Saturday, March 31, 2007

Flood 2 - aftermath

As I scrubbed the deck for the third time, it occurred to me that one of the great ironies of the flood is: it was water that caused the mess and the one thing I need more than any other to clean up is - more water!

The photo of the water jug will give you some perspective on how deep the water was over the deck and actually inside the bar.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Photo(s) of the day 30 de marzo de 2007

(more photos at

It has been a wild week here on the corner.

Monday I was feeling pretty good - I was going to write about the flood on the road between Lola's and Villa Montana. It rained most of the evening but business was surprisingly good. About 10:15 I heard voices outside. I looked out and saw car lights and people down where the road curves. I thought, "damn, another accident on the curve." People take the curve way too fast and there have been a couple of fender-benders there.

But this time there were more people and more cars in front of Lola's. So I went out to investigate. Turns out the road was flooded and the cars couldn't get through. I offered what comfort I could (in the form of beer and pop, but no takers). A young couple left their car by our little parking lot and walked down the little calle to the beach and on to Villa Montana. Their was an couple, our age or maybe a little younger who were a complete contrast.

They alternated between anger - at the river for flooding, as if it happened just to inconvenience them, then at Villa Montana for not having someone there in a 4x4 immediately to pick them up - and high anxiety. It was like they were afraid they'd never get "home."

The whole - what do the weather people call it, a weather event? - weather event lasted maybe an hour. The river went back down, the road opened up and all was good.

And like I said, I was feeling pretty good 'cause it didn't effect us.

By Wednesday I wasn't feeling so smug. In the afternoon more rain, bigger floods and this time we got it. Today's photos are of the garden. The first one or the garden was taken about 1:45, while it was raining, the second one about an hour later. In that time the garden filled with water. It got up to the level of the seat of a lawn chair. The bar had about a foot of water in it. Cars and people backed up, lining the road. Being the good entrepreneur I am, I was out selling beer, chips, pop and juice. Seriously!

Scott and Eileen, you had "lake front" property for a while. The water didn't get quite to your place but Felix's house on the corner was full of water - and mud. Fortunately, the water never got close to the first level of our house. Mike, the former owner of Villa Tropical, said this was within about six inches of the highest he's seen the water.

But again, it didn't last long. The water started going down in about an hour. So I spent much of yesterday cleaning out the bar, cleaning out the mud. Oh well! I'd planned to scrub the floor this week anyway.

Besides yucky mud, the big issue yesterday was mosquitoes. Warm weather+lots of rain+no breeze=moscas.

Today we have yesterday's breeze and today's. It's back to being windy on the corner. I'm not complaining though.

Yesterday the ocean blew up as well with 15-foot waves at Wilderness and 8-10 footers at Shacks. But that's another post.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Photo of the day 26 de marzo de 2007

So much to write about, so little time.

Last week I got the chance to combine a number of passions: photography, kite flying, kite aerial photography, kite surfing, the beach, the ocean, etc., etc. The afternoon shoot yielded more than 25o photos. I'm still sorting through them all.

This photo of a kite surfer was taken with my KAP (kite aerial photography) rig. If you've been reading this blog for a while, or better yet if you've been here, you already know Shacks Beach is one of the top five kite surfing locations in the world. Shooting with a KAP rig gives a whole different perspective to the sport and visually puts it in a different context from the usual ground- or water-level shots.

The best of the kite surfing shots are up on the Flickr site, They will also be up soon on the new web site, I'll get some of the other beach shots up soon. Check 'em and let us know what you think.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Photos of the day 24 de marzo de 2007

It's a dog's life.

A friend of ours once said "when I come back in another life, I want to come back as your dog."

I think I want to come back as our dog, too. You'll notice who has the hammock. First the only non-plastic chair currently in the house and now the hammock. But as you can see from the second photo, Amber is willing to share. Jazz is a little less secure about the hammock. He's happier lying underneath, testing his head on the railing and surveying his domain.

I'll put some more dog photos on Flickr soon.

