The Melvins review – Everybody Loves Sausages

Their first release since the avant garde “Freak Puke”, this record is a return to the heavy drumming and electric bass that anchors so much of their older catalog.  The production is slicker for them though, and it sounds like there are just a ton of guitars on here, tho Buzzo can make a hell of a noise on his own too. 

The opening track Warhead starts with a heartbeat of a drum line, slow and trudging along, it leads into the growl and slam of the chorus. . “WARRRRHEAAAAAD” That has to be Scott Kelly on the chorus vocals, what a growl! It’s about what you would expect the record, or a good dark Melvins show to start with.  Eagerly, I waited for the second song to start as the last sounds trickled out of Warhead.  

At first I thought I had somehow hit the random button on my media player, but no, it was the Melvins, covering Queen’s “Best Friend” THis was an unexpected hard left turn, the keyboard lightly playing on the keys, and the vocal way up there, sounding like a decent rendition of Freddy Mercury. It was a decent cover, and it was super weird, but hey, thsi is a Melvins record. This song featured Caleb Benjamin of Tweak Bird, i’m guessing on vocals, as they were in a higher range than most Melvins tunes. 

Realizing this was a cover album, I instantly looked at it from a different angle. Not that I was less interested in the actual music, but just the realization that there is nothing new going on here makes me see this as more just an exploration.  What do the Melvins listen to? Well, check this record out and get an idea. 

Then Ram Jam’s Black Betty came on, and I checked the playlist, how many covers would there be? Black betty was ok, not as heavy as I like from these guys, kind of light hearted and whimsical. If I went to a show, and they started with these three, I honestly think I would be disappointed. Some of my favorite songs from the Melvins are covers. In fact, on Freak Puke, Let Me Roll It was my favorite tune. This tune wasn’t doing it for me. SKIP. 

Set it on Fire by The Scientists features Mark Arm of Mudhoney, and gets really loud and raucous. Tinges of Nick Cave’s Grinderman in the sound, and the bass really anchors this tune with a mellow groovy looping hook that slithers nicely into the chorus. I’m not familiar with The Scientists, but after this, I will be exploring that as well. Good tune. Mid tempo, and heavy. 

Station to Station is a David Bowie cover, and I really love the way Buzzo brings the BIG fuzz sound into this, really brings the guitar lick to the forefront, while in the Bowie version it’s way subtle and in the background. A great example of a tune that these guys love, and have made their own, injecting a little life and fun into this classic. 

ATTITUDE came on next, full of fire and well, attitude. I realized this was a cover, and again checked the track listing. This is a Kinks tune, and I knew I had heard it before. I have an older buddy who used to jam with them back in the UK, and I forwarded him a link to the tune, I thought he would get a kick out of it. This is a later Kinks tune, and I had forgotten how huge these guys were, and it was good to think about that again. Thanks Melvins. THis tune is a real rocker, with a lot of punk attitude in it. There is a rad drum solo in the bridge, and it comes back after a nice breakdown into a full on riff fest. Total guitar boner. 

Female Trouble came on next, starting off low and slow with a bluesy bass lick, getting the head bobbing, and laying down a nice foundation for the gruff, angry vocals.  Sounds like a stand up bass on this one, ala Freak Puke. Really smooths out the sound without taking away any heaviness. Drums are lighter on this one also, the snare sounds less bright, and the drums cut through less in general. This song next to Best Friend sound like two completely different bands. This tune was originally released by Divine

Carpe Diem was next, originally by The Fugs, and this tune comes with a nice lesson about how you can;t outthink or outdrink the Angel of Death. Noted! You better make you love today. Noted! I love the way it juxtaposes airy choral sounding vocals with heavy angry, even scary yells in between. Underneath the whole tune is a light little beat carrying it along. 

There was a whole bunch of silence at the end of the track, which had me bringing the volume up until four drumstick clicks let me know that the next tune Timothy Leary Lives was up, and soon it was blaring. Fast, aggressive without being terribly aggro, this was a good little upbeat punk rock jaunt. A good track to skate to, or to get you up n the morning. Or in the evening. 

In Every Dream Home a Heartache starts out with bass and a wurly sounding keyboard, meandering without drums, then Jello Biafra comes in, talking about weird ass dystopian society that sounds a lot like right now. Really weird, really good, grindy, dark and slow. Jello seems to be having a lot of fun, and using a lot of his chops on this one without being way melodious. Strange and engaging. 

