Friday, April 9, 2021

Kayaking Around Bahia de Patillas


Some mornings I look out my bedroom window and just feel energized!  A plan percolates in my head, and most of the time Bruce is willing. Today was one of those days!  Why not take the kayak out to the calm end of our bay and paddle around?  

We took it out a while ago, but it was super windy and we just couldn't make headway.  We've had a couple of light wind days, and well... we DO have a bay of our own!  So we drove over to our friend's place and put in there.  

Bruce has some torn ligaments in his shoulder that we've decided to just leave alone.  His doctor basically says that he has compensated with other muscles, and as long as he is able to function relatively normally, he doesn't advise surgical repair.  We are good with that, and Bruce does a lot to try to improve his strength and mobility in his shoulders.  Kayaking today has shown him that his work is paying off.  He did way better than last time, and with little discomfort.  He took a couple of breaks, but I was proud of how well he did!

We paddled out toward the reef, but once we got out of the island's wind shadow, it got sketchy... We ducked back into the shadow, and continued our exploration of the shallow grassy seabed for a while before turning back. 

Once we were back out into the deeper water, I asked if Bruce wanted to try getting back into the kayak from the water.  He suggested that we get a bit closer to our entry point before he bailed out, just in case he could NOT manage to climb back in and he had to swim back!  He never lets me have any fun!!

So when we were close enough that we could pretty much stand up and walk back to shore... I found a sandy patch and threw out our anchor.  Once set, it was time.  OUT!

Yay!  He can get back in!  Then I tried it, and wow, the water was a little cold, but it felt marvelous! Why don't we do this more often? Oh yeah, the wind blows like stink much of the time!!  I was able to easily get into the kayak, even without flippers.  So now we know... we can take the kayak snorkeling!  Once we were settled back in the boat, we stretched out to enjoy the warm sun!  Our wet clothes kept us nice and cool, and we just enjoyed the motion of swinging on anchor, which brought memories of our former life flooding back.  

The view is good from out there, even if it's just a few hundred yards from shore. 

A friend remarked: "You guys are so good at staying active".  Well, as some of you may know, but maybe not.... Bruce has been diagnosed with dementia.  My way of dealing with it is to keep us doing as much as we can, to keep him in good physical shape, mentally engaged, and simply enjoying life for as long as we have it to enjoy.  I know that the day will come, when we will be forced to stop playing, but hopefully I can keep that at bay for a good, long time.  Until then, I will be looking for more things to do, so that we never stop enjoying our lives. 

Soon we began to get warm again, and hungry too!  We cleaned ourselves and our gear, and walked up to the Frappe place for some delicious Pinchos de Mero.  That's Grouper on a stick!  Yum!  Life is good here in Puerto Rico...

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Macromural Pintalto Las Piedras

Say what?  Yeah, I know!!  So, we were running some errands, working on another thing that I'll post about soon... when we found ourselves with some time to kill in the little town of Las Piedras.  A quick consult with the Google Maps and I added yet another bubble on my overcrowded map of awesomeness!

One of the things I love most about this island, is that there are SO. MANY. talented artists working all over the island.  Many of them are giving their time and talents freely, to improve many of the marginalized areas of the island.  Using only paint, and their boundless imagination, they are transforming places that were once eyesores, into assets for the people in these small towns.  

Hang out with me for a bit, and walk through Macromural Pintalto Las Piedras !  We parked across from a small plaza, where we found a few benches and some Indian Laurel trees that are struggling to come back after the hurricanes of 2017. There's an old building called Casa Alcalde, Mayor's house, right on the square, and a pretty little church next door.  If these had been the only attractions to see here, I would have gone away happy.  But there was MUCH more!

We walked up the narrow street between houses so quaint and brightly colored, you might think you're in an amusement park.  While some people might not appreciate this, I think it must be hard to be down about things if you live in this joyous place!

I don't know what this represents, but it's just beautiful!

There were a couple of little girls playing in the quiet street... Imagine growing up here!

We walked along, marveling and snapping photo after photo.  I spoke to a woman who was sitting on a doorstep, asking her if that was her home.  She shook her head and pointed across the street, saying THAT one was hers.  When I turned my head and my mind had enough time to make sense of what I was seeing... I was stopped in my tracks.  

The woman in the painting is sewing a Puerto Rican flag.  The flag flows off of her lap and billows into a pile at her feet, but it's three dimensional!  A huge boulder that rises from the concrete, is painted to depict the fluffy pile of flag material at the woman's feet!  

