10 Rules of the Road - How to be a good BMX House guest
BMX Travellers Respecting The Local Connection in Puerto Rico
9 Mar 2015
Story and Photos by Wes McGrath.
Well, I think it's safe to say that most of us have experienced quite a few different housing situations while on the road. Some for the better and others for the worse, but it seems like no matter where you go or where you stay there is a certain understanding of how to treat each individual living situation, as a guest in someone else's environment. Wether it be a mosquito infested, windowless sweat box of a bike shop or a cozy family home with mom and pop greeting you everyday, you better know how to act so your friends and more importantly your hosts don't get fed up quickly! But really who wouldn't want a pack of grungy ass grown men in their home for weeks on end?!
For these 10 rules to be relevant though you must know a local rider willing to put you up and show you around. Thankfully on a recent trip to Puerto Rico, myself, Tony Malouf and Jeff Wescott experienced the up most hospitality, the best I've ever had on the road. Thanks to our original benefactor, Angel Rivera, or more formally known to us as El Indio. Angel is a workingman, living in the southern part of the Island in a town called Ponce (yep..). At the ripe age of 30 he knew Puerto Rico like the back of his hand, and knew exactly how to make sure we had the proper hook up on his island.
So, If you've had trouble in the past or are looking to make some good impressions on your next trip, see if this quick list can help!
01: Sometimes it's difficult to yield our personal habits... but always remember to pay attention to your host and make sure to respect their habits and don't be yourself too strongly too soon. Get a good feel for the environment your visiting.
02: Usually you won't have much room to stretch out and have your own space... so keep your belongings clean and collected. Keep those day old boxers out of eyesight!
03: Have you have heard the saying, 'save some for the fishes!?'... Water heaters aren't endless pools of nice hot water, that shit runs out! With multiple dudes in one bathroom things can get pretty grimy rather quickly… Shower fast and sufficiently, it's not like you're going out with a girl or anything, well maybe if you're lucky!
04: If you have the pleasure of having a legit kitchen or cooking area... you better make food for the owner of the place and make that kitchen shine a bit more brightly then when you started. You know if there is a mom in the house, a clean kitchen is automatic style points!
05: If you're lucky enough to get some female action as apart of your trip... do everyone a favor and go to her house!
06: Always respect the house's routine... don't be that dude still on the couch well after the rest of the crew is up and about.
07: If you're a clean freak, then that's up to you how to handle everyone else's mess... But if your one of the smelly guys in the van, don't be afraid to take a shower!
08: Intoxicants can be part of the everyday happenings... but keep any illegal substances to yourselves (or out of someone's house altogether if it seems inappropriate) and if you have some booze you better offer some of your libations to the roommates so you're not the only one drinking.
09: Nowadays there is quite an array of diets on any given road trip... from the McDonald's eating cheap beer guzzling rider, to the gluten-free, granola filled coffee sipping hippie. Whichever category you may fall under don't allow it to get on the nerves of others, just because it's your way of life doesn't mean it has to be anyone else's…
10: If you manage to make it all the way through your trip with no troubles... and the hosts turn into your friends, make sure to offer them the same hospitality in the future. It's amazing the friendships bmx can bring a random group of strangers!
"Every time I saw the Dig logo, I thought more and more about the instant click we all have as riders, so the tattoo just made sense!" - Angel
So thanks to Angel, on the first full day we were introduced to Nicolas Ryan, whom we stayed with the remainder of the trip. Nicholas or “Nico" for short, is an 18-year-old rider from the town of Cayey, a small town located just 30 minutes south of San Juan. We were surprised on how well he immediately fitted in with our crew. Born in Miami, but raised in Puerto Rico since age 3, he's a white kid with long hair and similar attire to ours and most importantly, fluent in both english and Puerto Rican spanish. Being in a country that mainly speaks a language that is foreign to you can be a huge hurdle in trying to accomplish any goal while you are there. Perfectly for us, Nico blended in with us and our "tourist-like" appearance but totally had our backs and even caught bystanders off guard when they realized that he could understand everything they were saying. Needless to say, he was the man.
We had no idea the great time we were about to be a part of, the house we stayed in was so hospitable to our needs, the Fortunado family welcomed us with open arms and love. They couldn't have been anymore helpful to our adventure, filling our heads with stories and tales of the island, leading us to corners of PR we would never realize were there or experience for ourselves...
Before we knew it our uncertainties were set straight, a great location, a couple locals showing us the spots and the culture! All we had left to do was get up, down some Rawr! Super Foods goodness and worry only about riding, that in itself is priceless… We ate the food, found the spots, drank the rum and climbed the language barrier that allowed us to see the islands' people and culture in a realistic way. Made possible by our two main locals, Nicolas Ryan and Angel Rivera.
So next time your traveling, be open to the ever changing environment your engulfed in, you never know who you'll meet and who knows you just might leave with some new life long friends!
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