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’tis the most favored day of pirates, everywhere. To honor September 19th, is to honor all things piratical. That includes independent thought, Rum and the Caribbean as well. Did you know a pirate ship was often ruled by the democratic process and that the captain could be replaced by a simple vote of the crew?

The Lord knows, Puerto Rico has known it’s fair share of pirates.

Independencia Mural in Puerto Rico

What’s sad, is that we have more pirates today than we ever had in the past. They dress in suits and drive expensive cars… we know them as lawyers and politicians. Us locals are flailing in their wake… ARRG!

Things may get a little worse before they get better, but they WILL get better. I don’t have the room on my blog to pursue this rant, but there is ‘change in the wind’. The people of Puerto Rico are ready for it.

RUM and Rum Like Beverages…

I like to feature new adult beverages as they come my way. Talk Like a Pirate Day is the perfect time to do it.

I’ve spoken before about my fondness of Barceló Rum from the Dominican Republic. Well.. they have introduced a new line to PR so here they are. The one on the left is my ‘go to’ favorite, Ron Barceló Añejo. A very reasonably priced rum suitable for sipping or mixing. Next up is Blanco Añejado, a smooth mixer. An aged rum with a clean taste. The middle bottle is Ron Barceló Imperial and it is as smooth as any premium añejo I’ve ever tried.

5 Ron Barcelo Rum

It’s Barceló’s best. At least the best I’ve had so far. Not cheap, but less expensive than other top-shelf añejos. The 4th bottle is Grand Añejo and falls between my fav and the Imperial. Still very smooth, but not quite as smooth as the Imperial. Lastly, Ron Barceló Dorado. A perfect dark mixer for Planter’s Punch or a Mai Tai or straight up, if you have the will.

A fine family of Caribbean Rums, if there ever was one.. ARRG!

I’ll be sav’n the Imperial and Grand Añejo for special occasions. No, I’m not a rum connoisseur, but I do like to try new ones now and then. Especially when they fit me budget.

Rum Drinks ‘to-go’Palo Ready Rum Drinks

There is a category of mixed drinks that come in pouches like kids fruit juice, but with a kick. Many are only available here on the island. Sangriiia from Gasolina is still an all time favorite. Made with Acai and other fruit juices, it’s quite tasty. I like to freeze them, then thaw them as need be… kind of like an adult ‘slushy’. Perfect on a hot day. That said, here’s a few new ones to consider.

Palo Viejo is a brand of Puerto Rican rum that has jumped into the pre-packaged rum cocktail biz. The brightly colored packaging is very festive. They are labeled as ‘Palo Ready’ and come in 3 flavors- A Sangria, a Lemon/Lime and a Rum Punch. Though the Lemon/lime was my least favorite, I liked them all, especially the Rum Punch. Of course I did. I would certainly recommend these for the cooler on a hot day at the beach.

Pala Jac Parcha Rum Drink PouchNot all of us prefer beer.

Last, but not least, is a brand new rum drink made with Parcha… what most gringos know as Passion Fruit. We grow Parcha and I make a juice from it. I have a bunch of it made up as concentrate, in the freezer.

Well, Pala Jac has done it better by mixing it with rum. Served ice-cold, these are fantastic. I’ll be scoring a few more of these.

I’ve included an illustration done in 1880 by Joseph Martin Kronheim. It demonstrates the popularity of Parcha, dating back to ‘olden times’. The blossoms of Parcha are very beautiful, though short lived. They seldom last more than a day. A fleeting moment, at best. A perfect complement to the verse.Parcha 1880 illustration by Joseph Martin Kronheim, Parcha or Passion Fruit

A word of warning- always, consume alcohol with moderation… a healthy dose of moderation. It tends to make loud-mouthed pirates out of those that are not. ARRG!

Civic Planning, Pirate Style…

I’ve spoken before, of my fondness of Tropico, a computer game.

It’s similar to SimCity, but with a twist. You basically get to be the dictator of a small Caribbean island. It’s totally up to you as to how ruthless or benevolent you are. You can succeed either way. This a screen-shot from version 3. I’ve spent way too many hours playing this one. If you like simulations, it’s quite addictive. A few weeks ago, you could download version 4 for free. I did, but it’s no longer out there for the taking. Tropico 5 is a major re-write of the application, now out for both PeeCee and Mac. It just gets better and better.

Did I mention the background music is typical of tunes from Puerto Rico’s past? I love it.

Tropico 3 Screen Swipe from a Mac

I really think aspiring politicians should have to pass the ’Tropico Economic Prosperity Test’ before getting the keys to the island. Force them to think about the consequences of their actions while in office. Maybe publish the results on Facebook for everyone to see. ARRG!

