Thursday, October 29, 2009

A week into and out of the darkness

It's been kind of a weird wild week here on Lola's Corner. Monday afternoon the power went off - for the fourth or fifth time in a week - and this time it stayed off for more than 24 hours. In a lot of ways, we wouldn't mind. As long as we can keep the beer and drinks cold at Ola Lola's, hanging out with candles and lanterns is kinda fun. But the kitchen closes and that's a drag for guests and the business alike. And then there is the 'fridge - and what's in it. We managed to save most stuff by putting refrigerated stuff in coolers on ice and taking frozen stuff to a friend's house. But we still lost some food. The electric company will hear about that!

The other problem is my dependency/addiction to my computer. There is access to the Internet of course but there is also all the photography work I do on the computer. And now here I am - power is back on but two of our computers, including our 6-week-old one, are in the shop. Our BIG desktop won't start up at all and our new one keeps crashing. I'm writing this on our new little laptop, not much more than a netbook, really. But it does keep me connected.

Tomorrow night is the Ola Lola's Halloween Party. We have a special food menu with Graveyard Ghoul-losh, Swamp Monster Slaw, and Sweet Crispy Brain Cell Balls. It you are in the neighborhood drop by. Costumes optional but preferred,

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fuel storage fire in San Juan

Most of you probably have heard by now about the huge fuel storage fire near San Juan. An explosion caused 15 of 40 fuel storage tanks at the depot to burn. This happened late Thursday night into Friday morning. Authorities don't know yet what caused the initial explosion. There have been the usual wild rumors - nuclear attack, terrorists, an escalation of the protests over government layoffs - but so far no one seems to know.

Traffic was halted in and around San Juan for a while. As far as we have heard, there were no deaths or injuries.

The explosion and fire were about 50 miles east of us and posed no danger to us. There are questions about the fallout from the smoke in the atmosphere, especially when it rains. And of course everyone expects gasoline prices - which have been going up the past week anyway - to skyrocket. We'll see.

For now, we'll just be grateful no one was injured and that we are so far away from it and don't have go near it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Congratulaltions Jim and Chandra

Congratulations to our friends Jim and Chandra who got married yesterday. This picture is from the pre-wedding party they had at the pool/clubhouse of their condo complex. Congrautlations you two. Have a long and wonderful life together!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yola on the beach

Early Sunday morning another yola came ashore at Shacks Beach. This one is small, not much bigger than a rowboat. Apparently it made the crossing from the Dominican Republic with people in it, but we don't know how many. Small boats like this are more frequently used for drug drops than people-running. But we know there was at least one refugee: he turned up at one of our friend's homes in the middle of the night, hungry, thirsty, and scared enough to want to go back. He asked our friends to call the police so they could pick him up and send him back. Two Customs and Border Protection officers were happy to oblige.

The boat, a single layer of fiberglass already fractured where the side wall meets the bottom, is still on our beach. We and others have made several unsuccesful attempts to contact the DRNA (Natural Resources Department) about getting it off the beach before high tides and waves wash it back into the pool inside the reef and it breaks up, either on the reef or on the rocks at the edge of the beach. Someone managed to flip it over so it's now upside down with the stern toward the water. At least it is less likely to wash off the beach that way.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The first (and we hope LAST) Ola Lola's WTF (What the Flood) Party

Wow! I've said since we moved here that this little corner of the island is magical. And its greatest magic is the people. Last night y'all proved it again.

If you read our last post, you know that last week we had a flash flood in Bajuras. A friend of ours was nearly swept away in her car. Her car was damaged somewhere between expensive-to-fix and not-enough-left-for-parts.

Last night our community turned out for our first (and we hope last) WTF party. As part of the party, we had a silent art auction to raise money to help our friend repair/replace her car. Every item in the auction sold. We exceeded our fundraising goal for the night. And we had a bunch 'o fun doing it.

Most of the auction items were paintings by world-famous artist, Kurt Ziegler, who graciously donated his work. As word spread (quickly! since we only started putting the event together on Wednesday, five days before), others - Derek, Lourdes from Bamboo Art, Elaine from Fusion Art and Floral, Rosie from Serenity Massage - also donated items to the auction. Thank you all. And a huge thank you to all the people who brought food for the potluck - Sarah, Cookie, Mike and Val, Susan, Suzanne, George and Mary, Ron and Tina, and I know I'm forgetting a couple of people - sorry! Elaine was so busy with the auction, she couldn't make food too. Y'all made this special evening even better.

