On this cold day in the city, I couldn’t help but think back to the warm, tranquil days we had in Puerto Rico.
After our time in Old San Juan, we started our beach hopping on Vieques Island, just east of Puerto Rico. Rather than following the guidebooks’ advice of taking the $100 flight, we opted for the $2 ferry ride, like the locals. (After the sticky, sweat-inducing waiting area at the ferry terminal, we could see why this was not recommended… but it was a good cultural experience.)
By way of taxi, we climbed through the lush forests to a remote spot where we were dropped off in darkness (supposedly next to our hotel). We had read great reviews of The Hix Island House, and thought we’d try out our first eco-lodge experience. With the help of a flashlight, our hotel guide led us through the thick grass to our room – in a modern, angular, cement structure with no a/c and plenty of geckos. We soon called the place the Dharma Initiative (if you’re not a Lost watcher, you’ll be “lost” with that correlation). Because it was so remote, the sky was radiant with glowing stars, and the noise of chirping insects filled our ears. The hotel stocked our fridge with breakfast items and fresh baked bread each day, so we could create our own meal and relax on our “jungle patio.”
The next day when we got our rental car, we were told to drive slowly in order to avoid the wild horses roaming on the side of the road.
We lucked out and found a remote white-sand beach where we camped out for the day. That night, we ventured out on the water again, for a kayaking tour of the bio-luminescent bay. Similar to phosphorescence, bio-luminescence is a micro-organism that lights up in the water. As we started paddling, it was if we were paddling through diamonds. Every time our paddles hit the water, it would light up and fish were outlined as they darted away from our boats. As we got to the center of the bay, we hopped in the water to see how the bioluminescence outlined our bodies as we floated around. I couldn’t stop lifting my arms out of the water and watching the diamonds roll off of my skin. Definitely one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced.