“Puerto Ricans Are Loud”

On a recent trip to Puerto Rico with my friend Monica, I was curious to know why Puerto Ricans are stereotyped as being “loud”,

The island of PR is small.  My friend told me that sometimes it doesn’t even show on maps.  A simple Google search of various maps made me aware that this is indeed true.  Depending on the map publisher, the island of PR may not exist at all.  It makes me wonder, since the Lesser Antilles are much smaller islands than PR, why is it that the archipelago appears on the map?  Perhaps because it’s a grouping of islands? Most likely… Other times, PR does appear, but it’s so small, there is no room to add its name. It’s just a drawing of an unnamed piece of land.  So, it’s just another little piece of land in the Caribbean Sea.

I was told about the “coqui” – a tiny little frog that sings at night. It’s so tiny, you can’t see it.  And what a beautiful song it sings! Their singing is loud, especially in areas with lots of vegetation. And even though you may think that one is close to you and you go looking for it, you will not see it.

One day, I heard a sound coming from a tree nearby.  I asked what it was and my friend was prompt to tell me that it was a múcaro.  “What is a múcaro?”, I asked.  “It’s an owl, only very small and you won’t be able to see it”, said my friend.  It measures about 9 inches!

I had also heard about the Puerto Rican parrot, considered to be a “critically endangered species”.  I asked my friend about this native bird – what it looked like; how big was it; how many there were – and I learned that the efforts in trying to breed them have been somewhat successful and that they mostly live in the rain forest, where they are protected.  They are green and they are very small, so unless you see them flying in a flock, you won’t be able to see them at all.

We then visited the Camuy Caves – the third largest underground river system in the world – and a tour inside these magnificent caves revealed that in the water ponds inside the cave, there lives an almost microscopic “shrimp”, almost transparent in color and blind.  Which means, you can’t see it.

It was fun to watch the green iguanas roaming everywhere, but my friend quickly clarified that green iguanas are not native to PR.  They were introduced and have become an invasive nuisance. Puerto Rico does have some endemic iguanas – the large ones measuring up to 6 ft are found in other islands that are part of the Puerto Rican archipelago.  The one found in the main island in everyone’s yard is a much smaller version of the iguana as we know it.

So, it would be safe to say that everything in Puerto Rico is small, sometimes so small, you can’t see things.

As I learn more about the political relationship Puerto Rico has with the United States, things start to make sense.

Puerto Rico is a colony of the US and has been for over 100 years.  Prior to that, PR was a colony of Spain for about 400 years.  So, aside from when it used to be Boriken (a free Taino Indian-inhabited pre-Colombian island), Puerto Rico has been the “little guy” owned by the “big guys”.  And its people are confused about which direction to go: independent country, a state of the nation or a “free but independent state” or commonwealth of the US.

Puerto Ricans are American citizens.  They travel and move to and from other states as any other American citizen would.  Yet, they are “invisible”, or should I call them the Invisible Americans?  They are considered immigrants when they clearly are not.  Or when discussing issues related to Latinos or Hispanics, most of the discourse and rhetoric used by the media relates to Mexicans or at a lesser extent, Cubans.  So, within the Hispanic population, they are bulked into one main category – if you’re Hispanic then you must be Mexican; and when acknowledged as Puerto Rican, then they are considered immigrants.  Even worse, sometimes they are completely mistaken by whole different nationality altogether – Costa Ricans.  No. Wait! There is something worse: Internet purchases.

When purchasing over the Internet on a “international” site, when you scroll down to find your country, PR is not in the list.  When you use US as your country (because it is a US territory), and you go about to enter your address and state, oops, there is no PR state (because it is not a state).  So Puerto Ricans are invisible even in the World Wide Web!

From my friend, and my trip to PR, I have learned some amazing things about PR and its people.  Here is a short list of well-known “facts” commonly heard from Puerto Ricans:

– Puerto Rican coffee is the best in the world. It’s so good, this is the coffee that the Pope drinks. Some say it’s the oficial coffee of the Vatican.

– The Camuy Caves System is the 3rd largest underground river system in the world.

– The Arecibo Observatory? The largest radiotelescope in the world!

– El Yunque? The ONLY rain forest in the US National Forest System

– The Bioluminiscent Bay is something else! There are 5 in the world and PR has 3 of them!

– Some of the beaches have been rated the best in the world

– The San Juan Cathedral and San Jose Church are the two oldest churches in the Western Hemisphere

– La Fortaleza is the oldest (continuously working) executive mansion in the New World.

– El Morro and San Marcos Fortresses are the oldest in the US

– Old San Juan is a UNESCO site as well as various other places in PR

– Walmart Puerto Rico broke selling records of all Walmart stores

– ‘Plaza Las Americas’ mall in San Juan is the most profitable mall per square foot in the world and the largest mall in the entire Caribbean Basin.

– Puerto Rico is the country with the most cars per square mile in the world: 146 vehicles per street mile and 4,300 vehicles per square mile.

– The highest grossing Borders book store in US was located in Plaza Las Americas Mall.  Too bad they closed. It was my favorite store too!

– The busiest Toys “R” Us in the world is also in Plaza Las Americas

– The highest grossing Sears store in the World is in Puerto Rico.

– The highest selling Kmart in the US is in Puerto Rico.

– The Radio Shack store in Plaza Las Americas mall is the busiest and highest grossing Radio Shack in the world.

– The largest JC Penney store in the world (a full 4 stories) is located at Plaza Las Americas mall

– Piña Colada was “born” in PR in 1954.

– Puerto Rico has won the Miss Universe pageant a record five times.

– The place in the world with more pharmaceutical companies per square mile is Puerto Rico.