The other day I took the KAP (kite aerial photography) rig out and shot pictures of kite surfers. Talk about the best of several worlds: photography, from a kite, of kites, on a beach, on the ocean, someplace warm. Wow! It doesn't get much better than that. But... I wound up with some 250+ images from that shoot and I've been trying to get them sorted and labeled and generally ready for "publication." You'll probably see at least one as tomorrow's photo of the day. As soon as I get them all sorted, there will be some on Flickr and on the new website,

Stay tuned. More to come.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New web site launched

We've launched a new web site - and a new business - from Lola's Corner. went live today. It's not completely finished, but the surf photos are up. We still have to digitally process a bunch of wave and kite surf pics and get them up but this is a start. Check it out and let us know what you think. There will still be stuff for the blog and to put up on Flickr.

The new site, and rebuilding the Ola Lola's site, have sucked up a lot of time and computing power so I haven't been out shooting much. Some of the surf reports say we may get swells tomorrow. We'll see. I do have some new stuff for photo of the day and to post to Flickr. I hope to get that up tomorrow.

For now, it's been raining pretty hard here on Lola's corner. That's okay. Most of the outdoor places - including Lola's - are closed tonight and we really need the rain.

This magic thing happens when it rains. I've written before about the coquis (pronounced KO-kee), the wonderful little tree frogs here on the island. There are 17 different species of coqui. And even though I just called them "tree frogs," that's really just a discription. They are coqui and Puerto Ricans get very irate if you call them frogs. Anyway, they get their name from the sound they make - ko-KEE! ko-KEE! When it's dry, you'll hear two or three or four coqui calling in the night. Right after a rain they explode in a chorus, a symphony of layers of different coqui voices. And they are loud for such little guys (the largest coqui are about an inch-and-a- quarter, maybe an inch-and-a=half, long. Knowing full well I'm mixing metaphors, the coqui literally light up the night with their songs. That's what I'm listening to right now.

More soon.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Photo of the day 19 de marzo de 2007

Congratulations to Kim and Jenny (that's Jenny getting a "lift" in the middle of the picture; the groom, Kim, is providing most of her support). These are the die-hards, the last of the 25 or so guests who finished the wedding party at Lola's.

Kim and Jenny (who is originally from Michigan by the way) came all the way from Arizona to Shacks Beach to get married at Villa Montana on Sunday.

Most of the wedding party was at Lola's Saturday night, celebrating St. Patrick's Day and, oh yeah, Kim and Jenny's wedding. Rumor has it the bride and groom were there briefly, but I didn't get to meet them until Sunday.

The wedding was at 11:00 am; the formal ("formal" being a relative term - this was a tropical beach wedding after all) reception lasted until 2:30 pm. The first guests were headed to Lola's by 3:15. The bride and groom arrived by golf cart (a sort of beach-y limo) about 3:45. The party at Lola's lasted until 7-ish. It would have gone longer but most of the wedding party and guests were out of here early Monday, either on the early-am flights or to San Juan. It was a blast having Jenny, Kim, and their friends here.

We hear the bride doesn't like to travel to the same location twice, but rumor has it they are planning their 5th anniversary party at Lola's.

If anyone from has pictures of the whole group at Lola's, we'd love to see them. Please e-mail them to us at I was busy making Mojitos and pina coladas and didn't take pictures. Thanks.

Bueno suerto, Kim and Jenny. Con cuidado alli. We'll be ready and waiting to host your anniversary party.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Photo of the Day 16 de marzo de 2007

I finally got out to do some kite aerial photography (KAP) yesterday. We've had howling winds the past few days and the wind has been driving some great waves - not great for surfing because they're too choppy and disorganized. But they are beautiful and powerful and amazing. Like the flames of a fire, waves can be mesmerizing. The ocean's colors are always - I hate to use the word amazing again, but they truly are amazing. Cliches like "never-ending kaleidoscope,' in addition being hackneyed and trite, don't come anywhere close to describing the effect. When waves are added to the mix, the visual effect is awesome.

