Saturday, June 15, 2019

A Drive Up Memory Lane

Ceiba Atabey
One of the problems with travelling to SO MANY lovely places, is that at some point, things sort of run together.  More and more lately, I've found myself "misremembering" things.  I superimpose memories of one place or event upon another and when I try to return, it's more than a little disconcerting when I realize that I had it all wrong!  But... that's another story altogether! Today was not one of those days!  Today, our drive up memory lane was just as I remembered it!

Today was a triumph as far as memories go.  I found The Tree!  While having my morning coffee with a liberal splash of Chila, a thing that for the sake of my waistline, we only partake of on weekends or special days... genius struck me.  I have been trying to remember where this wonderful old Ceiba tree was since we moved back to the island in January.  Why it never occurred to me to consult the blog post about it, I can't say... but today, that is what I did.  While the post did not tell me exactly where the tree was located, it did tell me where we were going on the day we found it.  Looking back over those locations on the Google Maps took me right to the obscure little notation about the tree.  SUCCESS!

Well of course we had to go see her!  Bruce was amenable to a drive in the mountains, and we decided to make a day of it and invite friends!  Not knowing if a visit to a "tree" would be enticing enough, I kept our destination a secret when I extended the invitation.  Hopefully they'll like it but if not, I guess I could always drop them in the mountains and let them find their own way home...

Darnell, Patrick and us!  Oh, and Atabey!

From the side... Does this angle make my ROOT look big???

She's sprouting some warts in her old age!

Well I didn't have to worry about dropping Pat and D off in the forrest... they were appropriately impressed with Atabey's wondrousness!  Sure... it's "just a tree"... but can you just imagine for a moment...  Imagine standing in one spot for over 400 years.  Imagine that time ebbs and flows around your skirts, think of all the things you will have seen.  The storms, the shooting stars, the cycle of life that you hold in your arms.  Countless generations of forest creatures.  Families starting with a single kiss beneath your boughs... love and heartbreak, tragedy and joy... the rise and fall of a people in power.  This tree has seen the Spanish take control of the island from the Tainos and all that has come since.  Standing in the folds of her roots, you can almost feel the undulating passage of time that is frozen forever in her shape.

Well.  I found her.  And I have shared her with friends.  And it was good

So, now what?  It's early yet!  I quickly consulted my previously noted Google Goals, and since everyone was free of plans, we continued on!  The best part of taking a road trip is finding places to visit on your NEXT road trip!  While I managed the twisting roads, Patrick found us a place for a lunch break.  But first... we found a waterpark!  WHAT?  The Olimpia Waterpark was marked on my Google Goals, but I just figured it was a swimming pool... and we have one of those at home.  But this!  This will be revisited!

I'll have one of those Pinchos please!!!

Continuing on a short distance off of our route, we found the Pinchos we were hungering for.  There is a cool little collection of eateries with choices!  From the looks of the pile of pinchos on the warmer, they were expecting a crowd!  Lucky for us, we arrived just before it got crazy!  You can always tell when a place is going to be good, by the number of cars in the parking lot.  The locals know where to find the good stuff!

With the music kicking up and our Pincho sticks empty... we refocused our attention on our destination... I've got a date with a swing!  Las Tetas de Cayey seem to be an often passed, but little known landmark.  Sure you've probably seen these twin peaks if you've ever done the drive between the south coast and San Juan... but once you know their name, they become more noteworthy.  Today, we wound our way up and up to see them up close!

Medianoche Azul (our car) and Las Tetas de Cayey!

A short distance down the mountain from the lovely Tetas, you'll find a magnificent panoramic view AND A SWING!  Who can resist?

This island has so many secret treasures just waiting to be discovered.  Today we're just ticking them off the list!  So that was all I had planned for today and it's still early... so NOW WHAT?  Well, back to the Google Goals and off we went to the quaint little municipality of Aibonito.  It's very close and if I remember correctly, there is something we missed last time we came up this way...  El Mirador Piedra Degetau.

El Mirador
The view from El Mirador was anticlimactic after our last stop... but still cool.
The restaurant below didn't have coffee, and if memory serves, there is a great little place just around the corner up the road.  And the view was even better!

The coffee is cute AND strong!  Mmm delicious way to pick up the slack on an afternoon drive in the mountains.  And only $2!!!

Today IS a good day for a good day!!
Following the fog in my mind onward, we arrived at the little town square in Aibonito.  I guess things heat up later on in the evening, because there weren't many people wandering around for a Saturday afternoon.  We strolled around the streets looking at the art and the preparations for the upcoming Aibonito Flower Festival... marking my mental calendar...

An unique twist on the umbrella thing!  I like it!
These guys...

I love these old town squares.  Again, the history seems to flow through me like ghosts from the past. Learning more about these places is fast becoming a hobby of mine, and after checking out some of the informative websites available... I'm definitely planning to revisit this town!

Flowers are The Thing here in Aibonito.  Thanks to D for uncovering this secret ice cream shop disguised as a flower seller!

Some of us don't mind mixing beer with ice cream... while others refrained... naming no names!  The ice cream was so delicious, and again so cheap!  Only $1.50 for a cup!  I love this island!

La Piedra de Algarrobo
Well folks, an unwritten rule of running the roads here in Puerto Rico, for me at least, is that when the clock strikes 3pm, it's time to turn my tires homeward.  We've packed a whole day of fun into a total distance of 80 miles.  It's amazing how long it can take you to drive the island.  What seems like a long distance covered is just right up the road.  How lucky are we to have all of this practically in our back yard???

Today, my memory served me well, and now we have new memories with our friends to look back on, as well as some new goals for future outings!  Come to my island and let me take you on a tour of Memory Lane, Puerto Rican Edition!

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