Saturday, June 27, 2009

End of Vacation in the BVI's on to Puerto Rico!

All morning down in the cabin while I packed and organized things, I kept smelling gas. I figured it was from one of the work-boats across the way and ignored it. When I had finished down below and was having a lite breakfast of muffins and juice, I found the source of the smell. The dinghy gas tank had flipped over in the night from the swells and hadn't been closed the night before. The gas had leaked out into the dinghy floor. It was covered in green gas. I finished my breakfast, donned plastic bags on my feet and got down into the dinghy to clean it out. We could have left it for the crew to clean up, but Bruce and I wanted to take the dinghy to Village Cay to wash all of our laundry prior to our departure. When all was said and done, it was a job that Green Peace would be proud of. I didn't spill a drop into the water.

We waited in the cockpit for the taxi driver to come and take Phil and Jackie to the airport. Their flight out was early this morning. I was startled to see a crab come scuttling out from behind Jackie's suitcase where it sat on the dock waiting.

How in the world had this little guy made it this far along the dock? We watched him for a while. The taxi arrived and we saw Phil and Jackie off.

We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon washing our clothes, finalizing our packing and getting cleaned up and dressed for the trip. We checked in the boat and took a taxi to Pusser's for lunch. Then to the airport to await our departure in another little 10 seat Cessna.

There are no pictures of this one. I was worried that I would be filming my death as we took off with this very young and profusely sweating pilot. Once in the air, we were unable to see anything for the white haze that has blanketed the islands for 2 days. We were flying by instrument only and the wings were never level! Our landing was even more precarious than the take-off. But we made it down to earth alive in Puerto Rico.

We taxied through town and I had a horrible feeling that we had made a mistake in coming here. It was wall to wall traffic, buildings and people swarming everywhere! We were so tired and this didn't look good. We could just find our room and stay in!

Once we entered the Old San Juan area, things changed... it was still wall to wall, still swarming, but it was slower somehow. Old. Quaint. We checked into our hotel and were instructed on the use of the "elevator". Capacity 2 plus bags. (one each) and it was a squeeze. Yes that's it, not a closet! We closed the outer and inner doors and made our slow progression up to the second floor.

Our room was very spartan but it had a sort of ancient charm. There was a large armoire for our clothes and two tall double doors that opened out onto our private balcony overlooking the square. Thanks Joanie at Caribbean Travel!

It was clean and comfortable. There was even this strange thing right inside the door. It was a sort of box, where if you stand inside and turn a handle, clean clear water gushes out over your head in unlimited quantities. Hot AND Cold! Amazing!

We made good use of this box and changed to go out in search of dinner. We left our hotel and crossed the quaint square, complete with statues and a flowing fountain. Oh and pigeons... don't forget the pigeons!

We turned ourselves toward the waterfront and strolled along the darkening streets. They were narrow and cobbled in blue brick. The storefronts and homes lined the walkway wall to wall. We walked out into an open area with vendors set up selling food and trinkets. I bought some yummy coconut candy hoping to find that like we got in Belize. It was good but not the same.

We reached the waterfront where there was a disco jumpin' on board a boat docked there. Further out was the cruise ship landing. There was a lot going on down by the water. We bought drinks at a little stand in the square. People milled about buying things and listening to live music.

I broke down and bought some cotton candy. It was made right there and smelled heavenly. I waited to eat it because we were looking for a place to have dinner. We had looked at menus in a couple of doorways but Bruce said to wait until we found "the one".

We strolled along and found ourselves outside the walls of the old fort. Right there, in the shadow of the wall, was "the one". It was a patio with vines weaving a ceiling and light balls hanging down. There was a babbling fountain and chirping frogs singing to us... come to me... come to me... We looked at the menu and found margaritas! We were there!

It was the most lovely evening out I can remember! We had great drinks, fabulous Puerto Rican cuisine, pleasant conversation with a couple at the next table, and the chirping of the frogs to lull us. All of my initial misgivings about this place melted away. We were having a wonderful time.!

After we had stuffed ourselves to the gills, we went back out into the night to find our way back to the hotel. But not so fast... I stopped to buy some coconut shell jewelry that I had seen on the in.

We wound our way back through the streets full of lovers holding hands like us. We came upon our fountain! We were home! We fell into the immaculate sheets upstairs and slept like babies in the air conditioned comfort of the old Howard Johnson's Old San Juan.

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