I used every word of praise that I know in Spanish, but I'm sure my face spoke for me as the woman crossed her arms over her heart and bowed her head in humble appreciation of my effusive Spanglish babbling.

When she saw us taking photos, she invited me to climb up, and even showed me the easy way around the back.  @kevinthecreator, you ROCK!  I'm just speechless!  My respect for these talented artists knows no bounds.  

We eventually took enough pictures of that one, and continued on.  The nice woman made sure we knew that it was perfectly OK to go up (sube) the steep and crumbling stairway that led to the roof of one of the houses, so that we could get a closer look at the mural up there... and also of the sweeping panorama of the town from above. 

These houses are painted all the way around... like easter eggs!

The stunning light in these colors just amazes me. 

Some are a little more "dark"

One more look at this one...
Thinking we had reached the end, I peered down the side streets to see if the awesomeness had spilled out into the rest of the neighborhood... 

Turns out, walking down the way, there were several murals we missed, that going the other way... we have found!

Oh Hello!!

This is worth a second look as well. 
Turns out that the reason I never knew this was here, is because it was inaugurated in December, 2019, so it hasn't been like this for very long.  There are 35 houses in all painted, and 14 murals.  I'm not sure we saw them all... so maybe we'll have to buzz back through soon!

There are four of these sites here in Puerto Rico.  We have now seen three of them. This one is smaller than the other two we've seen, and a much easier walk.  So if you find yourself in the eastern side of the island, pop over for a look!

Friday, April 2, 2021

Beach Walk ~ It's Been A While

Each Beachwalk is unique...
We may walk this beach a thousand times...
But no two will be the same!

We've been so busy with painting and home maintenance, and running all over the island.  This week, we've finally slowed down a bit.  Time to get back to normal life enjoying our OWN beautiful beach! There weren't many pieces of sea glass today.  Only 4 or 5... It seems like when there's a lot of sand on the beach, as opposed to numerous rocky patches, I just don't see much glass. But that's OK, it keeps me from lallygagging!  We definitely get more distance in when there's no distractions!  But then... there are ALWAYS distractions!

Pelicans coast high overhead.

We found a BEACHBALL!

We found lots of stuff today... The ball, a little shovel, and a black visor!

I sure hope all of these trees don't end up falling!!!

Taking a little break at the far end.

I don't know what these are.  Maybe part of an old dock?

We walked about three miles today, out and back.  I think my foot is really on the mend now.  I've kind of taken it easy during this time we haven't been doing the long walks, and it feels much more like normal now.  Finding "stuff" on the beach is fun, but I would like to get the sea glass back!  Now that we've got our "winter" projects done, here's to more beach walks!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Little Surprises Everywhere

Doesn't really look like much...
We've been running the roads for weeks. Before that, we were painting and doing house projects. I swear I'm determined to settle down and just chill for a while. You wouldn't think a mundane thing like a trip to Sam's Club would be an occasion for continued exploration... unless you live in Puerto Rico!

I found this place because someone has put the stations on the app I used for the trip to Las Cabezas.  It is right behind the Costco, only about 5 minutes away from Sam's Club, where we were headed for shopping.  Why not go and take a look?

My first impression was... unimpressed.  After winding through neighborhood streets, we weren't even sure this was the place.  At first glance, the river looks a little overgrown, and not a lot of water running today.  So we adjusted our expectations to just having a nice stroll alongside a river for a bit of exercise, and the place far exceeded those!  Come with me through a concrete art walk in the heart of Caguas, called Honor al Rio.  

I'll just tell you about them in the order we found them.  We parked the car where Google Maps indicated, although I'm sure it doesn't matter and you can park anywhere along the way. 

"Corrientes Encontrada"
Artist: Diana Dávila

Currents Encountered: The three pieces represent like us, with different experiences and coming from different paths, we meet to to form a common experience, a flow through the river of life.

Interesting.  Like most objects of art, it can be understood, or not.  It's a bit of an adjustment to consider huge chunks of concrete as being art, but as we walked along, I realized... it kind of grows on you!

The wide sidewalk was replaced by a dilapidated boardwalk.  Some boards were missing, and others looked as if they could go missing with the step of a misplaced foot... The place just looks a little tired.  But with a mind full of appreciation for what once was, you can imagine that this place was truly very upscale at one time. 

