Thursday, February 23, 2012

PR 2012

So right now I am sitting on the front porch of a Thai restaurant in Aquadilla, Puerto Rico. I am eating alone tonight, and I am expecting my Thai tapas to be delicious. Or else...

Food came quick, I had sweet potato coconut soup, very tasty with a tiny chili kick. Next ill be starting on spring rolls. I'm drinking a puertorican micro brew called santo viejo...mmmm.

Spring rolls not so good, the rice paper is soggy and they are doused in cilantro. Boo. Good sipping sauce though.

Ok, let's recap my trip so far. I arrived late Monday night and my host was kind enough to pick me up from the airport at 2am. We went back to his house and crashed fairly quickly. He lives very close to the airport.

Tuesday morning we grabbed some coffee at a tiny beatles themed coffee shop (he was friendly with the owner) and my host dropped me off at a beach called Jobos on his way to work (abt 10am...). I sat on the beach for a while, watching surfers and getting good and crispy--spf 15-- and then I asked a family to watch after my stuff while I explored a rather impressive rock at the other side of the beach's cove. The rock was sharp and dangerous and huge, but when I got to the other side of the outcropping, I got an impressive view of the north side of the island. Foam exploded around me on all sides, as the sea thundered onto the rock --which I realized was actually a huge chunk of jagged exposed coral. I was glad that I brought my tevas, and terrified of making a faceplant into the deadly sundried coral.

I went back to the beach, and leaving my bag still in the care of this family (which seemed to have grown!) I took the snorkeling gear that my host had lent me and hiked to the other side of the cove where there were fewer surfers and less chance of getting beheaded.

The snorkeling was mediocre at best, but there was some basic coral and some sea urchins. I saw two hand-sized brown fish. Meanwhile, the chop was hard and keeping myself in control was a bit of a challenge. Had this not have been a protected cove (protected by that large coral outcropping) I'm sure I would have been sucked out to sea and certain doom.

I flippered back to the shore and promptly jabbed my pinkey toe on some concealed driftwood in the sand that I promptly punished with a flick out to sea.

I limped back to my towel and nursed my part about hurting yourself at the beach is the ready disinfectant. I got some refreshment from a beachside stand and tucked into my kerouac. A few hours later I was bored and got up to take a little stroll down the beach. I threw my backpack over my shoulders (note the culprit of my peculiar burn-lines) and began a short stroll which was so beautiful and deserted that it ended up lasting about 6 hours.

Walking down the beach, I clamored over rocks, coral, shells, sand fine like flour and course like kitty litter, wet alge that felt like snot, and dry alge that was like carpet after spilled soda had dried off. All the while, the clear azul water was rushing up to shore and pulling back out I to the eternity of the sea.

After I had realized the time that was passing and the need to get home before dark, I tried finding a route home that did not require any backtracking. To the right of me was infinity, and to the left was a thickly wooded ridge, unclimbable. In front of me, I could see that the sandy beach was quickly running out, about to smack into a cliff ontop of which sat the Rafeal Hernandez airport.

Luckily, a dozen horses saddled down by fat midwesterners popped out of the forest just ahead of me. I had stumbled upon a horse trail and a guided tour to boot. I probably should have asked them for some water, as I was thirsty enough to drink the salinated poison to my right, but shame got the best if me and I didn't.

I began to climb the horse trail which didn't really seem to have that much climb about it, but at least it was headed west, which was where I needed to go eventually. After a while walking plane through the jungle, I finally came upon an intersecting jeep trail whose malaria steeped treads switched-back (switch-backed? Swatch-boke?) up the ridge. I was getting real tired and my glowing red skin was surely starting to singe the leaves I was brushing against, so I was thrilled to discover the remains of an ancient staircase leading up the remaining 100 or so feet of the ridge. I stepped lightly as the new deal concrete slabs were flaking away with vegetation splitting its way through, steadied only by the trustworthy rusted rebar.

The last few steps were more like a pullup, and as I Indiana'd my desperate hands onto sure ground, I was beyond pleased to see powerlines which I joyfully followed back to the main road and an ice cold CocaCola. Open happiness.

I walked along the main road (with which I was familiar from my drive from the airport the night before) to a supermarket (where I bought copious quantities of aloe gel and water) and back home to cold shower, hydrate, and pass out.

When my host got back, we ate dinner at a neat little place (i got chicken and red pepper soup with spinach and mushroom canneloni, warm crusty bread), and got home to crash early...ish.

Today was a whole nother story.

This morning I decided it was a good idea to try and hitchhike to Camuy where there is an underground cave system. I ended up walking for about a million hours before I realized that nobody hitches here, and nobody stops. Soo, I called it quits and turned around to head back west. My goal was to make it to Aguadilla Pueblo and check that out. Meanwhile, my crispy arms were only getting crispier and crispier. I stopped into a mcdonalds for wifi and confirmed my doubts, that I was going to die of sunpoisoning and dehydration before I ever got anywhere.

So anyway, I made it to Aguadilla Pueblo after a day of walking along the deathly hot highway, and gorged myself on corn ice cream. After that, I had enough of walking and hopped a collectivo back to the airport (ripped off, $3!) and walked from there back to my host's house where I slathered myself in aloe lotion and passed out again. I went to Thai for dinner, which is where we began, and the adventure continues. I fly home at the end of tomorrow.


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