Puerto Rico

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Jehan DeFonseka, Rob Crowell, and Emily King journied to the distant isle of Puerto Rico during spring break. The results: many dirty clothes, which have been washed; tans/sunburns, which are fading in the lack of sun; and a journal, documenting the voyage, which follows.

3/25/06-3/27/06 Flight/San Juan/Vieques

The trip to San Juan was fairly uneventful. Amazingly, we were able to leave 4E along with Bader at around 8:15. We caught the 9:00 Fung Wah, which did not have the same rotten fish smell that it did the last time we went to NY. About 20 minutes into the trip, we stopped because the panel which covered the air duct came loose and the lady sitting underneath it wouldn't stop bitching. I beleive "Go take a bath" was one of her better insults to the other passangers, who were equally annoyed with her. After about 10 minutes of the bus driver trying to fix it, Bader and I switched seats with her, but I really wanted to tell her to go sit at the back of the bus, not becuase she was black, but because Rob and Emily were sitting there and I thought it would have been amusing.

The flight over was pretty above average. ***Side note: Gordita-a fat young girl*** This gordita provided much amusement in the terminal after marry/fuck/kill got old and this AA worker told us to move because "it's not a sitting area. It's a walkway." So we moved in ront of a couple of emergency exit doors and Emily read to us while Gordita took pictures of us with her camera phone and then proceeded to jump up and down, making the entire floor shake. After boarding the plane, we were served a meal (gasp!) and drinks several times. To top it all off, teh stewardesses were pretty awesome, on occasion spontaneously breaking into dance in the aisles.

After landing and collecting our luggage, we realized it was time to address an issue which we had been ignoring--we had no place to stay that night. Our first thought was to find a cheap hotel to stay in, but the lowest price quoted to us was $200, and we didn't feel like paying 10% of our allocated budget on the first night. Renting a car to sleep in was not an option either, nor was sleeping in the airport, as none of us are 21, and much to our chagrin, the airport closes. We spoke to a few workers at the airport (in Spanish!) who informed us that Isla Verde would be a beach on which we could camp. However, upon closer inspection (after taking a publico over there), it seemed that either the beach was private or sketchtastic. As such, we began the adventure of finding a place to stay. Basically, we wandered from hotel to hotel asking for help. Some of the concierges were quite helpful, calling other hotels to see if they had rooms, and even trying to get us discounts, as we were looking tired and desperate, epeically Rob, who had slept (according to him) 15 hours in the last week. The Holiday Inn turned out to be our saving grace. Upon calling, we were quoted $209. When we showed up there, the guy, after seeing how pitiful we looked, quoted $17o. However, as we informed him that it was still outside our feasibility range, he recommended a small guest house for us to stay in, in which the prices were more reasonable. We headed over to check it out, got lost along the way, forgot its name, and as such returned to the Holiday Inn to get better directions. Finding the place he described, the receptionist informed us that they were full for the night, and we returned to the Holiday Inn defeated once again, and at this point willing to take the $270 offer. We, however, first appealed to the concierge's pity again, describing how we were very poor college students, and he somehow got us a room for $115 for the night, which we happily accepted. It was 1:30 AM, so we crashed pretty quickly, and woke for our early taxi to Fajardo and then Vieques.

We took a pubico to Fajardo, which lasted about an hour. Purchasing ferry tickets was not a problem, and we enjyed the leisurely 50 minute ride to the island. once there, we were attacked by publico drivers ho desperately wanted fares, but we wanted to explore the city first. Save for the lighthouse ruins, there was nothing much to see and we stopped at a small restaurant to grab brunch. The waitresses were wearing shirts with the slogan, "Gread food, good drinks, and bad girls," which was humorous because there were probably around 65 years old. After lunch, we returned to the dock hoping to catch a ride to our campground, but found two vacationers there who told us that they had been trying to get a taxi for a while with no luck--apparently the taxi drivers didn't work Sundays, which was troubling to us because our campgroud was about 6 miles away, and we were carrying quite a bit of stuff with us. Lucky for us, a single publico appeared out of the nothingness, ans we all piled in. On the ride to Martineau Bay (destination of the two men) we learned that one had gone to colege in Boston and was now living in New Hampshire. H was expoundng on the virtues of the "Miracle of Science" bar near MIT when we reached his destination--accomodations which we could already tell would be better than ours.

