The autonomous municipality of Caguas is sponsoring the second José Gautier Benítez poetry contest. The entry date for poems is the 11th of October and must be sent to the municipality by registewred mail to: 2do Certamen de Poesía José Gautier Benítez, Casa Amarilla Concha Meléndez, Apartado 907, Caguas, Puerto Rico 00726. The envelope must be prepared to meet certain rules, so I would recommend that you download the rules of the contest at the Caguas web portal.
The contest is open to all residents of Puerto Rico, expect for the employees of the Caguas Municipal government and their families. Each person can submit up to 3 poems, with each poem being between 100 and 300 verses. First place in the competition will receive a $1,000 prize, and there will be two second place prizes of $250 each. Finally, certificates of recognition will be awarded to the first and second place winners, as well as to the 10 runners-up. The awards ceremony will be the 12th of November in the Teatro Luis M. Arcelay de Caguas at 3:00 p.m.
José Gautier Benítez (April 12, 1848 – January 24, 1880) was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He is considered Puerto Rico's best poet of the Romantic Era. In 1878, he wrote the poem A Puerto Rico (To Puerto Rico), which was highly acclaimed by his contemporaries as one of his greatest works. A Puerto Rico also received an award from the Ateneo.
José Gautier Benítez died in San Juan, at 31 years of age. He was laid to rest in Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery in Old San Juan. Even though he wrote less than a hundred poems, his works were considered better in quality than the works of other Puerto Rican poets of the time. Gautier Benítez's verses, titled Poemas (Poems) were published posthumously in 1880.
domingo, 30 de septiembre de 2007
The autonomous municipality of Caguas is sponsoring the second José Gautier Benítez poetry contest. The entry date for poems is the 11th of October and must be sent to the municipality by registewred mail to: 2do Certamen de Poesía José Gautier Benítez, Casa Amarilla Concha Meléndez, Apartado 907, Caguas, Puerto Rico 00726. The envelope must be prepared to meet certain rules, so I would recommend that you download the rules of the contest at the Caguas web portal.
martes, 25 de septiembre de 2007
Recently I took a look at the top 100 sites accessed by island Puerto Ricans. To do this I used the Alexa.com web site. Alexa computes traffic rankings by analyzing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users (those who download and install their toolbar). The information is sorted, sifted, anonymized, counted, and computed, until, finally, they get the traffic rankings shown in the Alexa service.
Once they've done their magic, they make the results available on the web. For website owners it's a valuable service, while not 100% accurate, in my opinion it is just about the most useful tool available to gauge your sites popularity. One of the services Alexa provides is to organize the ranking of sites based on the origination of the web page request, therefore, using their Top 100 sites page for Puerto Rico we can get an invaluable look into the web surfing trends of island Puerto Ricans. I won't repeat the list, here, although I will announce the current reigning top 5 sites:
- In general social networking sites are by far the most popular web destinations of Puerto Ricans. However, if you include sites that are dedicated to community, forums, and dating, then the social category comes out with 17 sites of the top 100 are related to social networking or contacts.
- Tied for second are three types of sites: Music, Search and Technology. Within the Music category, nearly all of the web sites are dedicated to Reggaeton, which indicates that the most active web users are probably between ages 18 and 34. The technology category is split between computer related companies and telecommunication companies.
Within the Search category I found an anomaly which would explain why Google is not listed within the top 5 web sites. Google's traffic is split between four different URL's: google.com, google.com.pr, google.es, and googlesyndication.com.
- Tied for third place are File Sharing and Portals. It's no surprise that file sharing ranks so high, especially when you factor in the dominance of the 18 to 34 demographic. If you want, you could rank File Sharing even higher, if you included photographic image sharing and video sharing sites (or do they fall into the voyeur category?). Within the Portal category you'll find two of the top five web sites: yahoo.com and msn.com.
- Tied for fourth are Media and Reference sites. Within the Media category I included: univision.com, elnuevodia.com, endi.com, vocero.com, blogger.com (I didn't know what else to call Blogger). I included wikipedia.org, noaa.gov (weather), imdb.com, weather.com, and information.com in the Reference category.
- Finally, tied for fifth most popular category of web sites are two predominantly male pursuits on the web Pornography and Sports. Of course I'm sure there are some freaky girl jocks out there, but I'm just making a gross generalization. Oh yeah Education was also tied for fifth, but that would have screwed up my crass joke. :-D
Looking closely at the list, I get the feeling that the majority of the traffic generated from Puerto Rico matches up with a demographic significantly younger than what the Internet Society claims, which is an average age of 32. Although that is still within the 18-34 demographic, what I think is happening here is a matter of usage. While it may be true that the average user, in terms of the age of the overall number of users, is 32, I believe that the average age is much lower when you consider the amount of usage of those users. I bet for every 1 web site visited by the average user. someone who is 16-24 visits 10 web sites.
By the way, in case you are wondering, Dondees.com has an overall traffic rank of 172,489 and we are ranked as the 1,289th most visited site from Puerto Rico. We've come along way since starting last year, but our goal is to hit the top 100 sites visited from Puerto Rico. Help us get there by telling 10 friends about DóndeEs.com today! Thanks!
The United States National Park Service is sponsoring a clean-up of the Fort Saint John of the Cross (Fortín San Juan de la Cruz, better known as el Cañuelo). The fort, probably the least visited and least well known of all of the Spanish foritifcation of San Juan, is located on the Islas de Cabras in Toa Baja. The clean-up is scheduled for Saturday 29th from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.
The fort was originally built in wood in 1610. Due to its location at the entrance of the San Juan bay, and in front of the Fort San Felipe del Morro, across the bay, it provided a strategic point to create a crossfire for any invading ships entering the bay, filling a gap in the artillery coverage. It is said that, at one time, there was a huge chain crossing from El Morro to El Cañuelo that was stretched during attacks to provide a physical barricade across the bay entrance.
