Well our company all made it here and, by the time this is posted, have all left. We definitely had an interesting visit with everyone. Some had more fun than others but I'll get to that later. On with the stories...
Monday, March 17: Travis arrives
We went to school like normal on Monday and were all set to go pick up Travis when he called to tell us he had been delayed. His flight was to now arrive at about 10:15 pm. No problem. Late night because we of course had to stay up chatting until about 1:00 am. Trav brought down his dad's Garmin and we had some fun with "Lois" on the way back. We discovered that she did not like Courtney changing the route he was taking and she would "nicely" say recalculating. We immediately began making fun of him for pissing Lois off! He did not beat the time she said it would take to get to the house which made him even more furious with her. We went to bed to get ready for work the next day and for Trav to get up to go scuba diving.
Day 1: Travis, you are for scuba??
Poor Travis had to be up and on the road by 5:30 to get to Fajardo for a fun filled day of scuba diving. He was home in time for us to get changed, meet all of our wacky neighbors, and then get ready to go to Ponce. Matt had gotten us tickets for his game in Ponce. We drove there and ate dinner then off to the game. Wow, the Ponce gym is so much nicer than ours. I took pictures just to show everyone how much better theirs is. We sat with Matt's wife, Amy, who was in serious pain all night. We found out she had a kidney infection and it was killing her! While we were driving to Ponce Travis kept commenting on how he was surprised how much diving "took it out of him" and that he was a little achy. More on that later. We had a fun time at the game even though we lost.
Day 2: That's the exit for Salida.
We got a call from Sara on Tuesday saying her brother was flying in on Wednesday and would be more than happy to pick up our next batch of company. That worked out GREAT because we didn't have to make another trip to San Juan. We instead met Sara's twin brother, Mark, and Curtis and Andy in Guavate for dinner. Courtney called and asked if they were open and they said yes. Well, we got there and they were closed! The people were so nice since we had driven all the way there that they said, "We'll bring out some food." They brought out so much food for us. More than we needed and we ate it happily. Oh, did I mention that they live right next door and made us our food in their kitchen?!?! At the end of our feast we went up to tell him how to separate the checks to which he said, "Nope, it's free!" What?!?! All of that food was absolutely free! We were so happy that Katie and I took our picture with the owner, Tomas, and he wants a copy for his restaurant. How nice! We have officially found the nicest person who makes lechon in all of Puerto Rico!!
Day 3: Caves and Waves
(The real version) We got up bright and early to head to Utuado to see the caves yet again. We thought that Travis, being a Science teacher, would really enjoy seeing the caves. While we were driving up there Trav was complaining about being just achey all over and just not feeling right but he's a trooper so he made the trip with us. We knew that they had cancelled the ferries to Culebra and Vieques due to major storm activity north of the island which was supposedly making for some ginormous waves (that's a good word isn't it? Ginormous...). I was smart this time and took our video camera to the caves so we could show people that way about the caves. We've been there 4 times now and every time I take pictures but it's the same pictures over and over. We put on the night vision and walked through the caves to the window. Travis even took the opportunity to give his kids a lesson on caves. After walking through the caves we drove to Isabela to go to the "blowhole" and we were planning on going to Manati to see their lake. We had a hotel in Quebradillas so we drove there to check in. By the time we got to our hotel Travis was pretty ill and just stayed there. We felt bad but we still had other people with us that were there to see things so we left him and went to El Pozo de Jacinto, aka "The Blowhole". I've told this story before, right?! If not here it is...Jacinto was walking with his best cow across some rocks when the ocean came up and swallowed his cow leaving a ginormous (there's my word!) hold in the cliff. If you go to the hole and yell, "Jacinto, dame la vaca!" and get splashed you will have good luck. This day the waves were so big we were going to have tons of luck! Papi and Sara walked up to the hold and yelled getting soaked. Courtney and Curtis went up and yelled and got wet. I was smart and stood back video taping and taking pictures. The wind was blowing and I wasn't about to get soaked and then be cold! After Jacinto's hole we went to the beach and hung out. We couldn't get in because of the waves but it was nice to sit and have a few drinks and talk. We were sitting near the rocks and could see the waves pounding against the rocks. While sitting there we got to experience a church service in Spanish complete with an interpretive dance by some teenagers and their priest. The priest must have been pretty cool because we saw him playing beach paddle ball with a hippie. Wow! What a day!! Oh-we went back to the hotel and Travis was very sick...poor guy!
(Uncle Andy's version) There was a terrifying hurricane while we were in Puerto Rico. It was Hurricane Camille. We saw Hurricane waves and couldn't go into the ocean.
Day 4: Shopping cart races rule!
We got up Friday morning and drove to Guayama instead of going to Manati. Travis still wasn't feeling well and we didn't want to push it by taking him somewhere else. When we got home we realized everything around was closed because it was Good Friday. We ended up sitting around the house until dinner time and then making our way to El Puerto for dinner. Travis was feeling a little better by then so he went with us. After dinner we came home, Travis went to bed, and Courtney and Curtis decided to ride around in a shopping cart. Someone had left a cart by our house - what else were they supposed to do with it?? I didn't take pictures but I did videotape the "fun" ride. After Courtney pushed Curtis down the hill in the shopping cart (don't worry, noone was harmed in the filming of that video) they decided it needed to be put on our roof...that's all I'll say about that.
