first day in puerto rico
“Sorry David.” said Josue, my real estate agent. “My receptionist wasn’t able to drop off the keys because of the rain. It’s raining like crazy! But that’s actually good because it has been REALLY dry here.”
We had to close on our condo using a power of attorney, so when we arrived in Puerto Rico on June 30th, we still had to pick up the keys and closing documents. “No problem. We can get them from you tomorrow”, I replied before hanging up the phone.
It would’ve been nice to have the keys to our new condo, but we didn’t really need them yet because we were staying in another unit in our building that we had reserved through VRBO. However, that brief conversation with Josue would later explain the reason our first day in Puerto Rico would end on a somewhat sour note…
Our boys’ first day in Puerto Rico
We began the day at 6am in Orlando. The boys were a bit nervous but they ended up thoroughly enjoying their first flight in 6 years. When we left the Aguadilla airport in our rental car, they were completely silent, which is highly unusual. They were just trying to process the sights and sounds of this foreign place.
When we got to the condo, they were awed by the ocean view and excited to finally see where were moving to. After unloading, we grabbed some traditional Puerto Rican food at La Papa which they absolutely loved. Then, after going to the electric company, I walked the boys down to the beach from our condo. As we approached and the sound of the waves grew louder, their walk quickly morphed into an all out run. Down at the beach I sat on a rock, just soaking in the look of pure joy on their faces and the beautiful sunset in the background. I wished that moment would never end.
When the sun had dropped below the horizon, we started walking back to the condo. Desmond grabbed some leftovers from La Papa (they give you a LOT of food) and was eating at the table while Holly and Waylon were putting some dinner together. Desmond and I noticed that a couple black winged termites had wriggled their way past the screens and into the living room. I told Desmond to stay calm as I tried to exterminate them one by one with a tissue. It seemed like every time I’d get one about 10 more would squeeze their way in. Pretty soon, they were flying around the room and literally crawling all over the walls. Desmond finally lost it which of course led to everyone freaking out. It was obvious the screens were of no use in stopping them, so I told Holly and the kids to go into a bedroom, shut the windows and turn on the air conditioner so they could finish their dinner.
I turned all the lights off inside and then turned the balcony light on. I could see them swarming outside around the light. Then, I heard a panicked scream coming from the bedroom. I ran over and Holly said loudly “there’s a cockroach on the wall!” As I took care of the cockroach, both boys were crying. “We want to go back to Texas!”, they sobbed.
As you can imagine, this was NOT the way we hoped our postcard perfect first day in Puerto Rico would end!
Then, about as quickly as the insect invasion had began, it was over. I looked outside and didn’t see anymore termites around the light. I turned on the light inside and just saw a bunch of wings strewn about the floor. In all of our days here since, we’ve never had a night like that again. Thankfully.
After doing some research online, I found out that these termites are called comején arbóreos. Here on the island, it’s not uncommon to see their huge dark brown nests in the trees with foraging tunnels extending along the trunk and branches like veins.
The winged form of these termites multiply in great numbers and then wait for a rainy day to emerge from their nests. When the rain doesn’t come, they keep waiting… and multiplying. They will wait for up to three months for a good rainy day. Well, as I later recalled from my conversation with Josue, the area’s “rainy” season which usually begins in April, was pretty much nonexistent. That is until June 30th.
It’s almost as if the rainy season was delayed just so that these black winged critters could give us a proper welcome! :)