A Puerto Rico Adventure: Part 1

Adventure is an essential part of my life and a lifestyle, and something I have done to escape the dependence and chaos from society and city-life. It brings harmony to my life. Like eating and sleeping, discovering and exploring new places and culture is necessary for me to broaden my intellect and perspective of the world; and adventure extends beyond backpacking and kayaking, although I favor those two activities. Hiking, kayaking, camping and other outdoor activities is my protest for the conservation of nature, the wilderness, and its inhabitants.  Adventuring solo helps me find myself and provides me the opportunity to leave my comfort zone; whereas, sharing an adventure with other passionate adventurers brings a sense of balance to my life. What I experience and explore on my own, I share through words and photos, but with company, we can share the adventure in the moment, together.

My first adventure out of the states was to Puerto Rico, and I was joined by four other adventurers. The trip to the island included beach bumming, camping, hiking, chilling in tide pools, exploring an old cave, slumbering in an economy car, sleeping on benches on a playground, and hitch hiking. Well, some of the adventure wasn’t planned. But what adventure ever goes according to the exact plan? I think unpredictability builds adventure and builds character for those a part of the experience, because I learn to improvise when things don’t go according to plan, testing my ability to adapt to changes.  When everything is planned, then people get what they expected, which is great when people don’t want to get lost, run out of food, not have a place to sleep. But when something happens that requires changes in the adventure, the adventure goes to another level, taking away some of the boredom and providing a lesson.

A few of us pushed a box full of our gear (Spirit charges a large sum for each item. But we had them defeated, since we packed our tent, sleeping bag, and some other gear in one nice box).The box looked suspicious, and I worried the Spirit associates would open it up and expose our clever plan. However, the mission was a success, and we were on our way to San Juan Puerto Rico!

As we neared San Juan’s Historical District, we had a clear view of the waves rolling in on the Atlantic Ocean breaking against a cliff before Castillo del Morro ( an ancient castle). Rainbow-colored buildings lined San Juan’s hilly brick streets. Stray cats roamed about, along with iguanas, one that wore a straw hat and was walked on a leash by its owner. Tourists paid for a picture with the lizard sitting on their shoulders.

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We checked into an awesome hostel, we discussed finding the coolest and most authentic place to have a meal and drink. Sleeping in the same room with people I never met before seemed risky, but I talked to people from around the world, who were friendly and who were also on adventures. And then there was the magnificent panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, Castillo del Morro, and San Juan from the top patios.

After dinner, our next stop was at a bar called the Brick House, where we treated ourselves with drinks and beer before wandering the streets of San Juan again. We made a stop at CVS, picking up rum, and the cashier. Well, the friendly cashier met us for conversation later, where we watched airliners fly in and out of San Juan’s airport over the inky water, and enjoyed our beverages sitting at the water’s edge by the docks. The moon was full, or near full. I’m startled as a mysterious black fish snaked through the water just below us.

Rain started to sprinkle. We said goodbye to our new friend and walked back to the hostel for some sleep.

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I woke in a top bunk with the sunlight streaming through the window, blinding me. Descending a ten foot latter to the floor, I hurried to the patio to capture the majestic sunrise, followed by eating a quick breakfast that entailed an egg, something runny in a bowl(Some sort of cereal, but not oatmeal. It’s an adventure to taste new things, too. It was actually kind of tasty), and an orange. Not exactly the breakfast of champions, but it satisfied my hunger. I was ready to explore Puerto Rico, and do so with good company.

I was in the driver’s seat, while the navigation was shared between each of my companions to make it easier to focus on the road. And focusing on the road in Puerto Rico is essential, with its invisible lanes, potholes, and chaotic traffic. Driving in San Juan felt like surviving death. However, the fun and adventure dominated any stress from driving.

We slid into our rental car and headed out. First stop, Wal-Mart!  We sat in the car at the Wal-Mart parking garage eating our lunch, which was garlic bread and something else I cannot recall at the moment. After dealing with stuff in San Juan, we drove to a little town, where we parked and walked a few miles to the beach. There were cowboys riding horses along the street,dogs, a little shack- bar along the road, and a horse tied to a stop sign. Once we found the beach, we found a piece of paradise – soft sand, great views, and a tide pool.

We decided to make camp on the beach. Due to high tide and rain, we ended up sleeping in the car. Nonetheless, a few of us slept on benches on a playground across the street. In regards to the beach, the beauty could not be captured in photos or words. What made this extra special for me was the warm tide pool, and to share this experience with others.

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