The fort also guarded the mouth of the Bayamón River on the other side. The fort played an important role during a Dutch attack to the island. At that time it was burnt to ashes. However, the Spaniards rebuilt it in the 1670s.
The square fort is about 80 feet (24 m) per side, with one guerite (garita in Spanish). Originally built on a rocky islet, nearby Isla de Cabras (Goat Island) was artificially expanded to incorporate it.
Although difficult for tourists to find, the site features fabulous views of Boca Vieja Cove to the west and San Juan Bay to the east. The fort interior is closed to the public, but one can walk around its walls. Isla de Cabras is connected to the main island by a short bridge.
WikiCommons Creative Commons Contributor Today: Carlo Giovannetti (a.k.a. Thief12)
lunes, 24 de septiembre de 2007
Earlier this year a young company called EyeTour Puerto Rico launched a new web site offering guided video tours of Puerto Rico. Their stated goal is to offer video tours which can be downloaded onto iPods and other hand-held video players. The first set of videos cover a few of the major tourist attractions in Old San Juan.
Soon after launching their web site the company launched a channel on the popular video sharing web site YouTube. Currently they have 12 videos available. Six of the videos are either instructional or promotions, and the other six videos offer a few of the videos available from their website.
Here is an example of one of the videos:
Well, since these videos are available within YouTube and they are configured so that YouTube users can share them, we here at DóndeEs.com are happy to do just that, share them with our users. Here's a list of the locations that now feature guided video tours:
domingo, 23 de septiembre de 2007
On the weekend of September 29th and 30th, Sacred Heart University will host Soccer Splash. Only this time, different from past soccer events in PR, this event will take place on Sacred Heart's cancha de arena (typically reserved for beach volleyball). That means that all players will be barefoot during the play of the games, ouch.
The tournament will be a double elimination format, where each game will be two halves of 12 minutes long, with an intermission of 3 minutes. Coaches can substitute liberally, although since each team is limited to only 5 players, there won't be much opportunity. Each team will consist of 1 goalie, 3 players, and 1 substitute.
There will be a maximum number of 32 teams for the Splash. There will be 16 teams in the under 12 masculine category, and 8 teams each in the under 14 masculine and feminine categories. Registration is $75 per team and includes a commemorative t-shirt of the event for each player.
There will be first and second prizes for each category. The prizes will include a trophy for the team and $300 for first place, and $150 for second place. For more information call (787) 662-8719.
Flickr Creative Commons Contributor Today: Travis Hornung
viernes, 21 de septiembre de 2007
Puerto Rican mare extends losing streak to 125 races
It seems a local race horse has broken the streak for the longest number of races without a win. Dona Chepa, a 9-year-old brown mare, finished last in a six-horse field at Camarero Racetrack in eastern Puerto Rico on Wednesday, a 125th consecutive loss that is believed to be the longest in horse racing history.
Track spokesman Joe Bruno said Wednesday's loss surpasses an equine losing record of 0-124 set by Australian horse Ouroene, who raced from 1976-83.
There is no world governing body that tracks lack of success for horses, but Dona Chepa's penchant for losing at least beats other notable marks for futility, including Ouroene, Gloria Springs (106, Japan), Thrust (105, North America) and Quixall Crossett (103, Britain).
Dona Chepa, which comes from a distinguished line of champion racers, began her woeful ways on Valentine's Day in 2001. The closest she came to victory was in May 2003, when she finished second, Bruno said.
El Nuevo Dia wishes everyone Peace
I'm really not sure what to think about this beautiful gesture on the part of El Nuevo Dia. On the cover of today's paper was a local celebrity asking for peace. The celebrity they picked is without a doubt a national hero and is known in every household. And what do you think that celebrities claim to fame is?
He's a boxer....
Flickr Creative Commons Contributor Today: Harry Willis
Next weekend, Nova Infusion presents the Salud Expo in the Coliseo Roberto Clemente. The Expo will run from September 28th through the 30th and be open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. With a host of celerities and special activities the exposition hopes to deliver on their slogan "SALUDexpo te ayudará a vivir mejor", or "How to stop dying and start living" (or something like that) a noble and lofty goal indeed.
Above all, the exposition will offer multiple health clinics featuring, among others, Mammography, Oral examinations, HIV testing, Hypertension, Hepatitis C, Weight, Body Fat, Visual Health, Glucose, and Cholesterol. However, while the exposition is open to the public, participation in the health clinics requires the purchase of a ticket at the entrance.
Some of the celebrities expected for the event include: Nancy Alvarez, Carlos Piña, Cimlle Carrion, Desmond Santiago, Josy Latorre, Hector Millan, and Cielito Rosado.
The itinerary for the event is as follows:
Friday September 28th:
- Science program for schools
- Presentation by Dra. Nancy Alvarez
- Calisthenics with Carlos Piña
- Special program doe school students
- Musical presentation by the group Victrola Tinnitus (Say what?)
- Kapoeira demonstration by PR en Forma
- Women's health - Fibromalgia
- Men's complete health (Does that include beer and donuts?)
- Special presentation by Camille Carrion
- "In form with Desmond Santiago"
- Musical presentation by the "Niño Trovador"
- Health walk
- Zumba Marathon
- Program - Know your numbers
- Musical presentation by Jossie Latorre with Orlando Laureano
- Motivational workshop with Héctor Millán
jueves, 20 de septiembre de 2007
Lead by Alberto Marti, president of Scuba Dogs, 9,457 volunteers fanned out across Puerto Rico last Saturday to participate in International Clean the Coast day, which I announced here before. The army of volunteers were able to clean over 121 different locations; locations that varied from beaches, rivers, lakes, mangroves, to bays and estuaries. In total there were over 170 miles of coast cleaned during the day.
In total, almost 380,000 pounds of trash were collected during the event, leaving many wondering where so much trash came from. According to Marti, he believes that 80% of the trash did not originate from maritime activities, but was probably thrown there from inland. Of course, one of the side effects of this colossal effort, or at least Marti hopes, is that people awaken their conscience and convert into part of the solution by proactively eliminate the problem of contamination.