Romance sounds a lot like the stuff on Freak Puke, maybe its the lower frequency guitar tone, and is that a standup bass again? Or a fretless? very good, very groovy and again midtempo. The audio quality sounds like tape, but in a warm fuzzy fat tone kind of way. Really dug it, especially the way the gain distorts a bit on the vocals in the chorus. This to me, seems to have a lot of work done to i, without being pushed to sound overproduced. Just a lot of sound going on. A lot of BIG sounds. What else would you ever expect from these guys? This is a cover of a Tales of Terror song, and I’ll be checking that one out later as well. Dug the structure. 

Art School kicks off with a crazy oi oi oi chorus and screams that really let you know where this song is going. The vocal was way too big for the band, so I checked who it was, and it was Tom Hazelmyer, who is the founder of Amphetamine Reptile records. Dude has a bigass voice, and this tune reminds me of backyard skate punk shows back in the day. There are macho threats of violence and all kinds of brutality against art school students, which I thought was kind of weird and ironic, since now, punks seem to come out of art schools more than working class neighborhoods, but I digress! Maybe that was their point? Who knows, who cares, it’s a good fucking song. I love the part at the end, where the vocalist, wondering about probably the same thing I am, asks “A bit too rough trade, maybe?” Excellent. 

Heathen Earth kicks off with some freaky electro effects, sounds like maybe from a guitar or synth. Then a little bass comes in, different effects play on different guitar sounds, bass sounds, and this goes on for about four minutes. Not really my cup of tea, I like a melody, and this sounded, to me, like what happens when you give me a bass, a guitar, and a bunch of effects. Fun, but I don’t know if I’d put it on a record, let alone cover somebody else’s version of it. I guess that’s my own problem with cover albums. I wonder too much about the motivation behind tunes that are chosen. Who am I to question their tastes anyway? This is their record. 

Overall, It’s an enjoyable listen, and it sent me off to discover some more bands. Any opening of anybody’s ears is always welcome, particularly my own. I really dug the Bowie cover. I think after listening to the whole thing straight through, that’s probably my favorite. 

Puerto Rico Day 3 – The Cathedrals and some more beverages.

Day 3

San Juan was cool, but after two days of 85 degrees and 85% humidity, and last night here in this tiny box of a room, I could use a change of pace. My drunken travelling partner was kicking on the bed, and a little headache building.

We kept our word and woke up early, made our way up to the big cathedral on top of the hill. A big old hill, with a pretty brutal hangover, and the weather is just getting hotter and more humid out here. We saw the Castillo de San Cristobal, and that was really cool. Walking around up top provided a nice view, but most of this particular fort was closed. It looked a lot like El Morro anyway, so we kept walking, heading for the big steeple that poked up over houses and buildings every now and then.

The cathedrals were REALLY nice. The first one we saw was the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, aka John the Baptist. This place was really cool, especially because it had the tomb of one of my favorite historical characters, a conquistador by the name of Ponce De Leon. Anybody foolish enough to lead whole columns of troops to their death in pursuit of the fountain of the youth is okay in my book.  To me it was a great example of how prideful they must have been to actually go out in pursuit of a crazy legend like the fountain of youth. A big part of me wants to scream “what an idiot!”, but I mean, they didn’t know any better.

There was plenty to look at in the old cathedral, from the giant pipe organ, to the creepy Jesus in a box .  The whole place was beautiful, but I was sweating my ass off in there, and I just didn’t feel all that great. At one point, I was taking pictures inside, and as I backed up I bumped into a nun. The nuns down there don’t wear the penguin looking outfits we’re used to up here. they wear these dark green and navy blue frocks that look as comfortable as burlap sacks in the balmy heat. I bumped into her going slowly, but she was so small, I felt horribly. She appeared to be okay, but I was apologizing profusely and just wanted to get out of there. Was covered in sweat and even though the cathedral was huge, I felt stifled and needed air.

I kind of chalk that up to my super shitty breakfast. We made the mistake in the early morning of trying to get some kind of egg and bacon in the heart of touristy Old San Juan. It was a really terrible breakfast. The coffee was nasty, the orange juice was actually Tang, but still $3, and instead of hasbrowns, it came with french fries. French fries for breakfast.

We also walked up to the old cathedral, the San Jose Cathedral, which I found out was actually Ponce De Leon’s original resting place. He was moved in the 1800s to the newer cathedral above. This cathedral was closed, but it was also the oldest significant example of construction on the whole island according to everybody around it. Everybody out here seems to be a tour guide, and knows EVERYthing about their city and surroundings. Pretty awesome aspect of the people out here.

