Ken, Cheryl, Bruce snd ME on the Malecon in Arroyo!
Way, WAY back in the beginning... I used to follow some Cruising Blogs. There were several that I found very early in my research days, and one of those that I continued to follow all the way through, has been Midlife Cruising. We almost met back in Louisiana, but they weren't home when we passed through... So until now, we've only been friends online. I said... until now!
If you popped over to take a look at Cheryl's blog, you might notice that they have bought a house in Luquillo on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico. Well of COURSE we had to get together eventually, and today was that day! Cheryl and Ken drove down to hang out with us at one of the MANY festivals that Puerto Rico is known for... Fiesta Negra!
I have to say that it feels strange to finally meet these two when it seems like we have been friends forever! It's funny how online friends can eventually turn into friends IRL (Friends-in-real-life). Our guys may be meeting for the first time, but Cheryl and I can take it up from the middle! And that we did!
We hung out at our place for a little while, catching up on the news that hasn't made the Facebook pages or the blogs... yet! Then we drove out to the Malecon to see what was happening. Things were just beginning to heat up, so we backtracked and took them to our favorite little Tiki Bar (Puri's) for lunch and to let the sun get a little lower in the sky before returning to the Malecon in Arroyo for some Fiesta FUN!
How awesome that we didn't have to go far to find a party on this National Puerto Rican Day! While there are celebrations happening all over the island and beyond, Fiesta Negra is happening right down the street on the Malecon de Arroyo!
It seems like there are Fiestas for almost everything here on my island... Fiesta Negra celebrates the historical African culture that blends the blood of African and Taino peoples, and brings the heart-thumping BOMBA to us today!
An old building down town LOOKS nice, but you can see it's a shell up top!
The island is still recovering from the aftermath of hurricane Maria, but it is literally bursting with color and you can feel the pride and joy these people carry in their hearts. You can see it in the art that happens everywhere, both in paint, and in music!
We took a look at the food offerings, then backtracked to Puri's tiki Bar for a snack-n-chat
Proudly wave the three flags of Arroyo.
Parking was tight on the Malecon when we returned, so we found a spot on Congrejo beach to park!
The details in this one are exquisite!
I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it... Puerto Ricans know how to take plain, even ugly, places to a whole new level by applying some paint! They celebrate their artists, not only in lofty museums where few can see it, but by displaying it everywhere! A place that was once crumbling, run down and ugly... is transformed in to a joyful experience. Add to that... a SWING and it just goes NUTS!
Many of these little surprises are interactive!
Cheryl gets in on the fun! She makes a GREAT butterfly!
Maybe we've seen them all... maybe not. But the music is beckoning and we must go! We are drawn to the stage with the afternoon sun almost ready to sink behind the theatre to provide some shade for us... But the beat made me forget the heat as the drummers and the singing moved my feet and my ass! Man, I wish they could bring this to my living room every morning for a workout sesh! I could be skinny in a month!
Let's get this party started! The party bus is here!
Dancing isn't just for the women!
OMG it was HOT, but we didn't care. It's joyful! It's uplifting! It makes us feel like we're home and that we're connected to this place. I love that we can live a somewhat conventional life here, and still feel the Island Roots twining themselves through our veins. The Caribbean will do that to you! It changes you, it opens your eyes and lets you see that there are other ways of living and that they are good.
Between acts, we strolled through the vendor's booths and yes, I had to buy a couple of trinkets! All I can say is that this far from the tourist zones, the artisans here are not what you're used to... They are locals and they're mostly selling to locals. Prices are brow-raising cheap and I picked up a couple of bobbles to wear proudly.
Puerto Rico, and Arroyo!
What an awesome day we had getting to know one another. We are only scratching the surface in learning about our new Island Home. The history, the culture, the DANCING!!! Big thanks to Midlife Cruising for making the drive! We are looking forward to many happy hours exploring our island together, and ext time, we'll come to your place in the north!
Thanks for inviting us into your home and showing us around Arroyo. We had a great time and look forward to getting together again. We'd love to show ya'll Luquillo!ReplyDelete
It was so great having you guys over for a visit! I'm happy that our town put on such a show! We would LOVE to see Luquillo with you!Delete