This year's effort exceeds the efforts of last years coast clean-up. Last year 8,900 volunteers cleaned up 335,903 pounds of trash from 104 different locations. Personally, I hope (which I think they will) the annual participation continues to rise. I commend Marti for his leadership and congratulate everybody that participated. I second Marti's wish that these events strike at the heart of the pollution problem we have on our beaches and waterways. It would be better to not dirty our beaches in the first place, then maybe we won't need over 10,000 volunteers. However, considering how oblivious most of our fellow residents are of their actions and behavior, I'm afraid we will be depending on Marti for a long time to come.
Flickr Creative Commons Contributor Today: yasmapaz
martes, 18 de septiembre de 2007
September 21st is The International Day of Peace. So peace be with you, or else! Natural Awakening, which is a local free monthly publication dedicated to healthy living, has organized a local peace day event. The Festival del la Paz will take place from 10 am until 12 midnight in the Parque del Tercer Milenio, Escambrón.
The fesitval will be full of activities including: live music, mandalas, art, inflatable jumping house, artistic presentations, meditations for peace, a drum circle, programs designed for children, and of course, mucho mas.
Among the activities planned is the planting of a Peace Pole, an obelisk of wood with the message “Que la paz prevalezca en la Tierra” carved using many different languages. The pole represents a pledge of silence at 12:00 Noon and a shared message of Peace on Earth, among cultures and religions.
The International Day of Peace, established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly, was first inaugurated on the third Tuesday of September, 1982. Beginning on the 20th anniversary in 2002, the UN General Assembly set 21 September as the now permanent date for the International Day of Peace.
Among the classes and activities are: Zumba, Budokon, Dashimo, Cardioboost, Tai Chi, and Anudasi Mandalas. Among the invited artists include: El Mal Café, Enrieu Cárdenas, Sie7e, Almas, Grupo Tepeu, Vital Roots, and more.
lunes, 17 de septiembre de 2007
The 12th edition of Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit will take place on the weekend of the 29th and 30th of September on Middles Beach in Isabela. This event kicks-off the professional surfing circuit for the 2007 - 2008 season of the Asociación Profesional de Surfing de Puerto Rico (APSPR). In total the circuit consists of three events.
The Pro Surf Circuit pits the best surfers from Puerto Rico against the best professional surfers from around the world. This first event of the circuit carries a substantial collection of prizes. A $10,000 purse awaits the winners of the men's pro surfer category and a $5,000 purse awaits the winners of the pro surf women's category.
The winner of the men's pro surf category will take home $4,000 and 1,000 points towards the Corona Extra Professional Circuit Championship. The remainder of the award prizes will be distributed amongst the top 16 finalists.
The winner of the women's pro surf category will take home $2,000 and the remainder of the prize money will be distributed amongst the top 8 finalists.
During the weekend, there will be entertainment with a diverse line of local bands and DJ's. The entertainment will take place in the surrounding parking lots of Middles Beach. The evenings shows will start at 7:00 pm.
Registration is open for professional surfers over 18 years old and closes on Wednesday the 26th of September. Registrations received after September 22nd will include a $35 late fee. The registration form is available online at the association's web page or at the Loose Surf Shop, (787) 872-2490.
jueves, 13 de septiembre de 2007
With this post, I'm going to launch a new category for Dondequiera. This new category will be called Websites and the content of the posts will be reviews of web sites pertinent to Puerto Rico. I'm going to be looking at websites that I find as I research information for the blog and give a refreshingly honest and new perspective to how I and many other people, I'm sure, interact and relate to the site. Seen from another perspective we can consider these reviews as a case study analysis of web site design, usability, search engine optimization and search engine marketing.
While I promise not to dog every site I come across, I will not pull any punches no matter who is the subject of the review. At the same time, I hope that this honest feedback will give web site designers and advertising agencies some valuable information about what they are doing right and wrong. So which site will I use to start this new category? Now that I'm thinking about it, I should probably start with DondeEs.com, so just to be fair. I'll do us next, I promise. It's just that I was all set to blog about some event this morning and ran across a site that I think really needs to be reviewed. So while the adrenaline is flowing, I hope you'll indulge me in ranting first, then eating my own dog food second when I look at DonDees.com (as we warmly refer to it internally).
So here's the deal, I'm researching this event that Coors Light is announcing everyplace called "Style", a fashion forward music event through the eyes of vanguard designer Eddie Guerrero. I'm like, that sounds pretty cool, but me being the fashion idiot I am, I say who is Eddie Guerrero? Here's the clincher and the reason for my rant, the advertisements say "Info at coorslightpr.com". Cool, I can get the down-low on this event at the site and figure out what to write. When I get to the website, after entering that I was born on January 1st, 1800, I enter the site. (I think that by law the alcoholic beverage web sites have to ensure that the person entering the web page is old enough to drink.) What a huge CYA policy, I mean does this really prove anything?
So I cruised through all of the links and tried to find more information about this event. I found a few links, but in the end I didn't find one piece of information more about the event than what was in the original advertisement. I think that really, really sucks. First I feel tricked to have wasted my time when I gained nothing for my effort. Marketers, please don't waste my time! Second, what a lost opportunity. I took action to go to your web page and you spit in my face. You could have really seized this opportunity and gave me more than I expected. The sky was the limit: paper dolls with Eddie Guerrero fashions, photos, videos, wallpapers, learn how to be a fashion designer, and on and on. CoorslightPR, You gave me squat and I'm mad at you for it.
History Repeats or Why does this site look so familiar?
