It’s Alive!  Mayaguez, Puerto Rico Continued

It’s Alive! Mayaguez, Puerto Rico Continued

Just after dark I started making my way around Mayaguez again.  I had been given the general directions towards the nightlife and I was on my way.  The town didn’t look much different in the dark as I passed the still closed store located on the square.  As I got to the area with all the bars I realized that these buildings too had looked closed and run down during the day with garage type doors blocking their contents from view.  The garage doors were now open and there were between three and ten people in each bar.

Mayaguez night lifeI selected a larger bar that had a pool table and absolutely no customers.  The bar tenders didn’t really look nice, but they didn’t seem to notice me which was better than the responses I got as I looked into the other bars.  I ordered a rum and coke and was charged $1.  My night was beginning to look up already.  Turns out it was happy hour!  I just didn’t know where all the happy people were.

I had a couple more drinks before one of the bar tenders struck up a conversation.  He spoke great English and turned out to be a pretty cool dude once the ice was broken.  He explained that I would probably be the only one that left a tip the whole night and that it was really appreciated.  Then, like clockwork, as happy hour ended people started coming in.  College kids with pissy attitudes for the most part.  A couple of rather big girls were eyeing me pretty hard but didn’t approach.  The bar tender blamed the influx of thug wannabes on American Rap music.  Judging by the atmosphere I’ll assume he knows what he was talking about.

Finally, around midnight the place became packed.  The pictures below that show the dance floor half empty were literally taken 25 minutes before the ones that show the dance floor completely packed.  11:45 and 12:10.  The atmosphere lightened up and people started looking like they were having a good time.  Of course, this meant that I was having a hard time getting drinks as the bartenders were now swarmed.  So I decided to walk across the street.  I had seen a few cute girls, including the one with the American flag t-shirt, wondering in a bar so I decided to follow suit.  Allas, this place had slightly more walking room, but the seen wasn’t really any better.

I decided to walk around a little bit and noticed the lit up Burger King sign.  I hadn’t had any good old American processed crap in a while so I decided to partake.  It was delicious and pretty much the end of my evening.  The college seen isn’t really my thing but it was nice to see Mayaguez vampires come out of their caskets.  I still don’t recommend stopping here.

6 Responses to It’s Alive! Mayaguez, Puerto Rico Continued

  1. Hi Jason, thank you for your post about Mayaguez although it deeply saddens me as I know my beloved town looks and feels exactly how you describe it. I was born and raised in Mayaguez and lived in town until I was 14, that was 1994. I remember a prosperous city, diverse city. Progress was obvious. Men and women of suits and white collar folks roamed the Mayaguez. I remember Hindus, Chinese and North Americans and South Americans working and living in “the city” as it was not called the town Mayaguez, but the “City” of Mayaguez indicating much pride for it.
    Then the early 90s came with overwhelming unemployment and the folks decided to come to the States. You asked about the exodus, well there was a major exodus of Puerto Ricans back in the early 90s, not just from Mayaguez but from all over the Island.

    I visited the Island for the first time in 7 years in 2006, then in 2008. What a difference, and sadly not for the better. I too saw abandoned homes, entire work buildings desolated. Not much youth around except for the college students from the University of Puerto Rico’s campus in Mayaguez. That’s the crowd you took pictures of while at the bars and clubs. The town is almost dead until is 10:00pm or so and they come out like cockroaches.

    I do wonder why the cruise companies are beginning to stop in Mayaguez since the city as absolutely nothing to offer. The town had never been a tourist stop, as you well know it was always an industrial town. Maybe it would do some good to the west side of the Island to have an influx of tourist and spend some good cash there, who knows.

    And as a last note, I’m sorry you were treated so poorly while visiting Mayaguez. That was not the behavior of the city and its people. Perhaps living in the conditions in which they live has affected their character (and manners).

    • Thanks for the comments Myrna,

      Reading them I wonder if cruise companies are actually stopping there or if you are referring to my little boat ride/cruise-ish thing. It was actually more of a one way trip with an attempted cruise atmosphere, far from a real cruise. It makes the trip from DR to PR 3 times a week (I think). Twice a week straight to San Juan and once a week to Mayaguez. I just happened to get bored in Santo Domingo on the day it was going to Mayaguez and thought it would be an interesting stop.

      There was definitely a charm to Mayaguez, hidden behind decaying walls and under bushes. I truly appreciate you sharing your experiences!

      • Hi Jason,

        You mean you took the ferry. No wonder why you didn’t find any one that spoke English upon arriving at the “port” for customs. The ferry is mostly taken by locals of both sides, so there is never a need to have someone speak English at the port. Puerto Ricans do day trips to DR quite frequently. Although just like you, there are many tourists that are using the ferry to do a day trip to PR so eventually they see the need of a bilingual person. Lets hope so. Good day!

        • LOL. Maybe “ferry” would have been a better term 🙂 I’m just not accustomed to ferries having bars and night clubs. I’ve always associated those things with cruises, even the 3 or 4 hour cruises where I grew up in N.C.

          The lack of English really just surprised me because I have known so many Puerto Ricans and I guess I always assumed that Puerto Rico was one of those places that were largely bi-lengual.

          I recommend taking everything here with a grain of salt and remember that these are almost entirely first impressions. I try to make it clear how much time and experience I have with each thing/place so that people can base their assessments of my opinion wisely.

          I was so lost at that point that when the ticket girl told me the boat was going to Mayaguez, I went back to my hotel and tried to find “Mia West” on the map. Needless to say I didn’t get very far with that search, but I got on the boat anyways. I really had no idea where I was in Puerto Rico until my iPhone picked up AT&T cell network and I could use the map app.

          Thanks for clearing that all up though! I almost died laughing.

  2. The ferry sure has changed since the days of old beat up boats and crabby captains! I’m not accustomed to see all-out ferries like those, like you said, that’s something you see here in the States, we have cruises like yours here in Chicago too. LOL! Mia West, nice going… 😛

    Believe me, I’m taking your Mayaguez and San Juan experience with a BALL of salt. 🙂 However, I must say you are darn funny, and lucky you found your way to the airport in one piece. You sure sound as you were walking in Puerto Rico like a “chicken without a head”!

    Next time you are in Puerto Rico (and I know you said screw San Juan) but you must go visit again…perhaps go with someone that really knows the Island (and with a good map). You may be surprised. 🙂

    • If I had someone to show me around, I wouldn’t stumble into half as much fun as I do sometimes. I capitalize on my ignorance to make things interesting 🙂

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