Tag Archives: Vieques

Broken Cars and Bent Teeth

So right before Thanksgiving we had a girl’s week in Vieques, Puerto Rico. It was our second trip out there, and let me tell you, the planes keep getting smaller! This one held about 8 people!

Little plane to Vieques from Puerto Rico

Little plane to Vieques from Puerto Rico

There was, of course, a beautiful view flying over Puerto Rico. Very pleasant 20 minute ride, so long as I managed to get some shots without the propeller in them!

View from the plane.

View from the plane.

Our first stop was for the rental car. We picked it up, went to the market, and dropped our stuff of at Casa Verde. Next stop: chili cook-off! Mom had read about it in some blog, and we figured, why the heck not? Plus with a sunset like this, you can’t say no!

Sunset from Vieques.

Sunset from Vieques.

So, we headed down to Esperanza to eat some chili. There were a few losers, and a whole bunch of winners…especially our tummies! After eating our fill we decided to head back home. As we’re driving down main street I can’t figure out why the radio won’t start. The problem? Dead alternator. That’s right, the car ended up stalling right in the middle of the street. We had all left our phones at home. Mom left the car contract at home. We were stuck in the middle of a narrow street, and of course a school bus comes. Not full of children, just a school bus at about 730 pm. The problem was solved by a handful of locals, who decided to jump start the car by removing the battery from one of theirs, and using it to ‘kiss’ our battery. That’s right folks, jump cables are for wussies on Vieques! We managed to get home via a taxi, but the next day had quite a hard time dealing with ‘island time response’ (slow) to our lack of car rental, and our desire to get to the beach. Plus, without a ‘real’ address, it was difficult communicating where we were staying…”turn right at the gas station, then left at the fork with the sleeping dog. If you’ve passed the horse you’ve gone too far!”.

It all worked out in the end though, and we were able to enjoy the rest of our trip, including horseback riding!

Sarah Riding a horse.

Sarah Riding a horse.

We also took a bike tour. That was almost as eventful as the car breakdown, since one of the tour guides decided to ride over a pile of horse poop, slipped, fell, and had his shoulder dislocate. And these guys are in charge? We explored the abandoned sugar mills, which was super cool, and headed home via the bunkers.

Mom, Sarah, and Me, in the sugar mill ruins.

Mom, Sarah, and Me, in the sugar mill ruins.

Sarah and I were riding ahead and our remaining guide decided to hold up to wait for Mom. Good thing she did. Next thing you know Mom hit the deck, bouncing off the ground using her tooth as a spring. Luckily, no serious injuries, but her tooth was bent in for a few hours, and she had some scrapes and bruises. Never a dull moment!

I had to head back early to complete some school work, but I hear Sarah and Mom had some more quality beach time, and got to go to the best restaurant in town. I bet they were just waiting for me to leave…those lucky ducks! I guess we’ll just have to go back again so I can get a chance to enjoy some more Island hospitality!

Adios a Vieques

The Barrio

I just wanted to relive my time in Vieques one more time before fully committing to the end of the school year. Plus, we did some fun stuff that I didn’t have time to write about in the other post.

For example, in support of Movember (my cousin Sam is collecting donations) we donned seashell mustaches. Men’s cancers are just as serious as lady cancers, but they just don’t seem to have the donation power! Also, we look hot.

Smile 'Stache

Charlie Chaplin?

 

Sneer ‘Stache

We had to go on some adventures, because sitting on the beach all day wasn’t cutting it. We decided to go rogue and hike up to the tallest point on the island, Mt. Pirata. The way to the top is completely paved, so the hike isn’t very strenuous…the only hitch is the road is closed. This wasn’t really a problem (just jump the gate), until we got to the top and saw the entire peak was gated off, and it was too high to jump! Solution:

Shimmy Shimmy. I think the sweat helped me slip through

shimmy through. I got some great shots of the beach from the top, and we were quite close to compromising national security.

 

I swear we're allowed up here...

View from Mt. Pirata

We also saw the 375 year old tree, which was huge. It’s got these great big roots that come out like buttresses. And, it even has smaller trees growing out of its roots! It’s like one big tree community.

 

The 375-year old Tree

The 375-year old tree, with me for scale

We also drove around and looked at the old abandoned army buildings. The Navy owned most of the island as their base, until they left in 2003. Now there are abandoned buildings and half the is land is protected wilderness space. The protected wilderness spaces are the old restricted areas that were used for bombing practices and firing ranges.

 

Abandoned Bunker

We also went swimming in the Bioluminescent bay. It was pretty awesome. Bio bays have a lot of bioluminescent dinoflagellates, and when they get disrupted they start glowing as a defense mechanism. We kayaked out to the middle of the bay, hopped in the water, and started making glow-angles (like a snow angel, but in the water with the glowing dinoflagellates). They weren’t as bright as they can be due to the recent rains and the half-moon, but it was still an amazing experience, and one that I highly recommend. I couldn’t take pictures, because my camera is the opposite of high tech, but the website I linked to above has some great shots.

The next day we flew out to Puerto Rico, and then off to our destination cities. This time Sarah was the Pilot.

Captain Sarah

Just kidding, she was the co-pilot! (or she just called shotgun, who knew that worked on a plane?)

 

Approaching San Juan, Puerto Rico

I think these final two pictures sum up our whole trip. I can’t wait to go back to Vieques some day, but, for now, I’ll have to relive the trip through my photos.

 

Adult Supervision Required

Paradise

¡Bienvenidos a Vieques!

This past weekend I took a little vacay to Puerto Rico! A nice weekend getaway, if I do say so myself. It was in thanks to my lovely Auntie and Unclie who own a house on the island of Vieques, and my mom, who decided we had to go see it!

Mom and Sarah on the deck

The house was gorgeous, with tons of windows and an amazing view.

We spent the mornings at the beach, and the afternoons on adventures. During beach time I took advantage of the plethora of marine remnants and went treasure hunting! I found a ton of cool shells. My favorites were the old conches.

Some treasures on the beach

We wanted to go to a pristine beach, but it being the end of the rainy season we couldn’t drive our rental car down the road. Instead we took to our feet, wading through calf-deep puddles, and praying we wouldn’t step on any crabs. We did, however, see (and avoid stepping on) some pretty awesome hermit crabs.

Camo-Hermie

Playa Navio

Besides seeing tons of hermit and regular crabs, there was wildlife everywhere. Geckos galore, bats, and horses! That’s right, horses! Horses on Vieques are like stray dogs in Guatemala. They roam the streets in gangs, and they do as they please. I pet a few, but they weren’t too keen on it, and I was luck to retain my fingers! Some people will claim a pony, and then you hear the clip-clop of the hooves late at night on the paved streets. There were also domesticated animals, like turkeys, who we had some great conversations with.

Gecko with some romantic christmas lights

'Wild' horses

Sarah's new BFFs