We finally reached Sun Bay, walked to our campground, looked over at the beach about 50 yards away, and could not even begin to describe how beautiful it was there. I think I may have siad, "This is...wow," a demostration of my master of the English language as always. I will not even try to describe it, but hopefully Emily will have many pictures. We pitched tent, located bathing room and shower facilities, got into our bathing suits, and headed out into the water, which felt amazingl. Playing frisbee with the waves was much fun, and after that got boring, we decided to wander along the beach, quickly getting distracted by a few coconuts. Breaking them open whilc preserving the coconut mild proved difficlut and ultimately a failure. Whereas Rob tried to darefully drill a hole into the top with a stone, I threw y coconut at pretty much every hard surface I could find. Neither method worked well, and even when we got through the outer hull, the innter hull proved inpossible. After exploring the peninsula a bit and lounging around till sunset, we headed into Esperonza for dinner and found a small touristy bar which took forever to bring our food. Aparetnly, burgers aren't as quick and simple to make as I thought. However, the dinner conversation was great, especially after Rob got drunk (just kidding) and we discussed that the best way to break open the coconut would have been to bury it in the sand and shoot it with a machine gun such that the bullet would stop inside the cocnut without treating an exit wound. Depth calculations for which to burry the cocnut woudl have to be performed once we knew more properties of the sand itself. On teh walk back to the tent, a black dog started following us. Af first, I was concerned, but it proved well prained, did not bother us, and seemed to want companionship more than anything else. Rob named him Jefferson, which no seemes a very fitting name, though tat the time I wanted to name him Lucky. We sat on a platform on the beach, with Jeffereson keeping watch below, admired how amazing the stars were, decided that we were in paradise, discussed life, existence, religion, relationhships, and constant propagation, and then went back to our tend for a good nights rest, again with Jefferson sleeping on the groud close by.

3/27/06 Jehan deFonseka

3/27/06 Sun Bay/Bio Bay

We awoke to paradise, the sun, the beach, the water, the trees all beautiful. The caretaking crew came by, cleaning up teh beach, as we lounged. After sufficient lounging, (reading, napping journalling, playing frisbee) we decided it was time for lunch. The cafeteria at the campground was, however, closed, and so we set off into town to find alternate means of sutenance. We reached the restraunt we'd eaten at the night before to find that the only oteher restraunt beside it was closed, so we continued on and discovered an entire row of restraunts we'd missed.

The one we chose was decorated with amusing sayings and license plates from a varienty of states. The numerous Massachusetts plates led us to aske our waitress if she was from Mass. She said se wasn't, but she thought the owners were. We talked to her for a while, discovering that when her kids had left home, she just packed up and moved to Puerto Rico, never having been here before, nor with nay real idea of what she was going to do. Why do so many people lack such spontanaety? It's really amazing, and kind of inspiring. Just go for it, no plan required.

After lunch, we went swimming and played frisbee. After a bit, Jefferson returned from wherever he'd been, and wanted to play. We threw the frisbee for him, and he promptly took it back to shore and began shewing on it. We got it back, in a slightly saddened state, and Jefferson dove right back in. He kept following the frisbee until we got scared he would keep swimming until he was tired and hurt himself. Finally, we just let him have it, and ignored him. he chewed it for a while, then attached himself to a group of girls and headed off.

A truck came and picked us up for the Biobay tour. We and several other kayaks of people paddled a ways around the bay to the entrance of the mangrove tunnel. The tunnels were much too small to row in, and so the strategy was to pull yourselves along by the mangrove roots. The tunnels were quit amazing, completely enclosed by the mangroves. There were little crabs scuttling around the roots, Lookinga t our little fleet of bright yellow kayaks, I could imagine an army silently pulling itself thorugh this passageway.

Occasionally the tunnels would open up into little lakes in the mangroves, where we would stop, look for wildlife, and Chad, our guide, would explain things about the mangroves, the birds, the fish, the bay, all the while smoking. But even though he smoked, he still cared about the environment, and so was careful to put all the butts in his kayak. We reached a largeish lake, and floated around for a hwile. It was so amazingly peaceful, you could just lfoat ofr hours thinking and looking at the smy, water, trees...Soon we retraced our path out to the bay. From there we rowed out to where the bay met the Caribbean, and stopped on a little beach for a snack, which was notably missing the crackers, and to wait for darkness to come. Chad determined it was dark enough, and we rowed out into the bay, toward the deep section where we could swim.

I could say that the bioluminescence of the bay is caused by dinoflagallets, that it's possible because of the reef at the mouth of the bay wich keeps the water calm, that it's one of teh absolutley most amazing and beautiful things I've ever seen, without really making you understand.

It first appeared on the paddles, which looked like they had streams of bubbles coming off them. As it got darker the glow grew, until the paddles had an aura of greenish-white mist each time they entered the water. A hand trailed through the water left a trail of white fire behind it. Soon it was dark enough for each boat to create a faint wake, and teh pools of light from the paddle hung in the water behind us for several seconds. Small fish, scared and thinking we were a much larger fish, darted away, leaving tangled, zig-zagging streamers of white behind them. They were like silend underwater fireworks, beautiful and breathtaking.