– There are about 1,100 people per square mile, a ratio higher than within any of the 50 states in the United States.

– Puerto Rico is the third country in the world with more physicians in proportion to its population.

– The longest pool in the world is located in a hotel in Dorado, PR. (The hotel is currently closed).

– It is estimated that there is more Nickel in the mountains of Puerto Rico than the whole United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

– The state of Florida was discovered by Puerto Rico’s first governor, Don Juan Ponce de Leon.

– The first shot fired by the United States in World War I was in Puerto Rico by Lt. Teofilo Marxuach.

– 86% of the rum consumed in the world is from Puerto Rico – Bacardi

– Puerto Rico has one of the world’s highest productivity ratios.

– Puerto Rico ranks 6th in the world when it comes to college graduates

– Puerto Rico has more gas stations, churches, cars, roads, and Walgreens per square mile than any other country in the world.

– The second radio station to be inaugurated in the US was in PR. Sally Jesse Raphael’s first gig in the media was in PR.

– The first Emmy went to Puerto Rican Jose Ferrer, who also got the Academy award for the same role.

– Rita Moreno (from PR) received both of those and one for Best Actress in a Broadway show. No one else has matched that.

– The most outstanding soldier in Europe at the end of the Second WW was chosen from the Puerto Rican 65th Infantry. (See BorinqueneersCongressional Gold Medal Alliance at http://www.65thcgm.org)

So, I’ve been thinking:

Like in Alice in Wonderland, when you visit PR, everything will seem small to you, because they are small.  So, when you hear a Puerto Rican talking loud, remember that they are like their coqui frog – sometimes invisible, but loud enough to always be heard.

344 comments on ““Puerto Ricans Are Loud”

  1. I love love to things like this….history …..correct history and facts are SO essential……I learn something new about my Puerto Rican Taino roots every time I click a link…….makes me prouder of who I am …..OUTSTANDING material

  2. I’m pretty sure that coquis aren’t that small than a baseball. Besides, actually Puerto Ricans can be louder as you never had seen before (or you’d seen it). I’ve been for 5 years living in Puerto Rico and the students at middle school are basically louder as a coqui. I do hate about how puerto rico is gross and ungrateful for americans to live in the exact country and I never should’ve believe in those liars who are puerto ricans that are completely egoist to think about that Puerto Rico DOES IT BETTER, MAKES IT BETTER, ect.

    I am American, I was born in USA Florida West Palm Beach. Technically, Puerto Rico is terrible for me to live in that pity grossing place that there’s nothing comfortable for me to keep living like this. By the way, Puerto Rico is nothing better for any other people to live like I am. I wish I can go back to my own country…

    • NO ONE, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE is keeping you in PR. And I truly truly doubt that “your country” is mainland USA because your English is very far from being correct. Your English grammar is absolutely horrendous! You’re a teacher, you said? You need to go back to school and learn “your” language a little better. Perhaps that will help with your self-esteem and respect for others, both of which you obviously lack.

      • Hi Christian….
        Are you for real? Are you a teacher? American? What do you mean by that? American are all the people that live in both continents North and South America…learn that in school? You have not seen a coqui? Yes, they are tiny and brown not green…please go back to Miami, the pits of the USA, you’ll be happy with all the mixes there….You do not seem very smart nor able to adapt or appreciate other cultures even though I sense that you are puertorican either birth or by mistake. we are not loud, we are happy and eager to express ourselves. It is also obvious you are not a well traveled person and have not experienced other cultures in their home ground…..you should not be allowed to express yourself in these forums, you are a sad case of ignorance

    • Christian, we pity you.

      The previous postings have clarified plenty already, and justly. I will only add, that had you indeed lived in Puerto Rico long enough, you would have fared far better in your grasp of the English language. Puerto Rico has a fine education system, and the teachings of the English language is not only mainstream, but also an education that would have been very advantageous to you kind sir.

      Many blessings, and my you find yourself back on your own blessed soil, so that you may start over, and find your grace, respect, and courage again to behave as educated gentleman among the civilized American population.

  3. Pingback: Para que se te hinche el corazón! | Arte Es Puerto Rico

  4. PEOPLE, PLEASE, Grow up! You are as limited, as hand tied, as second class, etc., etc., as you let yourself be. It is up to you not to be. If there is anything you want to achieve, it is up to you to go get it. We are not a group of cowards, or are we? Talk, talk, talk…get it done and stop putting ourselves down. This wonderful blog has given us more to be proud of and what are we doing? Bitch fest, that is all. It matters not who is right or wrong. Get together and enjoy the pride that comes from being a PROUD PUERTO RICAN…Dog gonnet. Nothing will chance until WE change it…not anyone else, WE THE PEOPLE, from here or there. GOD BLESS PUERTO RICO!

    • I agree with you, Esmeralda. I am in awe at how much PRicans put themselves down. It reminds me of the psychological fact that the more you tell a child he’s stupid, the more he believes it and grows up to be a loser. Is this what’s happening? PRicans have been told or made feel for over a century how worthless they are, so they actually believe it and don’t take/feel pride on their accomplishments? It’s like a gorgeous woman being told how gorgeous she is but she responds with “omg! I’m so not! I have dark circles, and fat rolls, and a pimple (that no one can see), and a bump on the back of my head (covered by hair), and I’m size 34A (as opposed to double Ds) and my hands are too big, and blah blah blah.” You get the hint. OMG! Enough! Listen to yourselves speak, is what I say! :-)

  5. A couple of other facts about Puerto Rico:
    – PR is one of the corners of the Bermuda Triangle
    – The north coast of PR has the second deepest trench in the world
    – Puerto Rico is the oldest colony in modern history

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