Sunday, February 25, 2018

Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

Culebra, Puerto Rico
January 3, 2018

I looked online before we left for things I'd be interested in seeing. One of them was on Culebra, another island near the main island, so I wasn't quite sure we'd be able to make it or that the others would be up for it was well. Luckily, everyone was okay with making the journey. Our next issue was trying to figure out if we'd be able to take the van to and from the island. We woke up late and barely made it in time but we were able to get a spot for the van on the ferry. We still weren't sure if we'd get one back because you can't book it ahead of time, but we thought we'd take the risk. The port was very close to the Fajardo Inn, which was convenient. The ferry ride from the port to Culebra was about an hour. I tried to take photos on the ferry, but my lens fogged up. I was freaking out that something had actually happened to the camera and was viciously searching the internet for advice on what could have happened. I'm guessing it just fogged up because about 30 minutes later it was fine. Thank goodness.
When we arrived in Culebra we were all hungry because we hadn't eaten breakfast. We decided to eat at a little hostel/restaurant called Mamacitas. The restaurant didn't open until 11, so we had to wait for a little bit, but we took the time to admire the channel and the giant fish inside it. I ordered the shrimp quesadilla, and it was delicious, but it took a while for it to be served. Since we needed to return to the port by 3, we were a little bit behind schedule for hanging out at the beach.
After lunch we headed towards Flamenco Beach. Yeny let us drive with the van doors open so that I could take photos from the van, but I didn't get many because the motion shots didn't come out very well. The abandoned tanks were on Flamenco Beach, but when we arrived we realized they were at the complete opposite end. It took me some time to decide whether I'd have enough time to walk there and back before we needed to leave. Everyone kept encouraging me to just go for it, so Sherlly and I grabbed some waters and took off. We were making great time, but about half way we were stopped by a military man who told us that side of the beach was closed. I was so upset because it was one of the few things I wanted to see. I'm still not sure if it was closed because of the hurricane or some other reason, but it was just my luck that it would happen.
Sherlly and I returned to our beach spot, and despite telling myself I wasn't going to go swimming because of the medication I was on I just decided to go for it, but made sure I applied sunscreen whenever I could. I'm glad I went for it because the waves were so big and the water was so clear. I tried to keep my head dry but we were knocked over by a big wave so I just gave up trying to fight nature. When I say we were knocked down I really mean it. It took a while for me to resurface after one of the waves. It was fun though, and I wasn't mad.
We were able to get a spot for the van on the ferry back. We passed the time by playing a game I used to play with my classes in Russia where we'd think of a movie and the other people would ask yes or no questions to try to guess what the movie was. It actually took up most of the trip, but you could tell we were over it towards the end. Since we weren't staying on Culebra, we drove back to Arecibo which was a couple hours away. We stopped at one restaurant in Mata de Platano because the entire strip had electricity. The food was kind of pricey, but I was able to get a discount because there were tons of bugs that flew into my soup. I hope to god I didn't eat any of the bugs. When we arrived back at Yeny's house we spent the evening talking on the porch until we were all ready to go to sleep.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Puerto Rico Pt. 3

Puerto Real, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
January 2, 2018 

In my previous post, I mentioned that we drove to the Fajardo Inn the night before. We ate lunch at the Mexican restaurant on site, and then spent the whole afternoon at the pool. There isn't much to write about because that's all we did. Apparently the hotel had an even bigger pool, but we didn't go to that one, which was fine because I didn't really go swimming. I am currently on medication, and I'm not allowed in the sun, so I was constantly applying sunscreen and I was afraid to take off the sun hat I was wearing. However, that's normal because I'm like a ghost and turn red at the slightest exposure to sun.
That night we wanted to go out, but, since most of the island was still without power, we found it hard to try to find something to do. We ended up just getting dinner and stopping at Walmart for food to make the following day. My trip to Puerto Rico was definitely more relaxed than many of the vacations I've taken. I'm used to rushing around and sight seeing, but I won't complain. It was definitely a nice break to relax in the sun, especially since Cleveland was being pounded with bone-chilling temperatures and snow!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Puerto Rico Pt. 2

January 1, 2018

I woke up before everyone on New Year's Day, and I had intentions of taking photos, but I realized my shutter was really loud and didn't want to wake other people up. I sat on the porch for about an hour and a half - no phone, no connection to the outside world - and it was actually really nice to be disconnected for once. I'm constantly on my phone, and I hate it, but it's really hard to put it away. When everyone woke up we had breakfast of french toast and eggs, cleaned the house, and packed to leave. While I was waiting I went out and took photos of the property and the surrounding area because it was so beautiful and I wanted to remember it.
We realized the vans tire was flat, and Julio wasn't able to fix it, so we drove a little bit down the road to a guy who was a mechanic. He was able to blow up the tire and Julio fixed the rest. While we were waiting we decided to take pictures and pretend we were helping. Since we were up in the mountains there were amazing views all around us of the mountains and the lakes below us. I was amazed how many houses were built into the sides. I would have been terrified to live in a house hanging off the side of the mountain.
After Julio fixed the tire, we stopped and took pictures of the dam. I was surprised we could take pictures there because in Russia, and I believe in the USA, it's completely forbidden. We then drove to another part of the island, Penuelas, to see the band Rumba Caliente play. The band was really fun to watch, and if you ever get a chance you should see them (they play in the continental USA too!). After the concert we drove to Puerto Real to stay at the Fajardo Inn. One good thing about Puerto Rico being so small is that you can cover more ground than you could most other places.
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