Annoyed yet? That’s island time for ya. Since we arrived in Puerto Rico last Monday, Glenn and I have had a million things on our to-do list and we quickly discovered that we should aim for accomplishing one thing per day, versus 3-4 like we had originally planned. That’s because here in Puerto Rico, there’s what we call “island time.” Basically, it means that you have to wait and wait… and then, you wait some more.
Tuesday: We wanted to see an apartment that I’d seen advertised online. The landlady said we could meet at 11:00am. She gave us bad directions and we couldn’t find the place. We went to get phones so that we could call her and let her know. It tooks us an hour to sign a contract with AT&T (island time). We called said landlady and she wasn’t at all annoyed or upset that we missed our appointment with her and only called hours later to tell her. Island time forces one to disregard punctuality.
We liked the apartment and called the landlady to set up another appointment to sign the lease. We would have to wait until Thursday because she was busy on Wednesday. Island time. We spent the rest of Tuesday going around to gyms so that Glenn could inquire about employment, and there seemed to be general interest in having him work as a personal trainer. Wednesday, we both spent most of the day applying to jobs online.
Thursday, our meeting with the landlady was at 11:00am. I called her at 11:15 to find out if she was on her way, and she said that we would have to meet her at 12:15pm. Island time.
Noon. We receive another call. We will have to meet her at 1:15pm. Island time.
12:45pm. Another call. Meet her at my university in San German (because I had told her I had an appointment with my professor at 2pm). We go to San German.
Signed the lease. We officially have had an apartment since last Thursday! It’s a small one-bedroom in Guanajibo, a neighborhood in Mayagüez. It’s away from the city center, in a quieter part of town, across the road from the shore. That’s right; we can see the Caribbean Sea from our window.
Thursday night was fun because we went to the Rincón Art Walk, which is an event they have every Thursday where local artists can display and sell their arts and crafts. It’s held in the town center, and many visitors come to buy artwork and handicrafts (paintings, woodwork, jewelry, homemade candy and syrrups, etc.). It was crowded, but we were told that it gets twice as crowded during the peak travel season (November-March).
Friday, we went to the water company to get the water turned on in our apartment. We waited in line for 3 hours. When it was our turn, we were told it would take 2-3 days to turn the water on. Island time.
Saturday. We went to the electric company to get the electricity on in our apartment. Surprisingly, the wait was only 10 minutes because Puerto Ricans don’t like to run errands on Saturdays; there was hardly anybody there. However, again, it would take 2-3 days for the electricity to be turned on. Island time.
After the electric company, I went to Choice Cable and signed up for Internet. They could send someone Tuesday, which seemed pretty quick – especially for a country that runs on island time. I was impressed.
We also went looking for a car on Saturday. Used cars are surprisingly expensive here, and we had almost given in and thought we had to buy one for 6-7 grand, when an employee at the Kia dealership in Mayagüez told us that he was selling his car for $2000. Bingo! We met him the next day to look at it, found it adequate enough, and bought it. Meanwhile, the same day, we had gotten a flat tire on our rental car and Glenn backed into a guardrail, leaving a small dent and scratch on the rear bumper. Now I get to pay $900 to Enterprise. (We had gone to Pep Boys to have the tire patched, since we couldn’t find a hole in it. There were 2 people in line in front of us, and we had to wait 35 minutes. Island time. And they couldn’t fix the tire.)
Sunday. Bed hunting. Mattresses are expensive. We hit probably 5-6 different stores looking for a good deal, but went home empty-handed.
Monday, we went to a couple more stores to look at mattresses, and decided to go with one from the previous day. I called and arranged for the mattress and box spring to be delivered the next day, Tuesday. We then shopped for a few things for the apartment, like bed linens, pillows, cooking utensils, etc. It was our last night staying at Greg’s place in Rincón, so we hung out with Greg and went out to dinner. It was nice, but we were ready to leave and move into our apartment the next day.
Tuesday morning, I had a student at 8:00am and a job interview at 10:00am. The internet had been out since the day before, so Greg let me use his office for both. When that was over, Glenn picked me up and we went to our apartment to officially move in. The Choice Cable and mattress delivery guys actually came at the time I was told; I was expecting both to call and to say they would come later in the day, or even later in the week. I was pleasantly surprised by their punctuality. I guess it isn’t always island time.
We spent the day cleaning and setting up as much of the apartment as we could. Glenn went out and got groceries while I cleaned and logged onto Blackboard to access my class, which started Tuesday evening. I was able to complete my first assignment while Glenn prepared a delicious dinner of steak fajitas.
Now, we are in the apartment, with electricity, water, Internet, and… AIR CONDITIONER! It will be the first night here that we’ll have it, and I have a feeling we will sleep quite well.
Wednesday, I have my first in-person class at the campus in San German. I’m looking forward to it. We’ve taken some pictures and I’ll get them all up eventually, but you might have to wait a while. I’m on island time now.
Just kidding. You can view photos here!