So anyway, the old cathedral was closed, but your trusty author managed to sneak a few pics through an open window, and Here’s one, I wonder how old these guys are.  Here’s another shot of the old brickwork, looking REALLY old.

I felt a little better after this, it was cooler on top of the hill with the old cathedral and it’s plaza. There was a little bar on the corner with two stools facing the outside, and we stopped in for a variety of different Pina Coladas. The bartender was really friendly, and snapped this pic of us drinking. We had a few rounds, and talked to a couple of interesting couples at this bar. One was from Ponce, a city on the south side of the island, and the other was british, I believe. The bar had a lot of east coast beers, which really made me happy, and once again, drunk.

In the afternoon , I managed to head back to our little dive bar and struck up that booze deal I was so looking forward to. Only been here about 72 hours, already hung over and carrying contraband around with me everywhere.

So the deal was to meet him at noon the next day to make the buy, inside the bar, which blew my mind. Usually, well, out in LA, even a bottle of water from the outside, will get tossed in the trash, or get you kicked out of the bar. Here, a bartender had actually made arrangements for me to buy moonshine off a guy, while I was drinking in his bar.

What hospitality! I felt like the ATF was gonna swoop down on us at any moment, but no, he just handed me a shopping bag, like a plastic grocery bag, with a bottle wrapped up inside. He put the thing on the freaking bar! It was super casual, the bartender was hip, and I put it in my backpack after quickly and quietly paying $20 USD. We had a couple more shots, and walked out.

We did see some cool buildings, and some interesting ruins. By ruins, I mean these buildings where the facade was standing, but you could see that the interior had collapsed. Some were reinforced with steel, some were obviously still crumbling. 

It looked like they were get eaten by plants, it was kind of creepy looking, and really cool. 

In the afternoon at Raices again, and while it was delicious, it kind of dawned on me how we had eaten pretty much ONLY fried foods since we had arrived. I also noted that we didn’t see any veggies anywhere, and you couldn’t get any kind of salad that is worth a damn on this island. I feel really California saying that,  but that’s ok. I’d kill for a fruit bag from one of those side of the road cart vendors at the moment.

On the way back to the room, we made a long detour to our new favorite local bars (as opposed to the extreme divey liquor dealing one) La Bahia Tropical. There we re-met up with David, and he was excited to see us. He kept buying us drinks and got us extremely wasted. While we were drinking, there was a protest going on at the capitol building, which happened to be right behind us.

There we were, drinking Medalla beers in the sun, when a group of Labor Union guys came up and put down their picket signs, and picked up beers. It was really weird how casually it went from a big demonstration to what I actually thought was a union organized party. It was just a bunch of them buying each other beers! Weird. We drank with them until we couldn’t see straight, and David was rambling about some party he insisted we come to. He said his DJ buddy, DJ BARRON was gonna be spinning, there would be lots of NENAS which is the female version of a a Coño. We would be treated to an excellent time, but It would mean another day in San Juan, but he had gotten us really drunk, and he was super nice and accommodating  so we said what the hell, lets stay another day. So he helped us find a room right there on the spot, and sent us on our way.

What we ended up scoring were two separate rooms in a really nice looking place called “Plaza De Armas” hotel.  This place is really nice. The rooms were nice and clean, and completely separate. I have a big bed, and set up all my electronics and stuff to charge up and get ready for the tomorrow, which at this point is still completely unplanned. I want to go to Vieques Island, but it sounds like another tourist trap, I really don’t want to get stuck in that type of town.

Time for bed for tonight, and we shall see how it all goes down tomorrow. Feeling a bit drunk and this room is freezing with the AC. This town has two temperature settings. Tropical heat, and arctic blast.

My brother’s camera.

My little brother sent me a couple of pics taken at my mom’s house. The first is me, showing the kids (My niece and nephew) the pics from the Puerto Rico trip. Love that pic, love showing things to them, because of their wonder and amazement at everything. 

http://i.imgur.com/s2tNftd.jpg

The next couple of pics is a nest on my mom’s porch that has been there for about ten years now. They’re little house sparrows, and they’ve come back every year for at least the last 10 years. On the other side of the porch, there are finches too, but they are much more wary of the camera. 

http://i.imgur.com/aj3sOn3.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/dAbjt8w.jpg

Puerto Rico Day 2 – The Day Of The Rum and Pork Chops

I don’t ever need to go back to Condado beach. After seeing a little more of San Juan, specifically Old San Juan, there’s no justification for going to Condado, and now I also know why the room in the big hotel chain was so cheap. Don’t let them fool you with the whole “There’s a casino in the hotel” advertising. The casino is a sweaty little room full of slot machines, closed in by brass cage like bars and full of people who don’t like the sun. Definitely not what I came to Puerto Rico for.

