Summing up experience in PR

It's goin to be a year since I moved to PR (permanently excluding previous trips), and I would like to share the experience, view and my perception.
Moving in PR and finding place to stay was a struggle. First of all, people usually set up appointment, or if agreed to rent me the place just wouldn't show up or suddenly stop to respond..(why should they - they already rented place out, so why should they let you know, right?). This blowing off I realized through the time is a norm here, so be ready nothing is wrong with you, it a normal thing here. Nothing personal.
I will omit the comments on cleanliness or quality...
I am very low key and adjust and can clean place myself, but many people I know wouldn't walk in some of those places. (Previous renters hair in shower won't throw me off.) Also you may find uninvited roommates unavoidable - after all, what do you expect, you are on the tropical island. (Worst thing I found in the night (regardless of sealed door and screens in window) was centipede (no its not that funny small centipede - so look it up yourself what is centipede in PR and how bite can get you. I won't count spiders big as palm, cockroaches and such, trust me - centipede is to worry about. So if you are more sensitive type - armor yourself.  Places usually come without fridge, washer (one can use Walmart service - ( no they don't pay me to say it) or get your own if you can hook it up.
Places are usually (but you might get lucky) without furniture, electricity or water - you get to do those on your own.
(Well on the end I found good place and reliable landlord).
People here usually drive with music loud full blast on even in the night - thing to consider when you looking for place to stay.
In PR is necessary to have a car. Uber works so far only in San Juan. Buying car turn out to be another problem. I am not an exception who bought a car in good condition and maintained that gave up in few months. So back to looking for another car. With consideration of the habit of PR people blowing off the appointments - texted the seller day before to confirm time and place. Received confirmation. Confirmed person who should pick me up. Next day walked to the person who should drive me to find out they can't... Frustrated walked in tropical Sun whole way to the seller. Got there on time. Called to announce Im there - to be told he is on the other side of island ... Had to reschedule...
I think you got the idea...
Gas stations usually close for nights, so if you live off SJ, keep it in mind.
Few words about car repairs...its hard to find place or mechanic you can trust. First of all - you can buy used parts, but you may get really burn by doing so and especially junk yards are places I learnt to avoid and not trust - they will sell you wrong part for different car type and refuse to refund...
Also some mechanics will fix your problem - but leave you with broken two other things like odometer that will stop counting ;) later they will just shrug off their shoulders...and that's where it ends.
Or you can ship your own car for few thousands, pay extra few thousands tax and spend few days in nonefficient PR government system trying to get your car..
Police... Well got ticket with my rental car for parking (the only car in the line) 150$. Went to government office (where they issue ID, do car title transfer, and you can pay tickets) just to be told I can't pay ticket. Worker won't receive it. Policeman did poor job, was lazy and ticket is unreadable..lucky you would think? .. but ticket is on the rental company... Government worker won't bother with it anymore and give me ticket back...
But while waiting there I seen very upset man screaming at window - turn out he is Puerto Rican from USA on his vacation, his ID and DL expiring and in two days he needs to fly back to Connecticut and is trying to get new ID so he can board plane. What's the problem? He waited in line since 4am. Only first 70 people will get the privilege to be issued stare documents. He was 71st person in the line and mercilessly turned away.
Its normal. Here. Got used to the impossibility and endless lines in government. Got used to waiting forever to get to window being told Im missing document (no they won't have any information on what you need anywhere), to do it all over just to be told I am missing another piece of paper...and yet another. Private sector isn't much better...
Btw, you need SSN if you want to start internet line... Just to save you two trips.
But back to police... speeding ticket is 150$ plus 5$ per every mile over. And when writing you this ticket - this is the only time I ever seen police talking in English. When you get hit staying on red lights by truck driver of Olein company who appears to be under influence, police won't speak English, they will not even talk to you, they will talk to only the Puerto Rican guys from car (where driver poses as he was the passenger and passenger will give his DL to police. Police won't do their job (but say they did all per protocol) and Puerto Rican company will avoid paying any damages they caused. I was stuck with damage. Of course police will be pushing you to sign paperwork in Spanish...
But if you made a conclusion this "special treatment" is due to the fact Im "gringa" you would be wrong. This disfunctuonal service police provide to its own citizens as well. Apparently drunk driver (so he appeared to all witnesses - except to policeman) who could barely stand drive into property (house on the road) where it nearly pinned a little boy standing on the walk. If not for swift action of his mother who grabbed and pulled a boy so ended up "only" with wound on his head. Driver was never tested for alcohol and ended up with slap on wrist by court as mother insisted on some further action by legal system. (The boy could have been killed by drunk driver...) Drinking is problem here, you will see people drinking while driving all the time.
About driving- potholes are problem, but are less and less since the roads are getting finally fixed. (It wasn't before Maria). People consider red lights and stop signs "optional" all the time. You can apparently park here in opposite direction without problem and whenever wherever (unless you drive a rental car!!!).
Transferring money from usa - thats another awful headache!!! Forget about false advertisement and lies of western union, they are not capable to deliver money over 1000$ (you might bet lucky and find a place where you get paid maybe1200$ - if you know someone who knows someone - in PR lots of thongs goes through contacts and connections) Western Union will refuse to refund the charge (that was another battle to get that 115$ fee for service they can't provide - so even USA companies will give you shady treatment and experience) best advice I would give you is to open bank account with one of larger banks. I asked around and was recommended Banco Popular. But again don't rely on what they say - there is no fee for this or that...so you won't be surprised id "free service" comes with 30 - 40$ charge" ... Just go with the flow... the extra surprise charges of thing you sure asked two bank workers and been told are free - that's the least of the problems... I just smile about it. After all Im living here for while now and know better.
Once you find place to live, reliable car, reliable mechanic, and survive the government...so you don't need anything anymore from anyone....last danger is - you may fall in love with PR. Its like this hot 🔥 hot person whom you love even though she/he is total mess.

I loved your story. I'm in the process of selling my condo and my car in Florida to move there to Puerto Rico ASAP. Everything sounds exciting and I can't wait to experience the diversity.

Thank you for sharing your experience.  Sounds like in some areas, maybe more due diligence on your part too could have avoided some pitfalls, but it happens and i anticipate some of those mishaps, because some things you just have to learn thru experience, especially if there isnt set protocols and things are kinda up in the air based on who you encounter.  I hope it continues to get better!

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