It's probably worth noting that if you visit the Coors Light PR web page, it was recently redesigned and launched. According to the Director of Marketing of Coors Brewing for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, Juan Casillas, "el relanzamiento de nuestro ya existente portal cibernético queremos ofrecerle al consumidor alternativas innovadoras para que se mantengan informados de todo lo que sucede con la marca”. First question, after insulting my intelligence as described above, why should I care about your brand, no seriously, the dilemma I have is does the public in general care about what's going on with the brand Coors Light? For me brand is something that seeps in while people consume content, entertain themselves, or get informed. Brand is something that, typically, only brand managers care about. For the rest of us, it's does this product make me feel good about myself? Yes, Ok cool I'll buy it. Does this product make me kick-ass, Ok here's my credit card.
It's rather obvious that all of the alcoholic beverage companies here in Puerto Rico believe that their target audience is 18 to 34. I'll have to take that at face value, without a doubt I know that's when I did my heaviest drinking. ;-) So to a certain extent, I guess it follows that the content, image, and aesthetic are going to be similar. However, since Medalla Light won the first ever Web Awards in the 2007 SME Puerto Rico Internet Forum 2007: Webolution, I have a strange feeling that more and more of the alcoholic beverage web sites are going to resemble that of Medalla Light.
You're going to get sick hearing this one, but until everybody learns it, repeat with me "Just say no to Flash", I'm going to continue to hammer on this point. People, people, people we have to stop the madness. Stop making Adobe Flash-based web sites. I won't deny that web designers can make some very pretty eye-candy web sites, but there are more ways available to achieve many of the same flashy effects. There are ways to make Flash work and do all the things that a good web site should, however, unfortunately very few people take the necessary time to learn how to create effective rich user interfaces with Flash.
You're probably wondering, what's so evil about Flash? Well besides making it easy for web designers to make very annoying designs with buttons that make noise every time you pass the mouse over them and cramming too much crap together on the same page, in a word: search results. Well technically that's two, however the point is that if a Flash web site is not done to meet the highest standards of search engine optimization, the web site is invisible to a search engine. You think I'm just ranting? Then let's hit the search engines and see how the Coors Light Puerto Rico web site does....
Searching for "coors light PR" - Ok since the search string matches exactly their domain, it's pretty hard not to be #1.
"coors light Puerto Rico" - Well isn't that interesting! They aren't #1 any more they are 8th, they barely made the first page of results.
"coors light PR style" - What we now see, when trying to search for content that appears within the Coors Light PR web site, is that anything contained within the Flash movie is invisible to Google. This is typical of a Flash movie where the "content" is contained within the movie (a binary proprietary file format), and is not integrated with the Flash at the point of viewing (which would be a combination of the binary format along with text). In general, if content links are not available to Google in the form of text, it cannot see those links. And remember, no links = no indexing = invisibility in Google. Here are a few other search terms I tried, but all with the same result: "coors light PR imagenes" and "coors light PR video podcasts".
Viralability versus ownership
Speaking of video podcasts, the search for "coors light PR video podcasts" is really a huge lost opportunity, because they believe that the videos will really connect with the company's target market. And they are right, they will connect with the young drunken demographic in Puerto Rico, but by being hidden within their website, with no inbound links how will anybody find them?
One of the keynote speakers of the 6th annual convention of the Sales and Marketing Executive Association, Andy Sernovitz, author of the book "Word of Mouth Marketing, How Smart Companies Get People Talking" recommends "Making it easy for consumers to spread the message faster and farther". So with that goal in mind, here's the million dollar question: "What has Coors Light done to spread the message"?
"Build it and they will come....", no I'm not quoting from "Field of Dreams", I'm quoting the mantra that has always been the honey that attracts marketers to the web. In essence, marketers believe that if they build a good web site the traffic will come. While this might have been true back in 1998, it has stopped being true since search engines emerged as the most popular way to find web sites. And it now has been completely erased from the face of the web with the popularity of sites like YouTube and Flickr combined with blogging.
Marketers stuck with the "Field of Dreams" marketing approach also believe that you must tightly control your content, less it become copied and shared around the web. And rightfully so, because they spend a lot of money (the marketers) developing that content, so they don't want to lose it. So they put that content in a Flash movie where it can't be copied, can't be linked to, and can't be shared. So what they end up with is spending a lot of money on content and then putting it within a castle tower with no way to access or learn about the availability of the content. Hmm, isn't that kind of the opposite of what they had in mind when they built their web site and developed the content?
Oh and by the way, it's only a podcast if you can actually subscribe to the "channel" that produces the content. According to Wikipedia podcast is: "a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers." If I can't subscribe to a feed, then it's not a podcast it's merely streaming media. I think that Coors Light calling their videos "video podcasts" is the lowest of lows in marketing. Trying to capture the buzz of a buzz-word, without actually understanding what the term means, degrades the message marketers will try to broadcast, especially to those consumers that do understand what the term means.
Suggestions for Coors Light
The first one should be obvious, get rid of Flash or get it right so that your content gets indexed. You're spending good money and probably aren't reaching as much of your target market as you desire. Second, become interested in search engine optimization and search engine marketing. They are both extremely cost effective ways to spread your message.
Finally, you have some great content. I really enjoyed seeing some footage of the recent Daddy Yankee concert. The video montage is well done and gives a good feel for what the concert was like. While some 40,000 people were lucky enough to attend the concerts, that leaves hundreds of thousands of people who might want to see what they missed. Keeping the video locked up within the coorslightpr.com domain is a waste. So first, create a YouTube channel and publish the Daddy Yankee video and all of your other videos. Let your content go! If you want to spread your message further, setup a RSS feed so that subscribers can download the videos to their iPods or Computers. To facilitate that you might even want to establish the feed on the iTunes Music Store.
The same goes for all of the photographs you have in your gallery. Setup a Flickr account and start sharing the photographs. If you're clever you'll make sure that every picture includes the Coors Light logo in the image so that when people start plugging the images into slide shows and MySpace pages, you've multiplied the exposure of your message and brand for merely the cost of a Flickr account.
