Saturday, February 15, 2020

A Typical Saturday

The entrance to the beach from the parking area. 
When we lived on the sailboat, I often marveled at how our days played played out, often being nowhere near the way we planned it...  It seems that living in Puerto Rico it's just the same!  But while the old, control freakish me might have hated that... the new, more ZEN me ~ LoVe's IT!

Looking for a little exercise, and a change of scenery this morning, we decided to revisit the Punta Tuna Reserve.  We met a man on our last visit to this beautiful place, who confirmed that you could walk the whole distance of the palm trail on the beach.  In fact, it was nice to do a loop!  That was our plan for today.

Fallen palms provide a shady rest stop.
We dressed for a swim, just in case, but found the waves to be a little more ferocious than we wanted... but still, the walk was delightfully cool with intermittent palm shade, and a nice, fresh seabreeze.

We took off our hiking boots and enjoyed the sand in our toes!  The waves churn up the sand, causing it to melt beneath our feet, and giving our legs a workout!

The Punta Tuna lighthouse sits atop the point that gives this beach its name. 

The fallen palms allow us an up close view of these baby coconuts!
There's a little bit of black sand mixed with the golden.
Our footsteps are the only ones here today!
Well, except for maybe those of the resident wildlife.  We chased this beautiful bird all the way!
We exited the beach at the far end of the palm trail to do the loop.

Next time we will do the loop backwards. The beach is always nice and cool with the sea breeze and the palm shade.  The palm forest trail can be warm at mid-day with the sun directly overhead.  Plus, we can walk in our hiking boots along the palm trail (although flip flops would do just fine) and then take off our shoes to finish the hike in the sand.  That way we wouldn't have to find a way to wash the sand from our feet in order to put on our socks and shoes.  But today, we were able to make due nicely with some fresh water from the wetlands.

We enjoyed the trek along the trail, littered with little white flowers!
Our progress was much quicker along the palm trail.  This time, I didn't stop to take photos of EVERY flower... only some!

Our attention was more focused on the mirador that overlooks the wetlands, where we would stop to have a picnic lunch.

We climbed to the top and enjoyed the cool breeze and scent of nature as we unpacked our lunch.  Being on a diet, I completed my preparations of a rather nice unexciting salad.  Bruce had a ham and swiss sandwich, of which I had to remind him it was not nice to torture me with glowing descriptions thereof...

The venue was delightful, but my thoughts turned to the delicious Pincho vendors we had passed on our way here.  Screw it!  I'm ditching this stupid salad and we're going for PINCHOS!  I packed my salad up and we left the mirador and made a hasty exit of the palm path.  The entire loop was just under a mile and a half.  Seemed like longer because we dawdled... But it's a nice little walk and it's good to see something different from our own beach all the time.  Poor ME!!!

The beginning and the end!
This is the point at which our planned day diverged!  Our plan was to take a walk and have a picnic, then return home, maybe head out to the Carnival in our town in the late afternoon.  But what actually happened was THIS!

During our search for Pinchos, we took a road less travelled.  We found a delightful little spot called El Puerto Bar.  Driving down the steep road to water level, we found a nice crowd of locals out enjoying the bar and the dock.  Fishing boats (we learned) come here on Saturday mornings with their catch for sale.  The Pelicans must love this place as well, because there were bunches of them floating and diving in the swell just beyond the surf break.

This little place can be seen from nearby Playa Los Bohios, and it has been on our mental back burner to figure out how to get here since we first visited this coast.  Today we checked it off of that list, and added it to our list of favorites!

We parked on the hill and walked over to the water's edge to watch the pelicans for a while.  A quiet group of locals were doing the same. Trying not to look too much like tourists, we ambled casually over to the bar and went inside to the cool and inviting interior.  WE stepped up to the bar, and seeing some very fattening local food favorites but no pinchos, we quickly made the decision to have a drink and continue on our search elsewhere.  We ordered drinks, and turned to find a seat, when a couple greeted us and beckoned us over to talk.

This turned into two drinks and almost two HOURS of friendly conversation!  Puerto Ricans are SO SWEET!  Bernie and Janis were so nice to welcome us, having seen right through our guise, the guessed that this was our first time here.  By the end of our time with them, they assured us that we were indeed, Puerto Ricans ~ and no longer tourists! We exchanged numbers and made plans to meet up again!

By this time I was starving, and while the plates of food we saw served to other patrons looked marvelous, I wasn't looking for a full meal.  Just simple Pinchos!  We said our goodbyes and walked past some horses (only in Puerto Rico) to get back to our car so that we could continue on in our quest for Pinchos!

One more glance at the kids jumping off of the dock as the sun began her descent.
The rider is enjoying a drink inside!
There are PLENTY of places to get food along this road, but most have more fried foods and not so much Pinchos.  For these, we must visit a roadside vendor.  We have passed by this place many times without stopping. Today, the spirit moved us to try it out.

We meant to pick up and take our pinchos to go, but Luis, the owner was so welcoming, we just couldn't disappoint him.  We sat at the table and enjoyed the shade and another long conversation!  Add this place to our favorites as well... and next time, we'll try the Pinchos de Tiburon!  SHARK!  Luis swears that people come from all over the island to eat them.  OK!  WE're convinced!  Next time...
Meager accommodations, but it somehow just works.

With tummies full and the day coming to a close... we said our goodbyes to yet another new friend, and headed for home.  Fully five hours later than we had intended, we had no regrets.  In fact, we couldn't have planned for a better day.  We feel more connected to our island home than ever before.  This is what a typical Saturday SHOULD look like.  So many people wander from one of the little restaurant/bars (called Chinchorros) on the weekends, and maybe we'll just add this to our regular activities.  Only next time, maybe we'll dress up a little more, instead of being sweaty from a hike!  We LOVE PR!

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