Living and Working in Vieques..
No question about it, this season is different. There is an excitement in Vieques, and some apprehension, about what this season will bring. For one thing, last season seemed to go on forever, straight through August. Visitors came through the spring and summer enjoying the fabulous Vieques weather and looking for real estate. If you are just beginning to search for real estate, there is good news and bad. The bad news is that you have missed the start of the boom; the good news is that it is not over.
The departure of the Navy and the opening of the Wyndam Martineau Bay Hotel have combined to make Vieques a popular vacation destination.
As a transplanted New Yorker, going on 17 years in Vieques, I feel able to offer some observations. Most important, I think, is that Vieques is a very egalitarian society. Not perfect, to be sure, but probably quite different from what you experience where you live. While people have jobs here, they dont actually work for anyone. People are not better or worse here based on income. Notice the people you meet, the servers in the restaurants, the people behind the counters in stores, the people in the gas stations. They are Vieques. They are not some invisible core of worker bees that retreat to their hovels at night. Bear in mind that Vieques attracts many diverse people. While people living here may have differing political views, we all do live here; we choose to live here. We love it here. People may fight a lot here about politics but they are rarely rude.
We serve the public here in many capacitates, but none of them involve pushing paper or selling stocks and, except for a merciful few, we dont have lawyers. People who live in Vieques are not one stop shoppers.
If two cars are stopped in front of you and the drivers are chatting, dont beep your horn. It is a hold over custom from when telephones were hard to get here and many people didnt have phone. Besides, where exactly are you rushing to?
If you are staying at the Wyndam, for heaven sake, leave it for a day or so to look around. Try the other restaurants and beaches, walk around Isabelle and Esperanza.
We are happy you are coming. We are looking forward to it. Traffic will be a mess in town, no parking at the post office, restaurant reservations become a necessity, and the beaches will have more than the normal 10 people on them. But we know that Vieques will continue to thrive and grow if you come, and then if you come back.
August 1, 2003
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