Oh, and remember, say it with me "Just say no to Flash!"
miércoles, 12 de septiembre de 2007
The Puerto Rico Diabetes Association has a busy weekend planned. On Friday they will kick-off their Expo Diabetes with a pre-expo golf tournament. The tournament will be held in the Coamo Springs Golf Club and Resort. This Friday, registration starts at 7:30 for a golf tournament to benefit the association. Shotgun tee-times start at 8:30 am. The format is a two-person scramble with categories for:
- Net Score
- Closest to the Pin
- Longest Drive
- Straightest Drive.
The is also a special prize awaiting anyone scoring a hole in one. A 1968 classic antique Pontiac Firebird, a rare collector's item for sure.
Registration for the tournament includes attendance to clinics on blood sugar, nutrition, and weight control. All very popular with golfers, I'm sure. In addition there will also be breakfast, a "goody bag" a Polo shirt, "awards" Lunch, as well as a raffle and cocktails.
For more information contact the Association at (787) 729-2210.
Then, on Saturday and Sunday, the 15th and 16th, the Association will host Expo Diabetes in the Coliseo Pedrín Zorilla de San Juan. The exposition will be open from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. Entrance to the exhibition is free and will feature health clinics, an exhibition hall, and workshops for Beauty, Exercising, Nutrition, and demonstrations on how to cook healthily.
The exposition is dedicated to the "Fight for a Puerto Rico without Diabetes." The focus of the expo is on education, orientation, and prevention.
Flickr Creative Commons Contributor Today: R'eyes
martes, 11 de septiembre de 2007
José Hernández Falcón
EL CONOCER acerca de otros países y culturas es enriquecedor para la mente y el alma. En este mundo de la globalización, existen varias alternativas para conocer infinidad de destinos. Tenemos la televisión, quien cuenta con sus propios canales especializados en viaje como Travel Channel de Discovery Network, las reconocidísimas guías de viaje como Lonely Planet, revistas como Travel de National Geographic y suplementos dentro de la prensa escrita como De Viaje de El Nuevo Día y Viajero de El Vocero.
Aquellos interesados en el tema, sabrán, si buscan referencias en la Internet, que la misma sobresale sobre los demás medios en cuanto a material informativo se refiere. Existen muchos países con sitios "oficiales", auspiciados o desarrollados por sus gobiernos. Agencias de viaje, portales de ciudades específicas y otros, abren la puerta al mundo para que otros conozcan a cerca de ellos.
El mundo de los blogs no se queda atrás, ofreciendo perspectivas únicas a los interesados en conocer destinos y culturas más allá de nuestras fronteras. El blog ofrece, posiblemente, un punto de vista que quizás no sea tan frecuente en TV, revistas y suplementos, el del turista que actualiza desde el destino, que comparte la experiencia simple y la digitaliza para compartir con sus lectores en su bitácora.
Si nos interesa el tema, podemos navegar hasta un buen punto de partida, como Travelpod (http://www.travelpod.com), el cual se promociona como el primer blog sobre viajes. Es en realidad, un servicio de bitácoras para los amantes del tema. Si somos viajeros frecuentes y no tan frecuentes, podemos crear nuestro blog y compartir nuestras experiencias, fotos y videos. No había tenido la oportunidad de examinar este sitio y en verdad, quedé complacido por lo "user friendly" que es. Un rápido navegar por un mapa virtual me hizo ver los blogueros que han escrito sobre Puerto Rico. Puede observar escritos, fotos y videos de turistas que nos han visitado y quedaron maravillados con Borinquen.
Travelblog (http://www.travelblog.org) se describe como una colección de bitácoras y fotos de viajeros alrededor del Mundo. El sitio está diseñado para viajeros y cuenta con herramientas para que los viajeros puedan actualizar sus blogs y publicar fotos mientras estén de viaje. El diseño de este portal es excelente y la sección de galería está tremenda.
Siguiendo por la misma línea, RealTravel (http://realtravel.com) ofrece similar servicio más consejos para el viajero. La revista online de Forbes (http://www.forbes.com) seleccionó esta página como uno de los 12 sites esenciales sobre viaje.
Flickr Creative Commons Contributor Today: cvander
I've gotten into my fair share of trouble for saying that a major problem we have with business and with society is that there are generally accepted truths which people pretend to ignore. We pretend to ignore them by not accepting that most everybody thinks and agrees with these truths, but nobody talks about them or acknowledges them.
While some might say that they are not being ignored, they are just being worked around because the issue lying at the heart of these "truths" are beyond our control. Well I say poppycock. Counselors and therapists always point to acceptance as the first real progress in healing someone suffering from addiction or grief. At this point I bet you're wondering what the "H-E- double hockey sticks" I'm talking about. So I'll give you an example.
Recently the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled "Puerto Rico's Economic Slump
Weighs Hard on Consumers". The take aways from the article:
- Left Behind: While inflation in most of the U.S. has remained subdued, prices in Puerto Rico are rising faster, putting pressure on consumers.
- Dangerous Mix: Puerto Rico's economy is hobbled by a troubled manufacturing sector, national debt, costly imports because of geography and a heavy reliance on oil.
- More Pain Ahead: The government has trimmed costs but also raised taxes, further increasing prices and cutting consumer spending.
- Puerto Rico's gross national product is forecast for a 1.4% decline in the fiscal year ended in June. The overall U.S. economy grew 2.9% last year, as measured by changes in gross domestic product, and expanded at an annual rate of 3.4% in the second quarter.
- in Puerto Rico, the consumer-price index, which includes food and fuel prices, was up 15% in 2006, according to the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources. Where as overall inflation in most of the U.S. has remained subdued. In June, the consumer-price index was up 2.7% from a year ago.