This morning after a shower and a shave, we took a cab up to Old San Juan. It was funny how close we actually walked to the old city the day before. We had quit and turned around maybe two blocks away, and ended up inside a little rum bar called “La Bahia Tropical“. Inside we met a bartender named David, who introduced us to a local drink called Chichaito. Basically it tasted like Sambucca, a licorice or anise flavored liquor that really packs a flavor punch. A lot of people are turned off by licorice, but I like it, and had a few, along with a handful of the local light lager, Medalla light. Here’s a shot of the moment, in the sun and humidity, where I finally felt relaxed and had a nice beer in front of me. David is in the background with some customers, and this is in the plaza directly behind the Capitol building. It was extra nice being able to drink outside, listening to the bar’s music blaring with a cold beer in hand. This was our first real bar time, and it was really nice. Don Q rum in everything. Limes.

Earlier in the day, somebody recommended a place called Raices for lunch, and we made our way there for today.  Raices was awesome. I felt bad at having judged mofongos by the ones we had in Condado. These were magic, way better made, and a lot more flavorful. Also much bigger. I had one wrapped in skirt steak, and stuffed with shrimp, and it was amazing. We also had a giant pitcher of awesome Sangria, and it was extra cold in the aluminum cups and pitcher. Very sweet, very refreshing, and great little restaurant. Jonesy fell in love with the local traditional garb, and the waitresses in the white hair wraps laughed when he tried his Spanish on them. They were all sweet, the food was awesome, and it was good to be in the old city. Jonesy had a mountain of something or other, no doubt some fried plantain starch served fried with a sauce. (Upon editing and further inspection, this is where Jones battled the giant pork chop known as a can-can) A metric fuck-ton of food, and while the place was a bit commercial, there were also plenty of locals having their dinner there, and that was very encouraging.

After our enormous lunch we were full and wanted to walk it off, so we took off and just went wherever looked nice. We saw the Governor’s Mansion, which had a street that led out from it, that used to be used as the main Horse Racing track. I couldn’t imagine hauling ass on a big ole horse, down these narrow cobblestone streets, with people screaming and betting on either side. . .

On our walk, we came across a cool old church, with a nice little plaza in front. There was a garden with benches, and on those benches was this fellow, who we listened to for a while.

We talked to him and figured out that what he was playing was, to him, a more carribean type of merengue music, mixed in with some folky salsa type of “musica tradicional”. He said they called him El Moreno, and we hung out with him for a while, he willing to teach, and us standing around loving it. Some of his tunes even had that weird Paul Simon type groove to them, like a weird seldom explored type of ska, or Caribe, called Mereng, as opposed to the more familiar Merengue. It was all in there, all whipped together with different feels and rhythms that I loved. The beats were simple and tight, upbeat, without being bright, still dark and Creole from El Caribe . Criollo.

After our music lesson we walked up to el Castillo San Felipe del Morro and explored the site. The entry fee was around six dollars, and was definitely worth it.

Here’ an album of pics from the fort. Toward the end of this album, the pics with the old graveyard next door are among my favorites. Especially the ones with the neighborhood “La Perla” showing in the back. We were warned away from this area, and I hope to steer clear at all times. No need to be unnecessarily bold out here.

We really got to walk all around the fort, and the site was awesome. There were slots for so many cannons, it must have been brutal trying to cruise up to this island under an enemy flag.

We also walked around the outside, and got to see some gigantic iguanas hanging out in the nooks and crannies. We ended up walking again for most of the morning, and we were pretty thirsty. I had read about a little brewery in old San Juan called Harbor.  It was pretty decent, they made a pale ale that was really light. Too light. When I made the lightest beer I’ve ever brewed, it was similar to their regular ale. A little too pale for an everyday beer.

I didn’t try anything else, and we walked back up the street to find a real bar. We walked past several little obvious tourist traps, full of people fresh off a cruise ship that had pulled into harbor. I couldn’t help but think that I looked the same as them to the real locals, but still tried to somehow separate myself from them.

This was accomplished by drinking in the the types of bars where the average tourist wouldn’t dare. The kind of bar where you keep small bills in your shirt pocket to pay quickly and in cash. Not a lot of eye contact, but lots of music and strong drink. Most everything on the island seemed to cost one US dollar if you knew where to look for it, and most every place we went to had a mom and pop feel to it, which I enjoyed thoroughly. 

