Sunday, June 29, 2008
Obviously, I do realize the fact that this is not New York City and people work at a different pace. However, what annoys me is the inefficiency and lack of training that people get. The local culture doesn't place much emphasis on giving its customers the best service possible. I've lost count how many times we've gone to restaurants where the waiter just seemed to have disappeared or paid no attention to us at all. What happens is I usually don't end up ordering the dessert I usually crave so much.
It's a shame how people don't realize the importance of providing good customer service. Perhaps, they just don't want repeat customers. Recently, we had a plumber come to our house to give us an assessment of some work that needed to be done. He had promised to contact me with a quote shortly. Unfortunately, more than a week has passed, and we still haven't heard from him. "El cliente es primero" literally means "the client comes first." I'm afraid this is a principle that does not apply to the "Island of Enchantment."
(Photo credit: www.ideasparapymes.com)
Sunday, June 22, 2008
American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines, will also be cutting down or entirely eliminating some of its flights in the Caribbean. Their flights will be reduced from 38 to 18. All changes will take effect this coming September. Citing high oil prices, many airlines have been forced to alter its routes in hopes of cutting costs and coming up with solutions to improve the bottom line. Increasing airline fares and charging for checked-in baggage are such examples. Recently, US Airways even decided to charge for non-alchoholic beverages (including water!) served onboard. Isn't this just ridiculous? The going is certainly getting tougher.
If you're planning on traveling to the Caribbean, do plan ahead. From the way things look, booking early will probably be the smartest move.
(Photo Credit: wikipedia.org)
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I'd say I was pleasantly surprised to see San Juan, where I was born, receive such an accolade. While I have not traveled extensively in Central and South America, I must say San Juan is relatively prosperous and enjoys a stable political and socioeconomic environment as compared to other Latin American countries. Although I was not raised in San Juan, I do remember how it was in the past and a lot of progress has been made. This is especially true in terms of its infraestructure, and the attraction of investments by some of the world's largest corporations in the past 10 to 15 years. However, I do also see an ever increasing disparity of wealth.Interestingly, if Puerto Rico were to become the 51st state of the U.S, it would also become the poorest. According to the 2000 U.S Census Bureau, the poverty rate in Puerto Rico is almost 45%. This is more than twice that of Mississippi, which is the most destitute in the U.S, at 16%. While this latest ranking shows how progress has been made, there is room for a lot more improvement. When there's a larger number of people who are living in economically precarious situations, it will most likely result in destabilizing and undoing the marvelous achievements of the past.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Trains and bikes seem to be the most popular mode of transportation. Practically everyone owns a bike. The country is quite flat, so I guess it just makes perfect sense. I also think it's wonderful how all the towns seem to be connected by bike paths ("fietspad" in dutch). The country is said to have thousands of them. Don't get me wrong though, there still is a lot of traffic despite the exorbitant gas prices. Back here in Puerto Rico, as well as the U.S, people are complaining about paying over $1.00/liter (which amounts to around $3.50/gallon). This pales in comparison to what drivers pay in the Netherlands, where prices are nearly double.