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Showing posts from 2012

Over the edge

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"What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land... wandering around our America has changed me more than I thought. I am not me any more. At least I'm not the same me I was." -- Ernesto "Che" Guevera
The publico I split with another couple lodged at Alta Vista was actually a white, 12-passenger van.It was not a short bus like I imagined.Jorge – the driver – asked each of us our thoughts on Vieques.Obviously, no one had a bad comment.Jorge & I continued charlar en espanol a.k.a. to chat in Spanish.I wondered if the young, American couple that sat together in the row behind was able to deduce any part of our conversation.I asked about Jorge’s family and vice-versa.He was married with a young child and surprised -- like so many people prior – upon hearing I traveled to Puerto Rico solitary.In Isabel II a.k.a. Isabel Segunda I paid Jorge and includ…

Vini, vedi, vici

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I came, I saw, I conquered Vieques… or was it the other way around?I started the day with ten, long, clean fingernails.I ended the day with zero. I cannot recall how many hours I spent at Playa Media Luna a.k.a. HalfMoonBeach entranced by the tide pools, waving grass, wispy clouds and bay’s colors.Despite caking myself in SPF 50, I could not ward off the sun.My forearms were so hot and felt so uncomfortable I wondered if I really could fry an egg on them. I knew I would be unprotected again on the trails, so I put my Marmot back on.I continued along the singular trail that commenced at Sombe, lead to Media Luna and finished at – one of the locals’ favorite playas -- Navio.In the last 36 hours on Vieques I acquired more of a feel for the scooter but halted at a mudpit the entire width of the dirt road to analyze the situation.I noted three consecutive, enormous potholes in my path. An angel & a devil appeared on my shoulders to begin the debate.
Angel:You should turn back, Michelle.
De…

A tale of two beaches

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“What you fall in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." -- Pedro Arrupe
Like yesterday, I was too excited to sleep in.  Since the group from Abe’s Snorkeling’s all-in-one tour gelled so well, Steve invited everyone to breakfast at the house he was renting for the week.  John & Elena planned on attending but the three young ladies had to catch the ferry back to the mainland.  As much as I wanted to meet with the gang again, I had a list of things to do/arrange in the morning so it was not feasible.  Still euphoric from the bioluminescent bay, I couldn’t fathom that I had another glorious day to explore the wonders of Vieques!
Like most hotels, check-out was at 11:00 but guests …

Fire & water

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Within ten minutes, everybody in the “all-in-one” tour met everybody else and exchanged brief histories.  I was relieved there weren’t herds of people.  There were three, lobster pink girls on spring break from Northwestern University who admittedly got way too much sun the day before on the Puerto Rican island of Culebra; there was a soft-spoken married couple – Elena & John – who loved the bioluminescent bay so much yesterday, they were back for more; there was Elizabeth – our personable guide – and her friend from her hometown, Steve The Magician. 
We all piled into the large, white van with its cracked windshield, missing interior door handles, busted dashboard, ripped upholstery and steering wheel held together by duct tape.  Behind us, Beth towed the kayaks.  Our first stop was “the green store” -- a corner store before the 996/997 split – to load up on liquids and snacks.
Being solo, I sat shotgun.  I was surprised when the van turned right into Sun Bay/Sombe (locally) bal…