Showing posts from May, 2012


“All the woulda-coulda-shouldas layin’ in the sun,
talkin’ ‘bout the things they woulda-coulda-shoulda done…
but all those woulda-coulda-shouldas all ran away and hid
from one little did”
-- Shel Silverstein

Though Miguel made me practice riding the 125cc scooter in the sand parking lot, I was a tad wobbly when I pulled onto 996 and continued to ride with my feet suspended outward for balance. Turning right onto 997 was awkward.  I expected it to be similar to steering a car or four-wheeler like on Santorini – using the wheel or handlebars.  But the Yamaha was more like steering a stand-up jetski, where simply leaning into a turn translated to the vehicle turning as well. Like I learned in skydiving (and it applied to all aspects of life) where your head goes, your body will follow.  I’m sure I looked unsteady as I putted down 997 and Jeeps overtook me at every opportunity.

997 looked vaguely familiar and I realized it was the same road Miguel and I traversed the night before to reach Esp…

First impressions

“What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds.  When you’re traveling you are what you are right there & then.  People don’t have your past to hold against you.  No yesterdays on the road.”
-- William Least Heat Moon from Blue Highways

After Miguel dropped off “Doug’s sodas”, he drove me to one of the three towns on the island – Esperanza – to check-in at Bananas.  The sky over the island was dark as Miguel drove me down an asphalt road (it turned out to be 997, the main vein between the two) with no edges, guardrails, or lights, through the jungle.  Even in the double-axle van we swerved to avoid the sporadic potholes & Miguel warned “Stay away from the edges [on the scooter].”

I wasn’t entirely sure that my reservation was airtight at Bananas because when I initially called two weeks ago the bartender took my name but told me to call back the next day to give my credit card information.  I called at all hours of the day &a…

Adjustments [part II]

“A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.”
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It was cold, crisp & dawn was breaking in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when I boarded my first plane.  Despite never leaving the airport, the air temperature in Atlanta, Georgia, was significantly warmer.  As before – and with all planes -- I kissed the metal frame that would skirt the Bermuda Triangle and be my vessel across the ocean.

Though slightly overcast, it was a bright day in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Still in my northern winter clothes, I changed from a zip-up hoodie, long-sleeve shirt, fleece North Face pants and tennis shoes into a blue tank top, loose gauchos, and flip-flops in the concourse.  The sliding doors opened up and I emerged into the warm, humid breeze.  Unbeknownst to me at the time of booking, Thrifty Rental’s office was off-site from Aeropuerto Internacional Luis Munoz Marin a.k.a. San Juan International Airport.  The shuttle bus wa…

Adjustments [part I]

On a Monday – the day after I booked my flight & two weeks prior to my departure date – I started laying the groundwork for my trip but ended up completely striking out. First I called the Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales a.k.a. Department of Natural Resources (hereafter and locally referred to as "the DRNA") since travel books stressed having reservations at campsites. The automated system was entirely in Spanish – I was able to get the gest of the prompts thanks to my years of exposure to the language – and although I pushed the correct buttons, the phone just rang. So I tried the cargo ferry which would take my rental car from the main island to Vieques. Again, the phone endlessly rang. I hung up and attempted Blue Caribe (a bio-bay tour company). At least this time I was able to leave a message. Wanting to secure this tour I also called Abe’s Snorkeling but was forced to leave a message as well.

Three days passed and I had not heard from the compani…