So yesterday, the Journal printed a rebuttal from Ani, our Governor. Since most people will never see this letter, I'll share it here with you:
Puerto Rico's Recent Dynamic TurnaroundThis is just plain and simple political spin. Most of this is based on half truths and very ineffectively demonstrates that there is, in-fact, a dynamic turn around. Ani's basic point is that there has been progress, uhh Ok, even the author identified that there had been progress. Again, I think most people would agree that there have been progress, but that doesn't make the basic points of the story any less true.
Your Aug. 14 article "Puerto Rico's Economic Slump Weighs Hard on Consumers" paints a one-dimensional portrait of the Commonwealth's economy, overlooking not only global dynamics such as soaring oil prices and the migration of low-end manufacturing jobs from the U.S. to cheaper locations, but also Puerto Rico's notable recent economic progress.
Already, we have seen dramatic budget deficit reductions as we restored the government's fiscal health and eliminated bureaucracy.
Meanwhile, we've attracted billions of dollars in new corporate investment. Long a pharmaceutical manufacturing powerhouse, Puerto Rico is now becoming a center for biotechnology manufacturing and research and development. Amgen, Eli Lilly, Abbott and others have invested more than $4 billion in Puerto Rico in the last four years, creating new jobs and acting as partners for infrastructure development.
Beyond life sciences, Puerto Rico has moved quickly into sectors like aerospace, attracting investment from Honeywell Aerospace, Lockheed Martin and Hamilton Sundstrand. Three years ago, Pratt & Whitney opened an 18-employee software-development facility here; the company now employs more than 500 people. The University of Puerto Rico's top-flight engineers and the Commonwealth's significant tax advantages -- which, contrary to your report, did not "erode" but changed as companies here converted to controlled foreign corporations -- have been a major draw.
Governor Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Why I think is worth writing about...
I accuse all people, politicians especially, of lying when they don't acknowledge facts written or said about them or their situation when there exists evidence that proves what was said or written is true or can be easily confirmed. And, for me, that significantly jeopardizes a person's integrity.
Furthermore, just because you don't acknowledge something doesn't make it false or not exist. People are not stupid and there is this little communication medium called the Internet that provides access to a cornucopia of information (thus eliminating the possibility for spin). But usually there is something even better available, personal experience (or perception). Perception is reality. So not acknowledging also threatens a person's credibility.
Unfortunately, in our society, admitting that there are problems is a sign of weakness. However, as any therapist or counselor would testify, it is actually a sign of strength and the foundation to actually addressing or dealing with a problem. Yes when faced with choosing between a fear of perceived weakness and being not credible (incredible) and lacking integrity, most people choose the latter. Don't our politicians understand that we would prefer them to be credible with their integrity in tact, but weak, instead of the opposite.
There is a word for this malady, denial. And denial is the first stage of grief.
While these stages are associated with grief associated with a loss, I'd submit that we here in Puerto Rico are suffering from a loss of the dream, the loss of a golden future where everyone prospers, the loss of our history and our origins, and the loss of a heritage of strong guiding ideals. While we individually might be in different stages of grief, we collectively are stuck in denial. And the most profound manifestation of our collective nature is our elected and appointed officials. As long as they remain stuck in denial, then no matter whether if we individually achieve acceptance and are ready to seek solutions, our politicians and their collective group think will keep us stuck in a state of grief. Which I guess really sums up everything, doesn't it?
- Denial and Isolation - At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.
- Anger - The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.
- Bargaining - Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"
- Depression - The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.
- Acceptance - This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.
Flickr Creative Commons Contributor Today: ob1left
domingo, 9 de septiembre de 2007
When it comes to bad publicity, Puerto Rico often suffers many self induced black eyes. Sometimes it just seems that we just can't control ourselves in our attempt to soil our reputation. However, recently Whoopi Goldberg attempted to sully our reputation in comparing the actions of suspended NFL quarterback Michael Vick with cockfighting in Puerto Rico. How dare she! Doesn't she know that Puerto Ricans are the only ones who can embarrass us in front of the world?
Thanks to Literanista for bringing this to our attention, because like most stupid celebrity shit, I hadn't really bothered to look at the details of this latest smear of Puerto Rico.
Take a look for yourself:
So, let's look deeper into this latest incident of Puerto Rico bashing to see what we can find. First, of course it is absolutely beside the point that it is incredibly cruel to the gamecocks who are breed and killed in the cockpit. And it is entirely pointless to mention that the Humane Society of the Unites States lists these social ills resulting from cockfighting:
Because, second, in the end what Michael Vick is accused of and admits he is guilty of, is illegal in the state where he resides. It even carries a felony charge. In fact it is even illegal to attend a dog fight, let alone breed dogs, organize fights, and sponsor gambling on dog fights. While in Puerto Rico, cockfighting remains a legal activity since 1933 and it is likely to remain so if Puerto Rico politician's have their say. The Puerto Rico legislature recently approved a bill establishing it as a "cultural right" of islanders.
Cockfighting not only spawns unconscionable animal abuse, but it is also a magnet for other social ills including narcotics sales, illegal firearms possession, illegal gambling, public corruption and human violence. In fact, a quick glance at the police blotters on the pages of local newspapers in Puerto Rico shows several violent incidents—including at least one homicide—connected to cockfighting events in 2007 alone.
Sadly, many who attend cockfights make the events a family affair—bringing young children along and exposing them to inordinate animal cruelty. This exposure can dull the sensitivity of children to animal suffering and normalize violence. And studies have shown that children who grow up in a climate of violence are more likely to perpetuate such behavior against others—both animals and people.
"There are many people who enjoy this sport and we are not going to allow any group of people to come here and prevent that right," said Carlos Molina, a pro-statehood lawmaker who introduced the bill. "The sport does no damage to anyone."So there you have it. Just as 18th and 19th century landlords believed that slavery was their cultural right, the "sport" of cockfighting does no damage to anyone...although it does quite a bit of damage to the chickens...but no humans are harmed in the practice of the sport. Well unless someone gets their arm ripped open by a postizas — an ice pick-shaped artificial spur made of hard plastic or metal that are placed on the feet of the gamecocks to puncture and mutilate the opposing bird.