Scoundrels, Rogues and Cannabis

I bring up the subject of Cannabis here because it has been treated as something evil for too long. Pirates are outcasts by choice. So are those who smoke or eat Pot because it makes them ‘feel better’. Why is that? Well, there is science behind the why.CBD Oil Local Ad in Puerto Rico

The medicinal benefits of Cannabis have been known for decades, but our governments, both local and national have been in denial about it. Sure, the acceptance of the Cannabis plant will change medicine as we know it, but many of us realize, that’s a good thing. Everywhere they have adopted Cannabis, the death rate from prescription drug overdoses has dropped. And by very significant numbers.

Why am I so concerned?

Because I have long term pain issues that will never get better. The only prescription solution is the Oxycodone I take. An addictive pain killer that will eventually trash my liver. And makes me constipated. Not to mention that the longer you take it, the less effective it becomes… which is why so many people end up over-dosing on it. They try to take more to cover the pain.

Cannabis can address the pain issues without ANY of the side effects and contrary to the Media, you can’t over-dose on it.

CBD Oil Bottles Regular and Extra StrengthYes, Puerto Rico has amended local law to allow Medical Cannabis as a method of treatment. The problem is, those laws are so very restrictive and manipulative, that only very large corporations will ever benefit from them. NOT the patients that need it. And not the locals that need the jobs it will inevitably create.

I must pause and thank those locally who are in the fight to change the laws…

to make medical Cannabis available here. And a special thanks to the doctors who have taken the test and got their certification to prescribe Cannabis. My own doctor did, much to my surprise. So we are getting closer and closer to a local solution. But as the law is written, it’s bad law.

Unfortunately, I think the only way we will ever get to a fair and just solution is to simply decriminalize Cannabis. Just like Washington state, ColoradoOregon, Alaska and Washington DC have done. No, those states did not devolve into chaos as predicted by many. In fact, things have gotten better, everywhere it has been legalized.

Why make the plant available instead of some pharmaceutical solution?

The Cannabis Manifesto, A New Paradigm for WellnessBecause of something called the ‘Entourage Effect’. Synthesizing one or two chemical compounds from the Cannabis plant and declaring you now have a Cannabis solution for everyone is pure BS. You need the entire plant to get the most value from it. Nor do you need to smoke it to get the ‘Entourage Effect’. In fact, ‘edibles’ are very effective and is how most people take it.

Again, I don’t have the room to cover even the key points of Cannabis and it’s various health benefits. If you want to know how it might help you, I strongly suggest you get a copy of “The Cannabis Manifesto, A New Paradigm for Wellness”. Steve DeAngelo spells it out in plain, first person language. He and his people have spent years working on how a Medical Cannabis Dispensary should be set up and run. In the process, they got the full support of their local governments. So much so, that those same local governments took on the Feds when they tried to shut them down.

Why Puerto Rico is not doing this, is beyond me, particularly given their economic woes…

Doctors and Med Cannabis CartoonYou want to compete for tourist dollars going to Cuba and the Dominican Republic, do what Jamaica is doing. Set-up automated dispensaries. Regulate it commercially like they do alcohol or tobacco, but make it readily available to all adults. The health risk to children is far lower than underage drinking, but that’s ok, right?

Cannabis could bring billions of additional income to the island each year. Time to change the law and make it work for everyone, not just those at the top.

To be clear, for the vast majority of us, it’s not about getting ‘high’.

Some of us simply want to grow our own health solution without the risk of going to jail for having done so. There is no ‘public threat’ for simply growing a few plants for personal use. They have been doing it legally in Alaska, since the late 1970’s. You watched ‘Alaska State Troopers’, right?

I have seen CBD Oil go on on sale here, as well as a few hemp based energy drinks, but they contain little of the healthy ingredients found in the actual plant.

Cannabis Energy DrinksThis may seem far off topic for a blog about Puerto Rico, but these are issues we have to deal with locally and this blog is as much about life on the island as it is about the awesome places we visit. If and when Cannabis is decriminalized, some of us will be celebrating. I’ll come back to the subject then.

Disclaimer, I do not advocate doing anything illegal.

Many folks have left their homes and moved to California, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon or Washington state, just so they could gain legal access to Cannabis. I have known a few. So as long as I’m in Puerto Rico, I will abstain from using it, nor even grow any. It’s not worth the risk, even though there are many here on the island doing just that.

I leave you with this very short story about dealing with pirates…

Out in the Caribbean sea a British navy Captain is alerted by his lookout that there is a pirate ship coming towards his position. The Captain asks a sailor to quickly get him his red shirt.

Roberto Rico the PirateThe sailor asks the Captain, “Why do you need a red shirt, sir?”

The Captain replies, “So that when I bleed, you will not notice the blood of an injury and aren’t discouraged.”

The sailor returns with the Captain’s shirt, and before long the pirate ship attacks the navy ship.

It’s not long before the superior power, and training of the crew on the naval vessel fights off the pirates.

The very next day, the Captain is alerted that ten pirate ships are coming towards them. The Captain shouts to a sailor, “Quick, fetch me my brown pants!”

Scalawags, beware… ARRG!

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