This one little place in particular seemed way out of place so close to the hardcore tourists. I don’t even recall a bar sign, or a name of the business posted outside, we just walked by and knew it was a bar. People staggering out, music blasting, and no apparent food service, but a big crowd. Once inside, the simple wooden bar greeted you, with the chips and peanut bag stands behind it, and a couple of locals tending the bar.

All the shots come in little plastic cups, like what we use for salsa up here in CA. We kept coming back to this drink called Chichaito, this particular one was flavored and made with coconut. It was called Coquito.  I like coconut anyway, but this stuff was amazing.

Funny thing was, I asked where I could buy a bottle of it, and the bartender told me it was a type of moonshine. He said it was “hecho en casa”, or home made. Then he said (in Spanish) “There he goes now” and pointed me to a fellow in a coat, which was weird for the weather, but I wasn’t asking questions.

Before I knew it, I had struck a deal with this guy Jorge, the Coquito maker, to buy a bottle off him tomorrow, and that it would be $20. I got his phone number, and he asked me to call him to make sure I was going to need the bottle. I assured him I’d buy it, but I would call anyway. We had already checked into our room earlier in the day and we needed to head out though, good day sir.

We got a room in the Hotel “Casablanca”.This place sounded Spectacular, and the lobby was fairly decked out. I couldn’t wait to see what type of luxurious room we had for the day. When we got to the room, there was only one bed. There wasn’t another bed available, not even a cot or anything, so I will sleep on top of the blankets, and Jonesy underneath them. The cieling is really high, almost vaulted, but the room is stupid narrow, and there’s no room around the bed for anything. This is the room the hotel sacrificed to young couples or something. It was really, really small is my main point here. We curled up on the too small bed and kept our distance. Our manhood intact, we went to bed early, and made plans to hit the cathedrals the tomorrow. We are running out of things to do here in town and need to figure something out. This place looked spectacular, but the AC isn’t working right,and it’s hot and humid, and this tiny bed, etc. . . .Also, Jonesy has been drinking non stop since we got here, and if I know him, he’s just building up steam. I’m fairly buzzed from the divey bar, bought some tylenol after the bar.

Puerto Rico trip, part one.

I’m going to have to break down and edit this trip into parts, as we spent six days there, and there’s still way more to tell than I’m willing to type out. As I said in a previous post, I kept a journal in my iPad, and this is mostly taken directly from there.

I’m just going to edit the spelling and such, and post. Not going to kill myself to write up the perfect travel guide, not going to stress over the details or getting absolutely everything perfect, just an honest journal of what seemed important to me on those days.

Continue reading

Back to Puerto Rico, the Ferry From Vieques

Ferry from Vieques

Our weekend in Vieques is over, and now I’m on the ferry between Vieques island and Fajardo, where we will catch a “colectivo” back to Isla Verde, then probably a cab back to old San Juan. Its been a hell of a couple of days, and today the island is to as HELL. The humidity of course, is what gets you, but it’s just gross to be coated in sweat the instant you step outside. It hasn’t really been this hot the whole trip, and it feels like the islands were saving it up for today.

I’m about three shades darker on the beer SRM scale, and I feel stupendous. I’m a little sore from swimming so much yesterday, especially the shoulders from doing the backstroke. I did get a little burnt on my back, because of my extreme farmers tan , but I’m not feeling it that bad.

This boat needs to leave, and get me to the sanctuary of the Plaza De Armas Hotel so I can check in and get some air conditioning.

One thing I’ve noticed about the islanders, is they love their AC. They blast it, and sometimes when you’re confined to close quarters, you wonder how they can stand it so cold when it’s so hot here all the time.

Headed back to Los Angeles tomorrow, getting home at about midnight after my buddy little Danny picks us up at LAX. It’s been great out here,  but I really can’t wait to see my dog, and my own bed. Also I can’t wait to get away from all the Mosquitos out here. Last night my legs got eaten up, and my calves feel like bubble wrap from all the bug bites. Next time I’m bringing some repellent for sure, I thought I wouldn’t need it, but I was a fool!!! I should have known better. Jungle +humidity = bugs!!!

Also just had about 7 piña coladas while waiting for this ferry, so i’m nice and buzzed and ready to get moving. Not looking forward to the colectivo ride back from Fajardo to Isla Verde, then the cab ride, a total of about an hour and a half.

