The Raging Mrs. and I head back to Puerto Rico tomorrow. I'm kinda mixed on it. On one hand, I want to sleep in my own bed. I want to cook in my kitchen. I want to be able to sit down on my couch, watch CSI reruns on my TV and drink beer in my livingroom. I want my vehicle back. I want my dog back.
On the other hand, all of those things are still in Puerto Rico, when I would much rather have them somewhere back in the civilized world.
Look, don't get me wrong. Puerto Rico is beautiful. The beaches are great. The scenery is spectacular. The wildlife is pretty damn cool. But it's corrupt as hell. There are over 20 politicians from the past four administrations sitting in the federal jail. That's for an island of 4 million people measuring 100 miles by 35 miles. We're not exactly talking about Texas here. Hell, we're not even talking California. But it's corrupt to the bone.
Gun laws are outrageous. Just to own a pistol and take it to the range requires three different permits, all of which cost over one hundred dollars. Now I don't know about you, but I don't have $300+ just sitting around right now. And unless you know someone in the local police (also highly corrupt) you don't have a chance in hell of getting a concealed carry permit.
Crime is sky high. Murders occur at a rate that makes Washington D.C. look like Grand Forks, North Dakota. There are bars on every window. The only time I see a yard without a complete fence around it and a gate just to get into the driveway is in the remote mountain areas. I want to be some place where it doesn't look like one big jail cell of a neighborhood. Note that whenever gun laws are oppressive, crime is high. Maybe not as high as San Juan, but high nonetheless. Compton, anyone?
I've got a couple more years left, assuming that my unit is even activated, which at this point may or may not happen. We don't have people, we don't have equipment, and our activation date keeps getting pushed back because of those two facts. Right now I'm not even working at my company, because not only do they not have any equipment for me to work on, they don't even have a motorpool that I could be busy in.
For a year, I've been telling myself that Puerto Rico wasn't all that bad. And then the Mrs. and I come to San Antonio, and it's a huge culture shock. People are polite! HOLY HELL, PEOPLE ARE POLITE! Cars stop for us as I wheel my wife's wheelchair across the road! Hell, cars stop for us just so that I can
wheel my wife across the road! I don't have to play some insane game of chicken just to go from one street corner to the next! In San Juan, I feel like I'm playing Frogger, but instead of a little green pixilated blob on a TV screen, I'm the one out there dodging trucks and cars, going "Slow, slow, slow, slow, SHITFASTFASTFAST!"
Doors are opened, and when I thank the person they smile and say "No problem"! That doesn't happen much around San Juan, folks. I've held doors open for people and they thank me! They don't give me the evil eye and mutter in Spanish!
Traffic isn't a "Deathrace 2000" remake featuring live cars and live people. The drivers here in San Antonio know how to merge. They know how to use their turn signals. They stop at red lights and stop signs. They know what to do at a yield sign. All of these important functions of driving are either forgotten or simply unlearned in Puerto Rico. The one lesson that Puerto Rico seems to have learned is to always talk on your cell phone while making a left turn without looking first. Oh, and either drive 25 in a 50mph zone, or drive 50 in a 25mph zone. And that part of the road that we in American like to call "the shoulder"? You know, that area beyond the white line that disabled cars pull off to? Don't even think about it in Puerto Rico. They consider that to be just another lane for their driving pleasure. If I ever got a flat tire in Puerto Rico, I would just drive home. I don't care if my rim dies and I have to pay to get it replaced, that's better than trying to change a tire and having some dope-smoking asshole with a cellphone grafted to his ear wizzing along the shoulder at 75mph+ turn me into road pizza.
And the medical....... Don't even get me started on the conditions of medicine in Puerto Rico. My wife's primary care physician is good, but he's a general practice doctor in one of the most advanced clinics in Puerto Rico. The rest of the medical on the economy is a crap shoot between some voodoo witch doctor or some guy who acts like he got his degree out of a cracker-jack box. If the medical services in Puerto Rico were halfway adequate, my wife and I wouldn't be sitting in San Antonio right now.
So, I guess that we head back to Puerto Rico and pray for the next two years that neither my wife or I get seriously ill. And if we do, I'll put my wife on the first plane back home as fast as I can send her. The thought of a Puerto Rican doctor cutting my wife's back open scared the shit out of me. The thought of more medical down there isn't any better.
Now, I will admit that I've met some good people in Puerto Rico. And I would even recommend that people go there for vacation. Spend a week, get out and about, experience the Caribbean. Just don't live there. Like I have to.
Who would have thought one year ago when I happily took the position in PR that I would be saying all this? Not me. Hell, I thought it was going to be like Hawaii, with less people.
Boy, was I wrong.