I've shot a lot of pictures of the waves and the ocean from "ground level" and from the top of the kasrts formations, but I've been intrigued for a long time about the possibility of shooting the waves from above with my KAP rig. The winds here are usually out of the northeast which is slightly on-shore on our corner of the island. That makes it hard to get the camera OVER the water. Yesterday I found a point on one of the karst formations where I could get a little bit off-shore and fly the kite over the waves. This is one of the pics from the shoot.

I've also been trying to shoot sunset with the KAP rig. Yesterday was not a great sunset but I did some shooting anyway. These are more typical of the kinds of photos I get looking out at the ocean (because of those pesky on-shore winds) rather than getting over the water.

The best of both the afternoon and sunset shoots are up on the Flickr site

Enjoy! and feel free to comment.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Final photo for today

Tres amigos en la playa.

Bonus bonus photo

As long as I was writing about Jazz chasing shore birds...

We've done some "shore bird desensitization training. Here Jazz (left) and Amber (duh! - on the right) sit staring at an egret on the shore (that little tiny white spot in the center of the frame). They have their leashes on but I'm not holding them. They are obeying the "stay" command, in spite of the bird. I didn't say they were relaxed or happy about it but they did stay.

From here we resumed our walk with both dogs at heel.

By the way, the desensitization training is on-going. The next morning, both dogs took off down the beach, chasing birds.

Bonus photo for 15 de marzo de 2007

Maureen was not the only one enjoying the water. Here's Jazz swimming with E. and me.

Since the first few days, Amber actually spends more time IN the water than Jazz does. The one thing more than any other that will get Jazz in the water is a bird. He races up and down the beach, across the karst, and out in to the water chasing them. I don't worry about him too much. Mona Island isn't that far off shore and the Dominican Republic is only 75 miles away. He'll be back. Seriously, it always seems to be surprised when he finds himself in the water - " did I get here?' - and comes right back to shore.

Photo of the day on the Ides of March

Our sympathies go out to Julius Caesar's family. A group of Roman Senators assassinated Caesar on March 15 in 44 B.C.

Remember the photo(s) I promised, what, three days ago? Well, we've experienced assorted outages - cable, power, phone, cell phone - over the past few days. But we have Internet access back and we're going to take advantage of it.

Part of the time E. was here our friend Maureen was visiting with her friend Mimi as well. Maureen had a great time snorkeling and playing in Blue Hole, as you can see from today's photo.

A comment about comments: Some people have had difficulty posting comments to the blog. I'm really sorry about that. I tried it and had problems myself. Blogger/Blogspot - and parent Google - don't make it easy. I've contacted Blogger about it but haven't heard anything back.

You can follow Blogger's directions and post a comment - eventually, it does work. If you still have trouble posting a comment, e-mail your comment(s) directly to us at We'll make sure your comment gets posted. In fact, we're planning a post this week that will be comments people have sent us about the blog. Stayed tuned for that. We've been surprised by the effect the blog has had.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Today on Lola's Corner

This morning is overcast. Weather Underground says it's 75 but it already feels warmer than that. It's muggy and the air is very still.

I took the dogs for their morning run on the beach. The sky was shades of metal gray: soft stainless steel, hard-edged gun metal gray into gun-metal blue, dark heavy grays. Even the ocean had a metallic cast. The greens over the sand between the reefs was copper-patina seen in fading light. A quick flash of sunlight through a "blue hole" in the sky highlighted the wavetops but only served to emphasize the grays.

I've got a few new pictures so I'll get back to a Photo of the day later today. It's really been pretty quiet on Lola's Corner. Not enough breeze for the kite surfers, not enough surf for the board surfers, but enough to keep the surfers ever-hopeful and the water churned up enough to make snorkeling an exercise in exercise. Although...

Elaine's last day here - last Friday - she went out and renewed her acquaintance with the barracuda she'd been swimming with all week (I missed him, damn it. Still haven't seen the whales either.), saw an octopus and I forget what all else. Saturday afternoon, after she left, I cleaned her snorkeling gear and put it away. I cried as I did it because I know she won't be here to use it for a while.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lucy, you've got some catching up to do...

