Tuesday, March 19, 2019

No Scars ~ No Fun

No vacation is complete without a trip to the minor emergency clinic!  Back in my wilder days, I used to have a mantra:

If You Don't Have Scars... You Didn't Have Fun!

Well, I was young and stupid then, where as now, I leave that to the kids!  

We didn't set out to scar anyone.  It all began so innocently with a drive out west to show the kids how arid the area is and check out a lighthouse or two...

Our objective today was the lighthouse at Cabo Rojo, but with one notable stop on the way.  The Guánica Light, or Faro de Guánica, is a sad representation of its former glory due mainly to the prolific graffiti artists of Puerto Rico.  

This once noble piece of history stands on the hillside guarding the entrance to Guánica Bay, but its light no longer shines since its decommissioning in 1950.  Since then, the structure has crumbled, the roof is gone and much of the interior has been taken over by vegetation.  But a walk around and through the structure can still conjure up ghosts of the past and a mind's eye vision of what it must once have been.  

It's funny how life goes... One simple decision can change the outcome of your day.  That chance decision came as we decided to venture on down past the lighthouse to see the beach at the end of the road, instead of backtracking and continuing our westward trek.  

The beaches all along the southern coast of Puerto Rico are vastly different from those on the north.  They are less popular with tourists and so much of the time, less crowded.  There's a certain wildness that speaks to me.  We stopped the car along the side of the road and picked our way through the brush to the rocky outcrop between two beaches to take a look.

We scattered and spent some minutes alone with our own thoughts as we stared out at the power of the Caribbean sea, and witnessed the way the waves continuously shape the rocky coastline.  It's moments like these that I shudder inwardly at the life we've so recently left behind.  Somehow I feel like I've narrowly escaped some tragedy in our decision to stop cruising so suddenly.  The waves make me feel so small and powerless, like I've taken something from Mother Ocean that she hadn't meant to give.  Like I quit right before the punishment phase came...  

Shaking my head to clear these disquieting thoughts, I rejoined the kids on the rocky point. 

Countless waves have deposited salt in rocky irregularities.  
Michael has found something interesting near the edge...
And that's when it happened.  This photo was taken mere seconds before that chance wave swept Michael's fee out from beneath him.  Melissa stepped back as Michael went down hard onto the razor sharp rock, slicing the skin of his hands, arms and legs.  

This ended our exploration and we returned to the car to search for a medicine kit... must remember to put on in the car before our next outing...  We found some water and towels to staunch the flow of blood, but soon realized that stitches were necessary for one of the cuts on Michael's hand.  

Thanks to Google, we found a small local physician in the tiny town of Yauco about five miles back.  We walked in the door and a nurse whisked Michael directly back into a room where she brushed stacks of medical charts from the table to make room for our impromptu visit.  She quickly got Michael cleaned up with many smiles and chitchat...  I left Michael alone with Melissa while the Physician attended to his wounds.

Bruce and I sat in the waiting area trying to guess how much the bill would be.  We sensed a certain apprehension from the kids about the possible cost of this emergency care... but Bruce and I knew it wouldn't be much... I guessed $30.

Soon they came out of the exam room, paid the tab and we walked back out across the little town square, happy that our day of exploration could continue.  The total cost of today's emergency visit with stitches... $25!!!  I love this island!

Kind of deserted at this time of day!
It was mid-afternoon by this time and we were suddenly ravenous!  Insert into our agenda, a detour to the little tourist town of Boqueron for a nice lunch on the strip!  We needed to relax and regroup over a Margarita and a meal!

There's a lot of Borinquen pride here!

No Johnny Depp... but whatever!
Evidently his pain is forgotten!
Realising that our day was dwindling, we finished our delicious meal and sped off to our original destination.  I had promised breathtaking views from the cliffs of Cabo Rojo and a tour of one of our favorite lighthouses of all time, Faro Los Morellos.  But after the day's delays, stitches and a lingering lunch, we found the lighthouse already closed!  One small decision to see a beach caused us to miss the objective of our day... but you know what?  That's OK.  We live here now and we will come again to show the kids this beautiful spot.  

We backtracked to the Salt Flats of Cabo Rojo.  Another disappointment came when we realized that the interpretive centre and the viewing tower were also closed... but we found an obscure trail that led us straight to the salt ponds and had the pleasure of seeing it up close!

I'll say it again... I love this island!  The fact that we have the opportunity to experience this marvel without restrictions is just incredible.  The delicate pink color is amazing.  The water has such high salinity levels, it feels almost oily as I brought my hand out of the silky liquid.  The floor of these salt pans is thickly layered with undulating waves of salt crystal.  

Everything that touches the water receives a layering of salt that is truly beautiful to behold.  What a fascinating place!  Today we see a brief glimpse that only intrigues us further.  Future blog posts will tell more of this place.

This last (for now) adventure has come to an end.  We drove the long road back to Arroyo and settled in for the night, a little sad that the kids would be returning home to the 'States tomorrow.  Having guests is a lot of fun for us.  It gives us a chance to show off our new home and the island we've come to love so quickly.  But, it is exhausting!  We must remember that we don't have to see it all in one week!  Pencil us in for a yearly visit and maybe next time we can have just as much fun... without the scars!

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