I get the feeling that I'm walking in the shadows of ghosts that once lived in this thriving, vibrant community.  Somebody paid for all of this to be here.  Buying art for public spaces means that there was once MONEY here.  I can't help but feel that there is still a river of pride running beneath the surface of places like this, and that some day, perhaps in the not too distant future, these places will thrive once more. And I will be right here enjoying it all and feeling all the more connected to our adopted island home, because I knew it now, and can remember when it wasn't so great... for a while. 

Artist: Carlos Guzman

Poetry: The nine elements represent the flow of river waters symbolically. It's poetry inspired day by day by those who contemplate this wealth that gives us the nature.

We backtracked to the boardwalk and walked across this pedestrian bridge over Rio Caguitas.  It was built in 2006, and looks to be in pretty good shape.  It was fun passing beneath this bright-red painted structure!

Reaching the opposite side of the river, we found a very nice ramp that gradually lowers you to ground level as you continue the walk along the riverside.  We found more concrete are along the way...

“Reflejos de Luna en el Río”
Artist: Carmen Inés Blondet

Reflections of the Moon in the River:  The river and the moon, important elements that, along with others,
make up mother nature. The moon with its cycles and its light, the river as a facilitator of life. Icons revered since ancient times that create a contrast between the ephemerality of human life and eternity
vulnerable of nature. The moon and the river through the reflections come together to make it clear that, in life, we are all an important part. Human frailty finds comfort in thinking that we belong to that great living nature

Artist: Jeanette Betancourt

Custody: The function of this sculpture beyond the aesthetic - is take care, together with the inhabitants of the area, this new space of recreation and leisure for your enjoyment.

Next, I was distracted by a breadfruit tree!  It's been a while since I was up close and personal to one, and walking under the canopy, I looked up and it was really very beautiful and peaceful under there! I also took a step backward, not paying attention and stepped right in the middle of a rotting fallen breadfruit!  They really don't last very long once they're picked, and thank goodness, this one was only soft and squishy, and not yet stinky!

It could have been worse...

Artist: Heriberto Nieves

Cosmogony: Spheres that symbolize life and the beginning, perched on an environment of museum impact of light and color, creating a new universal space in the city of Caguas. In "Cosmogony" they merge
the experimental and the industrial, the urban and the ecological, in an attempt to humanize and poeticize industrial materials. A new aesthetic and utopian horizon.

Walked beneath some low hanging mangos.

“El salto del Río Caguitas”
Artist: Tomas Lara Franquis
  (Cuban guest artist)

The Waterfall of the River Caguitas: Sculpture of a playful nature, denotes ease and freshness
with a marked sense of humor. The work is structured from four geometrizing elements, three of them symbolize the impetuous river current and the fourth is a supposed containment element, which
it is finally overtaken by the waters of the river.

Artist: Jessica Torres Lavado
  (Chilean guest artist)

Osario: The present and the future is only possible by proudly looking at the past. The rivers have memory, in their waters they carry the history of the lands that cross and contain it. Osario is a fragment of a primitive and ancestral inhabitant of Cagüitas; tribute and testimony that man has always been here.

Sometimes he gets into it!

"Lunar VII"
Artist: Zilia Sanchez

Moon 7: Lunar responds to knowledge that we have balance and concordance which regulates nature among planets, earth and moon. ′′ Lunar VII ′′ as expression artistic also tries to harmonize and seek match between these elements.

“De los muros derruidos: jardín de vestigios”
Artista: Jorge Suárez

Of the demolished walls: garden of vestiges: Multiple archaeological layers make us up, architectures hidden under the earth, those already discovered, some in ruins, those built or under construction and others thought or dreamed of. Of the demolished walls: vestiges garden, consists of four modules in
reinforced and pigmented concrete that appear in the landscape as archaeological fragments. 

That was the last sculpture we saw here.  We backtracked to the car, and I set the Google Map to take me the five minute drive to Sam's Club.  Just as we began to leave the neighborhood, I saw one more!  

“Tributo al Rio”
Artist: Dolores Ortiz
  (Mexican guest artist)

Tribute to the River: This sculpture is a tribute and a tribute to the Cagüitas River and nature, the sculptural project suggests with its forms undulating a continuous flow like the flow of the river, reflected in its forms a rhythmic cycle.

During the writing of this post, I discovered that there are several we did not find.  Maybe next visit we will come back with a new appreciation of what these pieces mean.  What an unexpected interlude this turned into.  You just never know when you'll find something magical in Puerto Rico!