So more people would have an opportunity to participate - people who couldn't get here in personbut who want to help, to contribute - we reserved four original paintings for an online auction. Those four paintings go up on Ebay today (Monday) at noon AST/EDT. You can view/bid on them by going to and searching for "Kurt Ziegler painting" or for one of these item numbers:
270468970191 ("Point Break");
270468978243 ("Costa");
270468972140 ("Waterfalls");
270468979516 ("Small World").

Check them out. Here is your chance to own a beautiful piece of original art and to help out some great people. Bid early and bid often! And have fun! BTW - the image at the top is "Point Break."

Finally, thank you from the bottoms of our hearts to everyone in our wonderful community who came out and supported us and this event, and who so generously opened their hearts and pockets to help someone in need. Enjoy your new art works for years to come.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Flood update

Well, we're pretty nearly cleaned up and ready to open Ola Lola's today. Monday in the storm was the officially our worst business night ever. Thank you to Lisa, Brian and Zan who came out anyway.

This Sunday we are having the first (and we hope the last) Ola Lola's WTF (What the Flood?) party. As part of the party, we are have a silent auction fundraiser to help a friend repair/replace a car that was severely damaged in the flood. We have several paintings by world-famous artist Kurt Ziegler to auction. Several other people are donating other items as well, including a car-detailing and original Bamboo Art.

Proyecto update: the Developers cleared all the vegetation out of the project area so when the huge rain came, there was nothing to hold to the soil or to slow down the water runoff. So, massive amonts of water roared down the road (that was part of the water that trapped our friend) carrying massive amounts of dirt to the ocean. Added to that was dirt and mud eroded from the bare cliffs where they quarry rock from the mountainside, just upstream from us. (Some of what they quarry there is the fill for the proyecto.) So now we have the worst situation: we have none of the "protections" against erosion and water runoff to the ocean the Developer promised for the completed project, and, because all the vegetation has been stripped away, none of the natural protection that was in place before the Developer messed with it. Oh, and I guess they really are done with the project (for now at least). The contractor hauled his last big bulldozer out of there this morning.

You can see photos of the aftermath of the flood around the project here. In some of the pictures you'll notice there was enough force of water and mud to bend the metal fence out.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Beach town day

Sunday was a reminder of why we moved here, about what we love about beach towns.

I was down at Middles Beach KAPping the Corona Pro surf competition. (Click on the picture to see more photos on our website, There was little/no surf, but it was still a fun party on the beach. Even driving through Jobos was fun. It wasn't so crowded at noon that cars and people blocked the road so traffic was actually moving, slowly but moving. But that's how traffic is in a beach town. Fun music poured out of a couple of bars, people were carrying coolers and umbrellas to the beach. It reminded me of great beach weekends at South Haven and Grand Haven on Lake Michigan. Those beaches are why we wanted to live in beach town in the first place.

When I got back home, power had come back on so I didn't have to put the no-electricity Plan B for opening Ola Lola's into affect. I got to take the dogs swimming and spend a little more time on our nearly empty, uncrowded stretch of beach. AND THIS IS IN OCTOBER! A big part of me didn't want to give up the beach to come open Ola Lola's. But Lola's is very much a part of the beach...

We interrupt this idyllic scene with a reality check. Last night we got hit with the second-worst flash flood since we've been here. Lots of rain and lightening and thunder. We thought we were okay when the rain stopped and the little bit of water in the yard started receding. They must have released water from the overflowing retention ponds up on top of the mountain into our little river because the water came up so fast. Literally all of a sudden our yard, bar, the road, everything was full of brown muddy water. A friend of ours was nearly swept away in her car in the dark.

Now it's morning. One of the "good" things about these floods is they don't last long, a couple of hours instead of days or weeks. We were up pretty late cleaning up and we have a lot more to do today. All the people and all the animals are okay. The bar survived it. Now I just have to wash every beer bottle and every glass we own. We cleaned all the water and mud out of the bar last night and started drying it out. We're okay. It's just not how I'd planned to spend the first day of our weekend.