Some other highlights of this trip include:
Just got back from El Yunque, the mountain peak in the Puerto Rican rain forest. Exciting. Views from the top of the mountain from a stone tower after an 8k hike, and swimming under a waterfall after an 8k walk. It was sweet.
Snorkeling at an amazing coral reef at Carlos Rosario reserve on Isla Culebra. Noel & Cindy getting stuck on the coral reef. Hanging w/Yari and Natalie from Long Island, Karaoke singing "Day-O" among bats & old men. The mosquito-ridden Mamacita's hotel. Getting lost on Playa Flamenco after the sun dropped. Kiko the taxi driver drinking a beer & driving as he laughed about me getting lost on a 5 mile island.
Fajardo - Bahia Fósforo
After getting back from Culebra, made a snap decision to see the 'bioluminescent' bay at Fajardo. Called Todd, he told me where to go. I had to hurry. Found the bay w/some directions, caught a last-minute kayak w/Peter's Eco-Tours (offered at El Conquistador hotel. Mind blowing, kayaking thru a completely dark mangrove forest. Arriving at the phosphorous plankton bay, then hopping in the water as the full moon came out. Watching explosions of light as I swam. A miracle of nature. (And then the nasty night at Anchor Inn w/the key getting stuck in the door, no food, a/c pointed onto bed, and waking up covered w/mosquito bites. Could've stayed at El Conquistador for a ton of $$$, but picked the nasty for $60.)
Also on the way back gave Magdalena a ride, she gave me directions (I was lost -- again), and we talked in Spanish about her life. She's 20, has 3 children (eldest is 5 yrs old), and her husband left in January. She looked 15. I couldn't believe the story, floored me. I dropped her at her job, she was 1 hour late. She liked my tattoos, showed me her new one on her back.
Fried EVERYTHING, including hot pockets (Empanadillas) stuffed w/almost anything. Ate a lot of steak & chicken. Pinchos de Pollo (BBQ chicken skewers), accidentally ordered Pinches de Pollo. HA HA
What a trippy island. Amazing underwater treasures. Deep fried everything, hard to find vegetables. Curviest people I've ever seen, including a pronounced stomach arc. Survival thru heat and humidity unlike ANYTHING I've experienced except Thailand in Mar 2000 -- and this is the COOL season!!! I can't imagine the hot season, and don't want to know!
And had a wakeup call on my physique. Going to get some weights, start swimming again. I don't want to lose my build yet. I enjoy the capability of doing things -- even if it IS hard to work into my life. Weights and swimming at least, hope to do something fun & nature-oriented at least once a month (regardless of work requirements, new pad requirements, etc).
I miss my lovely girlfriend oh so much. I'm very excited to get back and re-unite. I miss her smile and laugh, her touch, and her care.