We had our weekend vacation with the Noon family and all I can say is it was amazing! On Thursday Courtney drove to San Juan to pick up Sharon, Wilbur, Nicole (exchange student from Germany) and Melanie Catron. (As pictured below)
Courtney went by himself because the van we were supposed to be using was needed to go to San Juan at 3:00 Friday morning. He took our Rodeo up to get them, parked, found them, and got them and their bags. On the way back to get the car they discovered it was gone. Apparently he was parked for too long (15 minutes is a very long time!) and they towed our car!! He called me, very calm, and explained the situation. I of course thought he was full of crap because Courtney wouldn't be THAT calm if that had happened. Unfortunately he wasn't lying to me. They found someone that knew what was going on and had to walk to get the car. Sharon took pity on us and paid to get our lovely piece of machinery out of jail. That put them home a little later than expected so we had just enough time to say hello, show the house, put the beds out and go to bed for school the next day. Sharon and Wilbur got the priviledge of sleeping on a mattress on our kitchen floor while Mel and Nicole got an air mattress on the living room floor. On Friday they "slept in" and were up in time for me to come home for lunch...at 10:40 am. They went to get something to eat and then came to the school to see where we work. They came in my room as Katie and I were doing reading buddies and Courtney took them around because he was on break. My kids were very interested in the fact that Nicole speaks a different language and were asking her to say things. Here are some pics of the road to our school, upstairs (where Courtney is), from the balcony, and the road home.
Friday night we went to one of the public beaches near our house and then to Tanquilidad for dinner. We watched the sunset, watched crabs run, and had some Puerto Rican food. Sharon, Nicole, and Courtney had mofongo which is a huge Puerto Rican food. Wilbur and Mel stayed normal and I tried conch. Yes that would be the meat that comes from the big conch shells you can see at the beach. It was pretty good. We went shopping at Wally World and Pueblo to get ready for our big day Saturday.
On Saturday morning we got up early and headed for El Yunque. We got there, rain free, and decided to check out the tower and then go for a hike. We hike .7 miles to La Mina Falls. If you remember the last time we went to "The Yunq" we hiked to the waterfalls in the pouring rain. Courtney tried to get in and fell 3 times because the rocks were so slick. When we got to the waterfall there were people standing on the bridge taking pictures and no one was in the water. Well that just wouldn't do! Nicole, Mel, and I decided to show them how to do it. We stripped off our clothes and walked right in to it. Wilbur followed us with Courtney in the back. If you've ever seen the movie Zoolander I want you now to think of the scene where they had their "walkoff". If you'll recall Hansel did a move where he pulled his underwear off while still wearing his pants. Zoolander tried it and gave himself quite the wedgie...are you hearing the noise he made while giving himself the wedgie? That would be the noise Courtney made when he crawled into the falls! It was pretty cold but you eventually went numb. We all were brave and sat on a rock UNDER the falls for a little while but it was a little painful and you couldn't really keep your eyes open. We stayed there for quite a while before heading back up because we needed to drive to Fajardo for our next adventure. Here are some pics of our hike and us swimming in the falls.
We finished at El Yunque and drove a while down the road to Fajardo where we drove to a marina and met Roymi, our boat driver. He took us out on a private boat to Palominito Island. It was the most stunning place! If you'll recall from our post about Culebra we passed a little tiny island in the ocean and took pictures of it. We thought it was so cool and wondered if you could visit there...you can! The water was crystal clear and pretty shallow. There were lots of people there but they were so spread out we felt like we were there by ourselves. We took up our section of the island and spread out like everyone else! We went snorkeling and swam and just took in the island. It was amazing! To show you how amazing it is I scanned in the cover to our Frommer's Guide to PR because the island on the cover IS Palominito! I imagine if the boats wouldn't have been there that's exactly what it would have looked like!
We got back to the marina at about 5:30 or so and went to find our hotel. We had just enough time to check in, rinse off, snack a little and it was back to the marina. There is a bioluminescent bay in Fajardo much like the one in Parquera that we've been to. But for this one you must kayak through a narrow channel into the bay itself. It's completely enclosed by mangroves and it is amazing!! We took a tour and were in 2 person kayaks. Mel and Nicole were together, Courtney & I were together, and Sharon and Wilbur were together. Each kayak had a glowstick attached to the back so you wouldn't run in to the person in front of you. You kayak through the channel not able to see and every once in a while realizing you're about to crash into a mangrove. The person on the back is in charge of what direction you're going and the person in front is in charge of speed. I must say I was pretty proud of the team my hubby and I made kayaking together. I thought for sure we'd kill each other in the process. We actually did really well and communicated better than we do on land! Our next home may be on a 2 person kayak!! The bay was amazing! We got in and swam...all but Courtney who was already cold enough. Just being in the water made it glow. After swimming we went to a dark corner and watched fish jump. When the fish would jump their splash would make it glow. We saw one jump and land and then swim away leaving a glowing trail. It was one of the neatest experiences of our trip so far. When your ore was put in the water it glowed and there was a trail behind the kayak. It was beautiful! After kayaking we went to the hotel, relaxed, and went to bed. We got up Sunday morning and drove to Old San Juan. What a trip that was! We borrowed our headmaster's huge van so we'd have enough room. The streets of Old San Juan are so narrow there were several times I was afraid we'd get stuck. We decided to go to El Morro to look around and tried to park in a parking garage there. Well, the garage was full and closed so we had to go down a VERY narrow street (only one car could fit at a time) to a cemetary. The parking there was full too. So we found a steep and narrow hill to go up. By this time I was really scared of getting stuck between the bar and the wall. I pulled my hat down over my eyes and tried not to watch. My husband as it turns out is a fantastic driver. No scratches, bumps, nothing! We ended up driving to the opposite side of Old San Juan and parking by the cruise ships. We then found a bus and took it to El Morro. After the fort we walked all the way through Old San Juan stopping to shop a few times. We made it to Del Sol which is a store where everything in the store, everything, changes colors in the sunlight. Mel went crazy in there! After Del Sol we walked to Senor Frogs to eat. Here are a few pics from our day Sunday...
I am actually posting this on Thursday night...I had to upload over 500 pictures from 4 cameras! Tomorrow we don't have school and we are so happy. We've spent this week relaxing and trying to rest up. We're exhausted!! We've also got 2 weeks worth of laundry to catch up on! We had an amazing time with the Noon clan and are so glad they came! I'll try to put more pictures up tomorrow. Enjoy!