About to put on my headphones, get into my own little musical world, and try to sleep a bit on the hour long cruise back.

————–

Now, about twenty minutes later, I her the ramp to the ferry raised, and the big diesel engines turning on. I’ve got some Melvins in my ears and the at just shoved off. Bye bye Vieques, it’s been AWESOME!!!

Puerto Rico trip Part 4 – Morning in vieques.

This morning I’m in Vieques, a tiny island off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. I can’t believe my luck at having found this place. After 3 days of walking, hustling, busses, and the grimy streets of Puerto Rico, this little island is the tropical paradise that I thought didn’t exist anymore. Yet here it is, full of vibrant colors, sounds, plants, people and animals.

This morning for example, when the sun woke me up, I opened the window to let the sea breeze in and found a little lizard staring back at me. In L.A. when the sun wakes me up, it’s a terrible nuisance, but out here, it was like some awesome force telling me to get out of bed and enjoy the time I have in the island.

I went down to the office for coffee and had a slice of papaya with some yogurt, and a boiled egg for breakfast. I’m staying at the Seagate, which is a working horse and chicken farm. Right now I’m sitting on the balcony outside my room, enjoying the breeze and thinking that this is probably the best setting I’ve ever had to sit down and write.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with this fine day, but it won’t be wasted. Right now the idea is to go fishing, but depending on the cost, I may just go wandering around the island.

I met a fellow yesterday on the ferry over to the island. At first I was a little put off by how he just came and sat at my table, but after talking for a while, I found out his brother is a very very famous baseball player….somebody I’ve arched round the bases many times. He also treated me to some drinks and even got me a ride up to my hotel after arriving on dry land. Then after I checked in, got my bags stowed and was ready to go out for the night, he came and picked us up.

Driving entirely too fast on dark, winding jungle roads, blasting salsa music and talking about fishing, drinking, girls, wives and all the troubles that come with them, we finally arrived at our destination. It was another side of this tiny island, really quiet compared to the ferry landing and completely charming. A small dusty road, lined. I either side with the types of little beach bars and shacks I dreamed of. Music blasting on every corner, and people dancing heartily, natives mixing with tourists and rum mixing with lime and ice for refreshment.

I even had a fat Puerto Rican cigar, dark brown and thick as two of my fingers. Took about 45 minutes to get through it, but it was wonderful. I had it while sitting sipping drinks on a wooden bench,(Thats Jonesy over there too)  to my left was the sea, and to my right was a group of beautiful Puerto Rican women who would pay a tourist no mind. They were there to dance, and while my pocho salsa dance moves would suffice for a family wedding, or dancing with friends, here I was out of my league. My new friend however, had all the moves. It was awesome to see him dancing the night away with just about every girl in the place, while I had Medalla beers and more rum mixed with whatever. At one point, I turned to my left and glanced at the water, to see three devil fish (manta ray) cruising slowly along in the shallow surf.

The bar had an interesting nationalist feel to it. This island has suffered much at the hands of the US Navy, setting up shop in her natural bays and the locals carry that history around with them. Behind the bar you saw drawings made with slogans or messages about kicking the US out of their waters. There has been a lot of testing on the island, and a bomb was even dropped on a local once, sparking the ire of the whole community, and making fishermen charge destroyers in tiny little fishing boats. Incredible story that deserves a lot more than a blog post, really incredible art and rebellious nature to this whole affair.

I’ve made up my mind about one thing though, next time I come down here, and I will, I will come straight to Vieques. Puerto Rico is not without its charm, but this island really did deliver something I thought was out of reach for me. I thought I’d have to be surrounded by tourists to see beaches this beautiful. I thought I would have to pay too much, and feel bad for having spent all the money, but this place is completely affordable and in some cases mind blowingly inexpensive.

To top it all off, on the ferry over, we noticed a whole bunch of people carrying instruments of all shapes and sizes. Big cases for horns, keyboards, drums, almost anything you could think of. In line for the ferry I asked a lady what it was they were all going to, and she let me know about the Vieques cultural festival.   By some stroke of beautiful luck, it happens to be going down this weekend, not even 200 yards from the farm where we’re staying.

Tonight, I just had to sit down and write here, because I don’t know when I’ll ever feel is inspired by my surroundings alone, again. Looking out at the bay, sailboats cruising along, sun glistening off the bright azure waters, and now that I’ve got a little writing out of the way I can hear some music firing up at the fort down the road. I think I’ll wander down there and have a chichaito from my bottle to get started.