“Risk more than others think is safe.
  Care more than others think is wise.

  Dream more than others think is practical.
  Expect more than others think is possible.”
-- Cadet Maxim
Although this is not the end of my web log, it is the end of detailing Puerto Rico.  Here are my generalizations to help ease the risk involved when navigating Puerto Rico (and, possibly, the world):

Tip #1  Intersections are generally well-marked.  All other road conditions: not so much.

Tip #2  A somewhat winding road on a map is actually a very winding road.

Tip #3  Haciendas definitely were not open in March.

Tip #4  Everyone was out to scrape some cash – you may very well go broke 50 cents at a time.

Tip #5  Most businesses explicitly refer you to someone else whether you asked for advice or not. For example, when I inquired about El Canon de San Cristobal, one company was happy to also arrange lodging for me at a place where they just so happened to know the owner.  This process defeats the purpose of a genuine recommendation!

Tip #6  A young woman in Puerto Rico will drive the Latin cassanovas loco a.k.a. crazy & could probably secure quite a few free drinks (amongst other things).

Tip #7  Often times roads split -- without warning.  To ease the sudden dilemma "left or right?" I always stayed on the road with the same type of pavement.  If you are on bumpy road, stay on bumpy road.  If you are on dark bitumen, veer towards the equally dark bitumen.

Tip #8  With all things of importance, the earlier you arrive the better the experience!

After she read about my rapelling/climbing excursion at El Canon de San Cristobal & its effect on my blood sugar, my Grandma Marilyn commented “For all the risks you take, it’s a wonder you’re still alive.”  It is a wonder – a miracle, in fact, for which I am grateful every day. 

On a whim I moved to South Carolina, having only been dating my [now ex-]boyfriend for two months.  Yes, it seemed like the perfect precursor to a Maury Povich drama.  My best friend, Angie, asked a lot of skeptical questions.  My coworkers cocked their heads and gave me their crooked mouth, that’s-a-horrible-idea look.  Even my usually-supportive mother shunned the move… but not my Grandma Marilyn. On the contrary, she was the only person in my life who condoned it.  Condone might not be the accurate word, but she certainly voiced her understanding & support for her eldest granddaughter fleeing to another state with her boyfriend.  I’m sure I did not acknowledge her impact at the time, but I was (& still am) so thankful for just having one person rooting for me.

Thank you Grandma Marilyn for vigorously reading my blog & singing its praises to the world. Thank you for the summers spent camping in Gualala, which taught me to enjoy nature’s company.  Thank you for collecting and displaying (in your home) driftwood, glowing sea glass, patterned seashells and other organic trinkets that captivated me more than I probably led on. Thank you for hoisting me onto the picnic table when we were chased by wild boars – it was my first encounter with untamed animals that I remember.
Throughout our existence as children – and into adulthood – we never fathom that our parents and grandparents had a life before we were born.  Recently, I learned that my grandmother flew from Ohio to California in a single-engine, single-prop Cessna.  Can you imagine leaving your entire family at home as you stepped into a flying tin can to cross 3,300 kilometers?  I think I know where my unbridled spirit stems from.