A lost opportunity?
This has got me thinking... Since their is such a lust for these bloodsports (dog and cock fighting), maybe Puerto Rico is losing out on a big niche market. Maybe we could even create a special custom map identifying the location of all 108 Club Gallistica around the island. I can imagine now someone creating a vacation package for bloodsport enthusiasts that includes:
- Round trip airfare to San Juan
- Six nights in the best hotels in Isla Verde
- Transportation to and from 5 different Club Gallisticos around San Juan
- A $50 bet match coupon good towards your first legal betting experience
- An 8x10 color photograph with your favorite champion (rooster).
Andrew Robertson, a 19-year-old Canadian vacationer who attended the Saturday cockfights at Club Gallistico with college friends, said he found the pastime intriguing.
"It's kind of like watching two boxers in the ring," said the Montreal resident. "Of course, the boxers don't die at the end of the fight, but you can still see some similarities."
sábado, 8 de septiembre de 2007
Later this month, on September 29th, Walgreens Pharmacy and the Municipality of Caguas will host the 18th edition of the FotoMaratón. This annual event offers an opportunity for photography enthusiasts to practice and compete in a local photography contest. The contest migrates from municipality to municipality every year, and now its Caguas' turn. This year, the competition is open to photographers with digital cameras, as well as traditional 35mm cameras. Categories for the competition include: Children (up to 14 years old), Teenagers (15 - 18), College Students, Adults, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts.
Registration for the FotoMaratón is currently open at Walgreens all over Puerto Rico. The registration carries a $15 fee (plus IVU) and the forms are available in the pharmacy at the photography counter. The registration fee covers for traditional 35mm camera owners 1 roll of Studio 35 Walgreens Asa 200 with 24 exposures and the development and printing of the roll of film. Participants with a digital camera will receive the printing of 24 digital images from a CD. Upon registration, each participant will receive the rules and instructions for the contest. Some of the instructions are available on the Caguas Municipality web portal.
The event will kick-off at 9:00 am at the Caguas Sports Complex. On the morning of the event, upon arriving at the Sports Complex, you will have present your Registration Form to the registry table and the contest organizers will provide a guide of Caguas. The guide describes places of interest around the municipality.
For 35mm analog contestants, they will have until 9:00 pm on the 29th to deliver their roll of film to any of the four Caguas Walgreens locations. The roll will be developed and then you'll have from October 15th to 19th to collect the developed roll and select the photographs to enter into the contest.
For digital camera contestants, they will have until October 19th to select 24 images and place them on a CD. They must then deliver the CD to a Walgreens store and have the 24 images printed. Then as above, deliver the images before the deadline of the competition.
Note: there is no limit to the number of images submitted to the contest. Extra rolls of film can be purchased and developed at the cost of the participant. For digital camera contestants, at their own expense they can produce more than one CD and print the images and then submit as many images as desired.
Flickr Creative Commons Contributor Today: notme2000
jueves, 6 de septiembre de 2007
Tomorrow night, Sept 7th, at 7:00 p.m. Wilo Benet will make an in-store appearance at Borders in Plaza Escorial. Wilo Benet is the renowned local chef of Pikayo restaurant, and partner in the new restaurant Payá. More on those in a second....Benet is promoting his new cookbook Puerto Rico True Flavors
True Flavors is the accumulation of Wilo Benet's mastery of Puerto Rican cooking, his expertise in preparation, creativity, and finely-honed skills. Merging the tastes he grew up with, from his mother's "from-scratch" cooking, his grandmother's well-loved recipes, lunchtimes at public school, street vendors' fritters and roasted chickens, and all the other everyday-food influences of Puerto Rico, together with his exceptional culinary talents, he brings those historic true flavors of the Island into the 21st century.
In the book you'll learn how to make authentic Basics (adobo, escabache, mojito); Fritters (alcapurrias/stuffed yautía, bacalaítos/salt cod fritters); Soups such as sancocho/root vegetable & beef; Meats like carne mechada/stuffed pot roast; Fish (camarones al ajillo/shrimp in garlic sauce); Plantains (amarillos/sweet plantains, arañitas /plantain spiders); and Desserts (flan/custard pudding, dulce de lechosa/candied papaya), to name just a few of each. An example of one of the fritters recipes taken from his website is for:
Bacalaítos (Salt Cod Fritters)As is evidenced by his run of Golden Fork awards given during the annual El Nueva Dia "Certamen de Buen Comer", Benet's original restaurant Pikayo is a classic. A long time favorite of Ms. Dees and I, Pikayo has to be one of the best places for fine dining in Puerto Rico. His newest endeavor, Payá, features a good ol'e home town menu of criollo favorites in a more casual atmosphere.
Makes 1 dozen
- 12 ounces salt cod fillet, soaked overnight and drained
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon adobo
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Because these fritters are extremely oily, I recommend standing them in a colander or placing them over a cooling rack to drain before serving. Serve immediately.
- Clean the salt cod: Remove any small bones and any tough skin from the salt cod, and coarsely shred the fillet into a bowl.
- Add the flour, baking powder, adobo and cilantro to the bowl, and pour in 3 cups of water. Mix well until a chunky, unified batter that resembles pancake batter forms.
- In a large frying pan, heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil to 350º F. Using a 2-ounce ladle and with a forward motion, pour the batter, in batches, into the hot oil, to form an elongated, flat fritter. Fry for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally with tongs, until crisp and golden brown. If the fritters happen to stick to the bottom of the pan while frying, use a thin spatula to detach them. Oil bubbling through the fritter during frying is a good indication of a perfectly fried bacalaíto.
- Remove the bacalaítos from the oil, and set aside to drain on paper towels.
Probably the epitome of Puerto Rico's fritter, bacalaítos are still cooked in their original rustic form along the island's coast.
