Puerto Rico, Dec 2009

My dear friend Misty had her birthday in Rincon, Puerto Rico over Christmas 2009.  She is the 29th so it is always hard to separate birthday from either Christmas or New Year but spending it on a tropical island paradise like PR is a good way to start!  I had not been there for a couple of years and on that occasion had stayed in the capital city San Juan area.  This time we drove immediately to the NW coast where Rincon sits as the surfing capital of the island.

PC260109  We had a huge breadfruit tree (50'?) in the grounds of the villas where we stayed, I had never seen a breadfruit let alone the tree other than the Bounty movie all those years ago.  It is like a potato bread cross, and we had it several times.  No mutinies though.

PC260111  Given we were 7-8-12 people at various times, Misty had found a villa complex high above a beach that had enough bedrooms to fit everyone.  The crazy thing was a teeny communal kitchen that was smaller than most closets, but Dantes (bro-in-law) managed to turn out a never ending stream of local foods, rabbit stew, plantain mofongo, tostadas, amarillos, that were excellent.  And yes, it had a pool too as Clint and Misty prove above.

PC270116  We travelled around the island a little, roads can be rough and go straight through towns rather than around them, so going even a few miles takes longer than you would expect.  The main placa in Mayaguez had some very deco lampposts.

PC270122  Mayaguez will host the Caribbean games in 2010 and the placa was decorated out to advertise the fact.  Only 201 days to go!

PC270123  A concert later that night was being prepared.

PC270127  Veronica, Misty and Clint.

PC270128  MIsty's sister Kim, and Veronica's brother, Dantes.  A very family affair.

PC280145  And then on every 28 Dec the Festival of the Masks is held in Hatillo, which (like NZ and their sheep) is famous for having almost as many animals as population.  Cows in this case.  White oil, Texas tea.  Oops wrong, show, sorry.

PC280149  The 'parade' is really an explosion of klaxons at full blare, sirens, revving jeeps and screaming people dressed up in colourful (and hot) costumes.  Everyone is drinking beer, and the heat takes its toll.  At the end of the night there were 11 arrests which apparently was a good thing, because it was fewer than previous years.  The police escort was the only controlled part of the whole thing.

PC280151  They stand, jump, ride on the jeeps and floats.

PC280166  I guess these were the monkey crew.  Sun was out and temp was ~85F, so these kids were cooking.

PC280165  You get the idea.

PC280173  Mayhem included spraying shaving foam everywhere and on everyone. 

PC280176  After all the travel and noise it was welcoming to come back home and sit on top of the roof to watch the light play on the clouds, and see the sun go down, assisted of course by a refreshing Ron del Barillito.  The excellent local rum.  Funny how that relaxation also made for some great conversations.

PC290190  Maria's Beach was just down the hill.  Clint surfed a couple of days before some big 25' rollers came in.  If they were max 25' at Maria's, they apparently were 25' minimum elsewhere.  So Clint wasn't the only one who stayed on shore those days.  Misty gave some P90X classes in the mornings, and on others we ran circuits down to the beaches and back up.  By the end of my stay I didn't have one body muscle that didn't ache.  But that was a good thing.

PC290199  The night of the birthday party.  We had it catered by a local chef who was also doing a party at Ricky Martin's house same night.  The hanger steak in tamarind sauce was superb.

PC290207  And the blue moon was also out (next time not till 2028 as a New Year's blue moon).  The sky was clear enough to get this shot, and the air felt liquid around you.  A perfect end for my part of the trip as I came back the following day, leaving the others to enjoy a few more days.

Wonderful time MIsty, thanks so much for organising it all!   XXX

robert@roberthudson.us                  www.roberthudson.us