That’ll be 100 knockers!

I love PR and I seriously do believe that I will retire here one day. This trip was planned rather quickly because of the expiration dates on the free tickets we got when AirTran bumped us last year. A big thanks to AirTran for that because this was a much needed respite, and one hell of a time for such a hastily planned trip. When we got to town we didn’t mess around, we knew what we were doing this time. We got in, picked up the keys at my aunt’s amazing house in San Juan and ran to Yabucoa. When we got there we bug bombed the place right away which forced us to party outside for the 4 hours and change it takes to properly evacuate the place of any possible bugs.

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Then we made grilled Cheese!

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The next two days we indulged in the main event here in Yabucoa, the beach. It was insanely packed compared to the last time we were here (there were 8 other people stretched across the half mile or so) but we managed to carve out a nice chunk of beach for ourselves.

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I was even able to sneak some rock climbing in…

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This place has a soothing quality I can’t really put into words, it makes me feel like I’m home. Screw the fact that there’s no AC and there are animals that could kill you all over the place, I want property here.

Next we landed on our god damned feet, yet again. We went to San Juan intending to take my aunt out to dinner, unfortunately she had previous plans and couldn’t join us but when we arrived it became evident that something was going on. I had never seen San Juan like this, there were people dancing in the streets, there was live music everywhere and food, dear god the food. We had stumbled into San Juan’s culinary festival and it ended up being some of the most fun I’ve ever had in this city.

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We finished with a meal at Raices, the restaurant Rafa brought us to the last time we came through San Juan in October. It was delectable and not a single complaint was heard.

The drive home was basically right out of an episode of I love Lucy, we were coerced to and from old San Juan a total of 3 times either by mismarked highway signs or defective electronics. One thing we have learned about PR is that GPS does not do this place well. We headed back to the house (which I now know is named Macondo) and had a little dance party before turning in for the night.

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The next day we awoke to a challenge, one no one had any idea was coming. We were headed into El Yunque, the closest rainforest, for a hike. Amber had been here and been down a trail before, she warned us that there were “a lot of ups and downs” but that the trail was manageable. Normally people approach this place from the north, coming from San Juan, but since we were coming from Yabucoa we were coming in from the south. The drive was exciting, it was the closest I’ve ever come to rally car racing. I said on more than one occasion that I felt like it was something I should have paid for, it was fun, as in purely fun. It was perilous and at times we were on the edge of a mountain passing oncoming traffic with only an inches margin of error and I loved it. Much to our chagrin, the road was blocked only about a mile into the rainforest so we couldn’t get to the hike that Amber was familiar with, but there was a trail that started where the road was closed so we decided to divert our plans. The sign said that the hike was “challenging” and had highlights of a bridge and a river, that was enough for us. We started the hike and almost immediately it became clear that we were out of our element. The “trail” was rife with quicksand like mud pits that wanted to suck your shoes off. Thank god Amber suggested that we bring the music to have a soundtrack because I fear that without it we might have turned on each other. At one point we encountered some running water and we had to make the decision on whether or not to cross. I think this is someone’s idea of a joke.

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Apparently a piece of string counts as a bridge here because that’s all we got, not exactly a point of interest. We did stop for a bit and soak in the freezing (and phenomenally refreshing) pure mountain water.

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Then we kept on. From this point on the hike turned from taxing to down right dangerous, since no one had been this far down the trail in god knows how long, we were clearing the path of spider webs as we went on and on more than a few occasions the “path” led us along a sheer drop and broke, so you’d have to step over a gap to not fall to your death, or at very least the birth of a shitty day.

In all we ended up hiking for the better part of 5 hours, we were beaten but we conquered a mountain and we all felt a supreme sense of accomplishment for it, even though we all looked like hell. On the way back we encountered two stupid gentlemen who had just begun the trek in flip flops, we offered no warning, too bad, so sad. We hopped in our KIA and began the rally race home.

What do you do after you have stared mother nature in the face and let her beat the crap out of you? Why, you play monopoly of course… In what is quickly becoming a tradition when I pay a visit to Macondo, we had a game night. Megan had her heart set on playing a real deal game of monopoly. Much to my surprise, I had never actually finished or even really gotten into a real game before. I was completely unfamiliar with the boon of hotel buying and the bargaining rules were totally alien to me. As the straggler shots (we were running pretty low on the usuals so the concoctions we were drinking were less than favorable at times) kept flowing the game got more fun and we had one hell of a time.

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For no reason, here are a couple of shots from a vantage point higher up on the mountain.

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Once again I need to thank my aunt Mari for being the beyond gracious host that she is and allowing us to have this amazing time. Yabucoa is the place of my dreams and her facilitating our ability to make it a reality is a gift that I’ll be struggling to repay. Thanks Tia Mari and thanks Puerto Rico, we will see each other again soon and there will be much whiskey involved, I promise.

Coje lo,

Robbie

2 Responses to “That’ll be 100 knockers!”

  1. Next time you head down there, ask me about Playa Escondida in Yabucoa. I’ll try to map you a rout in google earth.
    r

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