Puerto Rico has thrown me for a culture shock loop. After spending the last year in the Bahamas, where no building is over two stories tall, and then Luperon, which would be considered “rustic” by most, we arrive in Boqueron, and more notably, Mayaguez. Mayaguez has everything that the states has, and yes I understand that Puerto Rico is “America” but it’s still weird to have all these things accessible all of a sudden.
   Boqueron, our current harbour, is a cute little tourist town with its waterfront shops and bars. Although it has the laid back allure it is lacking in a few ammenities that would make life easier for cruisers, such as a laundry mat, a grocery store within walking distance, or easy and cheap taxis that can take you to where you need to go. Luckily we found one lady who accepted to wash our clothes, for a family with two young kids, and there is a mini-market up the main road for any basic provisions we may need, but for anything above and beyond that most people will direct you to the bigger towns. For some of these reasons, today we got a ride with a friend of a friend of a friend, who drove us to the mall in Mayaguez to do our Christmas shopping and get some food stuff at Walmart. Some may think that we are late getting our shopping done, and others may think that we are early, but what it came down to for us is that we have a mall accessible to us here, we should use this opportunity rather than let it slip by, us continue sailing to other ports, and have Christmas creep up on us and have us completely unprepared and messing up the celebrations.
   It has been over a year since we last stepped foot in a mall, and being surrounded by so many people, shopping, and prepping for Christmas was rather surreal. Because of the distance to get to this mall, and the accessibility of a ride there, we decided to do all of our shopping in one day. Overload. First we did the rounds of things that “needed” to get done, such as getting 3G on our ipad (huge waste of time, PR does not have the exact same plans as the rest of the states, so because we were canadian AT&T couldn’t do a credit check so they couldn’t set us up, Sprint here does not do pre-paid plans, Claro does not seem to do any 3G plans, and so we were left with T-mobile, who has only 2G, or edge, service along the coast. But better that than nothing.). After that we spent the rest of the day splitting up and dividing the girls between us depending on who was buying a gift for who. I think that all and all, most of the presents came from Old Navy and Walmart. The girls did great even though we deprived them of their regular nap since we wanted to get everything done in the one day.
   We also had to make sure that we got the fixings for certain traditions that we have, like the eggnog for when we decorate the tree, the chocolates and Bailey’s for everyday coming up to Christmas, and the Grand Marnier for crepe suzettes on Christmas morning. We even got to see Santa Claus, who was in the center plaza taking pictures with kids. Unfortunately, since we were not allowed to take our own pictures since that is how they make their business, I missed the candid moment when Ellia got to meet Santa for the first time and the sheer fear that struck her, and the crying and squeals that ensued. Arias gave him a quick hug and a high five and then we had to make room for the paying customers.
    By 7pm we were finally going through the last cash register and had our ride waiting patiently for us. We were all spent. We forgot how much a full day of shopping will take out of you. Ellia fell asleep on the car ride home, and Arias rubbed her eyes through a late supper and told me “that was a long work day”. I am glad that the shopping is over and I think that I have the “need for a mall” out of my system for another long period. 

the girls entertaining themselves on the Walmart floor at the end of our shopping day

a shopping cart ready to burst