We have had a very busy last few weeks here in Paradise. Last week was Puerto Rico Discovery Week. On Thursday we had an assembly that different classes performed in. Katie and I were adventurous and taught our classes a Puerto Rican dance called the Plena with the help of Mrs. Rosa. We also kicked off our dance with a Bomba which is kind of like "Yo Momma" jokes in English. Katie and I even said our own Bombas in Spanish and everyone went wild! Then Thursday night Katie's parents arrived. We're having a great time getting to know John & Jean Lakner...wonderful people. We are off of school this entire week and we're pretty happy about it! We took the first part of our Thanksgiving vacation and went to an island called Culebra off of Puerto Rico. The island is about 12 miles from Puerto Rico and 13 miles from St. Thomas. Culebra is only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide. In 1901 the US Military arrived in Culebra to establish an area for the military to use as a firing range and to hold marine exercises. Two remaining stone houses built by the military in the area of the Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife are witness to that era. There is a museum in the house marked 1908. The military stopped using Culebra as a bombing range in 1975. There are still rusting tanks on Flamenco beach.We went with another American teacher to Culebra and stayed in a guest house because there are no hotels on Culebra. We needed a vehicle so we rented from a friend of the man we were staying with. We ended up with an old, beat up Volkswagon Thing...I kid you not...the name of it is a Thing!! In case you're wondering, yes the top does come off...with velcro! Here's our beautiful piece of machinery.
When we got to the guest house and got settled in we started to walk out front to get loaded up. We saw a huge iguanna walking past our car. Here's a picture of our friend.
Our first order of business was to find a beach. We've been told many things about a beautiful beach in Culebra called Flamenco beach. We found it and everyone was right, it is stunning! It was perhaps the most beautiful beach I've seen to date. The sand was perfect, the water was so clear you could see all the way down to the sandy bottom. We just stood there on the shore for several minutes with our mouths hanging open. We spent all day on the beach taking in the sun, drinking, eating, swimming, you name it.
We took a walk to find some of the rusted old tanks on the beach. We found one in the water and decided to climb on top for a better look and, of course, for pictures! Here's a picture of Tori and I on one of the tanks.
Here's a picture at the end of our day on Flamenco beach with the sun beginning to set. There's nothing like a sunset on the beach!
After Flamenco we drove our Thing back to the guest house to shower up and get ready for the next adventure. We were told about a restaurant so we decided to go check out Mamacita's. It was a lovely open air restaurant and our waiter was fabulous. We even found jalapeño poppers on the menu!! I know, I know, who gets so excited about those? Well, when you love poppers and you haven't had any for 4 months you get excited!! Tori had to take a picture of us because, according to her, when they came to our table our faces were glowing! They were great by the way!
To cap off our night we walked and found Professional Wrestling. Courtney was so excited! Apparently there's an old Puerto Rican wrestler (from Culebra) who now does commentary and every year he brings some "talent" to Culebra. We just happened to have picked the right weekend for it. Courtney even called Dustin and gave him some play by play. I know the people were thinking, "What is this drunk white guy doing?!" If you look closely you can see the ring in the background.
After wrestling we went to a bar and hung out. Then it was off to bed to get up early Sunday morning for a private boat tour of the surrounding islands. We hopped on the boat around 10:00 Sunday morning and headed out. It was a nice boat ride, a little choppy but not too bad. We stopped to go snorkeling first. I jumped in complete with flippers, mask, snorkel, everything and freaked out! I think I was a little ambitious for my first time snorkeling. I got scared when the first breath I took the mask plugged up my nose, then I didn't like the flippers because I thought they were weighing me down. Courtney of course stayed in the boat because he doesn't get in the water. I took off all the gear and decided to just swim. We climbed back in the boat and went to a beach where Courtney could relax because he was feeling a tad seasick...mixed with a hangover...bad combination! After spending the afternoon on the beach we headed back out to snorkel. This time I did it! I decided not to use the flippers because I don't like them so I just used the mask and snorkel. It was amazing! I saw so many things that you don't always realize are in the water. I was happy as a clam just snorkeling away when I looked up and saw my hubby hanging over the edge. I thought he was looking at fish so I said, "Are you okay?" to which he replied "NO!" That was our cue to get back in the boat and head for land. We went back "home", showered up, relaxed, ate dinner, and went to bed early.