Benet will also be appearing next Friday, Sept 14th, at the Borders in Mayaguez Mall. For more information please call (787) 751-1124.
miércoles, 5 de septiembre de 2007
There is a new report being picked up by many newspapers and appearing in blogs around the United States that the Caribbean is suffering from a decline in tourism. According to the report, U.S. tourists are tired of the turquoise waters and white-sand beaches of the Caribbean. All I have to say is Hallelujah! As a resident of Puerto Rico, I have to admit that I'm tired of sharing our warm weather and beautiful beaches with tourists. I mean really, it's about time we got to enjoy them all to ourselves. I'd say it makes perfect sense that everyone living in Boston, New York, Michigan, and other notoriously wicked winter locales would prefer staying home in February than coming to lay on the beach and have the warm waters of the Caribbean lap at your toes. I say, more power to you, someone has to endure those freezing mornings and shovel all that snow. I'm glad they prefer those activities instead of hiking through El Yunque, it only means less tourists on the trails.
I guess the thinking goes that once you've swam in the bath water warm waves in San Juan and dipped into the cool mountain streams of El Yunque after a hot afternoon of hiking in January, there is nothing else to do. I guess for us locals it's our gain that they haven't heard about the world class surfing on the east coast, the twenty-some golf courses, the horseback riding on the beaches, or the 14th century architecture and history spread out all over the island. Man if U.S. tourists learned about all of the different experiences available in Puerto Rico, they'd want to come back and then we'd have to share it with them.
While I am a resident I wasn't always. I grew up in Indiana, where the winters are bleak and sometimes the cold never breaks for weeks or months at a time. I remember one Christmas Eve going out to visit friends and the temperature was 70 degrees below 0, with the wind chill factor included, of course. Still, the wind was so strong and the cold so sharp that when you stepped outside it literally took your breath away. I can only imagine someone suggesting to me at that time...."Hey let's beat these winter blues and head down to the Caribbean!" I'm sure my response would have been, as I was gasping for air under three layers of clothes: "No way man, we were just down there last year and I'm getting used to this numb feeling in my hands and toes!"
So to all those people who prefer scraping ice off of your window everyday before and after work, I say, "Thank you!" Thanks for enduring the brutal task of shoveling two feet of snow off your driveway so you can go and buy some milk. Somebody has to live in these inhospitable places during the winter, I mean it's not like you can just pick-up and fly somewhere with 80+ degree weather all year round and thaw out for a while. I guess that's what happens after too much cold, you just stop remembering how glorious it feels to run around in a swimsuit drinking a beer on the beach. For that, I'm thankful, it just means less crowded beaches and more beer to go around. Poor, poor pitiful me!
Flickr Creative Commons Contributors Today: shelms & eMuse Tess Heder
martes, 4 de septiembre de 2007
Oh yes, you knew this day was coming. After repeatedly seeing them riding around in their shiny shorts and multi-colored shirts, and maybe a little bit of attitude too, the street cyclists around the island finally have their own international event.
Starting this Friday, September 7th, and running through Sunday, September 9th, Guaynabo, the newly crowned "Capital del Ciclismo en Puerto Rico" will host the first ever Circuito Internacional de Ciclismo" on Carretera 834.
The event will take place in three stages. The first stage on Friday will be 9 kilometers, the second stage will be a basically flat circuit of only 5 kilometers (with the elite riders completing 19 laps for a total of 94.24 kilometers), and the event will conclude with a 8 kilometer circuit (with the elites completing 13 laps for a total of 102.44 kilometers). Prizes will be awarded for the event and there will also be general prizes for those that compete in each of the daily events. On Sunday there will be competition for the categories that don't participate in the three day event, for the public in general, and for children.
The routes for the three days are available, courtesy of the Asociación de Ciclismo de Puerto Rico. We here at DóndeEs.com would like to commend the association for their use of GPS technology to help their community visualize the race circuit, maybe next year we can host the maps for them....hint, hint....;-)
Despite having participation from teams from the United States, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, the event will also feature entertainment as well. Some of the artists planned for the event include:
- DJ Emir Cedeño
- Andicito Montañez y su Orquesta
- Raphy Levitt y La Selecta
- and the obligatory Festival de Trovadores.
domingo, 2 de septiembre de 2007
On Thursday and Friday, September 6th and 7th, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR) will be exhibiting an alternative film festival. During the festival they will be showing short and long format films and documentaries made in Burkina Faso, South Africa, Senegal, Maruecos, Algeria and Egypt. The films will be shown in the Raul Julia Theater of the MAPR. Entrance to the films is free, however a $5 donation is requested.
Sur a Sur is an organization with their home in Cape Town, South Africa that works in the areas of handling of conflicts, mediation, and social and economic development.
Below is a list of shows and times for the festival. For a complete description of the films you can visit the Sur a Sur blog.
Thursday, September 6th
First session: 6:00PM
- Ousmane (Short film) - Dir. Dyana Gaye, Senegal/Francia, 2006 (English subtitles)
- Daughter of Keltoum (Long format) - Dir. Mehdi Charef, Algeria, 2001, (English subtitles)
- My Lost Home (Short film) - Dir. Kamal El-Mahouti, Marruecos/Francia, 2001 (English subtitles)
- Forgiveness (Long format) - Dir. Ian Gabriel, África del Sur, 2004 (English subtitles). You can see trailers of this short film at Giant Films.
First Session: 6:00PM
- Toi, Waguih (Short film) - Dir. Namir Abdel Messeeh, Egipto/Francia, 2005 (English subtitles)
- Don't F*** With Me I Have 51 Brothers and Sisters (Long format) - Dir. Dumisani Phakathi, Africa del Sur, 2004 (English subtitles)
- Whole: A Trinity Of Being (Short film) - Dir. Shelley Barry, África del Sur, 2004 (In English)
- The Night Of Truth (Long format) - Dir. Fanta Régina Nacro, Burkina Faso, 2004 (English subtitles)