ferns growing on the racks around the pond. No one is really sure but rumors are the pond is 60 feet or more deep. There has been talk about scuba diving into it, just to see were it goes but so far there are no solid plans for that.

It's a bit of a hike along the beach to get back to the spring from the end of the Paseo Lineal (the biking/walking trail from Jobos to Villa Pesquera) by the Isabela del Mar condos. Deep soft sand makes getting back there by vehicle impractical. Walking is about the only way to see it. It was well worth the hike. I'm really glad we found it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1000 Peanut Butter Burgers!!!

 Elaine, wielding the Ola Lola Sword of Super Powers, congratulates Tim Flatt for ordering and eating our
1,000th Peanut Butter Burger!

A handmade, specially seasoned 100% beef patty grilled to order. Sweet pickle relish. Creamy smooth peanut butter melted on top. Served on lightly toasted bakery-fresh bread. All brought together with love.

If Ola Lola's has a signature, the Peanut Butter Burger is it. We have people from all over the country - indeed, the world - come and say something like, "What's a peanut butter burger? I heard about it and I hear it's really good."

It IS really good - amazingly surprisingly wonderfully good. As of last night we've sold more than 1,000 Peanut Butter Burgers since we put them on the menu. Tim Flatt ordered Peanut Butter Burger number 1,000. (Yes, we really do keep track.) Tm got a big celebration at Ola Lola's and a gift pack that includes a Stand Up Paddleboard adventure from our friends at Verde Azul.

We're sending out a huge THANK YOUs not only to Tim but to the other 999 adventurous souls who the strange-sounding but unbelievably good Ola Lola's Peanut Butter Burger.

If you haven't tried one, you should. And even though we sold number 1,000 Ola Lola's Peanut Butter Burger month continues all through July. Everyone who orders a Peanut Butter Burger this month gets a little gift. C'mon down and get yours!

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's a holiday - who knew?

I've been trying for nearly three weeks to get some documents to the Environmental health people so we can finally get our health department permit. Ours expired in October. We've been inspected and passed; now it's just paperwork. I've been there several times and they were closed - too early and the office wasn't open yet, closed for lunch, too late in the day, whatever.

Today on what appeared to be a normal sunny beautiful Monday I cruised to the hospital where the health department office is located. I felt like I'd driven into the Twilight Zone. There was not one single car in the parking lot! Rod Serling's voice in my head, "This is strange." I parked in my personal choice parking space and walked up to the hospital door. Locked. A hospital door locked? Yep. Granted it's a small hospital. But locked doors?

I called Elaine and said, "I'm in the Twilight Zone here. Is this a holiday I didn't know about?"

"I don't know. Let me check."

Sure enough today is Luis Muñoz Rivera's birthday. Luis Muñoz Rivera was born on July 17, 1859. He was a poet, journalist and politician and a major figure in the struggle for political autonomy of Puerto Rico from both Spain and then the US. His birthday is a government holiday celebrated the third Monday of July.

Postcard from 30 feet down

A school of mackerel scad under the piers at Crashboat Beach yesterday.

I've been diving every day. Except today. This one of those "yes-we-live-here-and-we're-not-on-vacation- so-now-I- have-to-catch-up-on-all-the-things-I-haven't-done" days. I could have gone diving  but I gotta go to the bank.

More "postcards" to come.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Return of Ola Lola's

Tonight marks the return of the "regular" Ola Lola's menu. Peanut Butter Burgers are back. Trinidad Burgers are back. Borinquen BBQ Pork is back.Coco-lime Chicken is back!

Our deepest heartfelt thanks goes out to all our Guest Chefs in the month of June - Chris, Tami, Mimi, Julie and Danny. You all more than exceeded our hopes! Our guests were blown away by the wonderful food and wonderful choices you offered. Thank you all so much! We will do some variation of Guest Chef Night/Week/Month again.

Sometime this month we will reach our 1,000th Peanut Butter Burger. We have a package of prizes for the lucky diner who gets number 1,000, including a Stand-Up Paddleboard tour courtesy of Verde Azul. Check back for updates.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Fourth of July

Back again. The 18th day of my 61st year. More on where we've been later. For now, this is a KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) of Playa Jobos - one of the most popular beaches on our end of the island - at about 1:30 today, the Fourth of July.

Jobos gets so crowded and the road is so narrow on holidays they close the road and route traffic up the hill and around the beach. When I was going to the beach, a police officer parked his motorcycle across the eastbound lane. However, this intersection is a "Y," not a "T." So everybody - including me - turned right on one leg of the "Y" and then turned left on the other leg, went around the cop and continued on. The cop in the mean time was standing at the bar across the street drinking bottled water.

There are more photos from this session on our Flickr page.