Ola Lola's "bar dogs" - Amber in the red collar, Jazz in the blue - sleeping on the deck...

and playing in the ocean.

Thanks to all our regular readers/addicts for your patience. It's been an amazing week with E. here and Amber and Jazz moving here. We've been very busy getting reacquainted and just spending time together. Jazz and Amber are getting used to their new home, learning about the road in front of Lola's, learning and getting comfortable in their new roles as "bar dogs," learning to play on the beach and in the ocean, and shedding their winter undercoats.

We also spent part of the time we've been entertaining a friend and a friend of the friend from Michigan. More about that in future posts.

E. and I spent a lot of time working on "things" for the future of Lola's - a planning and testing the new menu to put in place when E. comes back for good in May, ordering Ola Lola's T-shirts (we'll let you know when they're in; you'll be able to order them on-line or at least via e-mail), getting new signs made.

Short story, I haven't had a lot of time (or inclination) to write.

But early this morning E. flew back to Michigan. All four of us - E., Amber, Jazz and me - start a new phase of the adventure. E. is headed back to Michigan without the dogs. She will have a couple of months (we're not sure exactly how long) back there without them. Now I have the dogs (as much as I love them, they are a poor poor substitute for E.'s presence and company) and their needs will define a greater portion of my life.

The first eight weeks of separation from E. were almost impossibly difficult. I don't even want to think about how hard the next weeks are going to be. We were standing in line at the airport this morning, waiting for E. to go into the security screening. Right up til then I was in total denial about her leaving. Then, after she left, the ten minute drive home from the airport was the longest ten minutes maybe I've ever spent. The drive down "off the mountain" is usually comforting and relaxing. This morning I started crying as I started down the hill and cried all the way home. I guess ( I HOPE) I'll stop soon, but I'm not counting on it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Photo of the day 2, 3, 4, 5 de marzo de 2007


(ISABELA, Puerto Rico) A car crash Saturday night temporarily knocked out power, cable and internet services to Lola's Corner and Playa Shacks.

An unidentified driver headed south on Carr. 4466 missed the first turn of the S-curve and crashed head-on into a concrete utility pole. The driver was able to escape from the vehicle just seconds before sections of the broken pole crashed through the roof of the car.

Patrons at Ola Lola's Garden Bar about a quarter of a mile away witnessed the accident.

"There were no squealing brakes--just the awful sound of the crash. Then we saw sparks, almost like fireworks, as the pole fell and the power transformer exploded. Then all the lights went out," one guest said.

Traffic backed up on Carr. 4466 for more than half a mile in both directions from the crash site, closing the road for several hours. Although electric power was restored in less than two hours, the traffic jams and power outages forced the cancellation of several events, including "jazz night" at Bamboo Beach.

Ola Lola's remained open through the power outage, operating with hurricane lamps and tiki torches. "It was really quite pretty," one guest said.

There was one bright side to the darkness on Playa Shacks: the lunar eclipse Saturday night was brilliant, beautiful--and much more visible without the "light pollution."

Internet and cable services to the Playa Shacks area were not fully restored until Monday evening. So this is really the first opportunity we've had to post since then. Sorry for the delay.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Photo of the day 1 de marzo de 2007

Settling in. The hammock has claimed two more willing victims.

E. arrived safely with Amber and Jazz. It is unbelievably, amazingly, awesomely wonderful to have them here. All three are settling in quite well. Amber (red collar) and Jazz (blue collar) have discovered the wonders of lying in the hammock with E. They've been swimming in the ocean a couple of times already and seem to adapting quite nicely to the warmer climate.

Jazz has something in his paw that is causing him a lot of discomfort. We pulled one thorn out but there is something else there we haven't been able to get yet. We're working on it.

Our friends Maureen and Mimi arrived on the 4:30 am Jte Blue flight into Aguadilla this morning. Everybody but me is taking a nap right now. My turn is coming soon. But Lola's opens today and I have to get cleaned up and ready for that.

More later, hopefully with new pictures.