Day 5: It's a barracuda!!
We got up EARLY Saturday morning to have Travis to the airport by 7:00 am. He should have been feeling good by now, right? Wrong! I think he felt the worst he had felt all vacation!! We were all just praying we'd make it to the airport without him getting sick and we did. Poor Travis - but he did get upgraded to first class for the first leg of his trip. However, we found out later, by the time he got to KC his temp was 103!!! We picked up the Dill's car at the airport and Curtis and I jumped in it. We drove over to Fajardo to the bio bay to rent some kayaks to take into the bay. Unfortunately they don't rent out kayaks until the night. Now what? Well, we ended up finding this lady that was there with her family and they didn't need their kayaks for a while so she gave them to us. It worked out perfectly - she had 1 double and 2 singles. Courtney and I took the singles and Curt and Andy took the double. The bay is so different in the daytime. It was nice to see where we were going! It was really beautiful and we got some nice up-close views of the mangroves. We saw lots of iguannas hanging out, birds, lizards, etc. We could see the fish jumping and we just sat in the bay taking it all in. We just decided to head back when it happened. The fish (first we thought a Great White but changed our story to a barracuda) jumped out of the water and smacked into the side of Andy and Curtis' kayak! We thought he was telling us to get the heck out of his bay so we did. Andy's version of the story is that it was a Great White shark that jumped up and gave him the stink eye. Andy had to protect Curtis by hitting the shark with his pole and he saved the day. When we got back from our kayaking we went to tell the kind woman thank you and were chased by a pissed off iguanna! I've never seen one of those things run so fast!! After that we went to Seven Seas Beach and started to get rained on so we left. The next day we were off to Vieques so I needed to go get some things from Wal-Mart. OMG!!! I tried to buy beer (which I basically do every trip to Wal-Mart)and got carded. That's no big deal, right? After a lengthy discussion with the "manager" I was told (in Spanish) that I could not buy the beer because I was not old enough. Que??? I told her (in Spanish, aren't you proud of me?!) that I was 29 years old!! So she rang the first 12 pack through and when it prompted her to type in my birthdate she asked for my ID again so she could type it in!! She must have finally believed me because she sold me the beer. I had to go home and drink one after that ordeal!! It was to bed early that night because we needed to leave Guayama by 5:30 am...that's right - no sleep during Spring Break '08!
Day 6: The Soup Nazi's Wicked Step-sister
We drove to Fajardo and were pleasantly surprised by no line to wait in to get on the ferry. We got our tickets and waited patiently for our turn to hop on. When we did Courtney waited because he tends to get sick when a boat is just sitting there. This woman came to him and said he needed to get on the boat now. He very nicely explained why he was waiting to which she replied, "Get on the boat now!" Okay. She followed him on the boat where she saw Andy with his shoes off because he was putting sunscreen on his feet. She looked at him and said, "Sir, put your shoes on and they must remain on for the entire boat ride." Okay. Then she walked through this group of people and started yelling, "Who is smoking? Smoking is not allowed on the Coast Guard boat!" Okay, noone was smoking! Apparently someone had smoked before getting on the boat and smelled like smoke. Then every time she saw someone standing she would yell, "Sit down!" at them. She was CRAZY!! We began calling her Ms. Crabtree from South Park. Once we got to Vieques there was no lack of craziness either. We got our rental car without any problems and Curtis made friends with some dogs as he ate his pincho. We drove to our hotel and Andy & I waited outside for Courtney to come out with our key. While we were waiting we saw a couple renting scooters instead of a car. No biggie except for you could tell that neither one of them were scooter riding experts. The girl got on her scooter after a long time of not being able to get it off the kickstand, not being able to start it, which one is the brake, etc. She got right beside our car and said very loudly, "I can't spread my legs wide enough!" Andy's eyes got very large at this point. It was funny! Anyway - I think she got spread enough and everything was peachy (was that inappropriate to write?). We decided to go to lunch and we went to Bananas. We got our orders in just in time for the power to out so luckily they had been starting ours and were able to finish it. We decided to try fried bananas - interesting... We were leaving Bananas and this man walked up to us. He kept saying, "Oh my God! You like Vieques? Oh my God! Where you from? Oh my God! Is this you brother? Oh my God! I from St. Croix" over and over! To everyone! The funniest part about asking about the brother is that he was asking Courtney about me. I know you guys haven't seen my lately but I assure you I do not look like a man!! Curtis took his picture because, well, the guy asked him to! Let's see...what else? Oh yes, we went to a beach where we discovered that the keys were stuck in the ignition. We called the car rental place expecting them to come get it out. Instead they brought us a new key and told us to just lock the other key (in the ignition) in the car. We decided if the car got stolen it wasn't our fault! Next we went to the bio bay and it was AMAZING! Courtney actually got into the water! I was able to get some of the glowing on camera. I know it won't look too spectacular but imagine the blue a hundred times brighter and that's what you get. We got back from the bay and went to bed pretty quickly. We were all pretty tired. In the middle of the night Curt sat up in bed and yelled, "Foo!". We're not quite sure what that was about. Here are some Vieques pics.
Day 7: Time to go home...
All of our company left on Tuesday of last week (I know it won't say this at the top of the post but today is actually Sunday the 30th!). I think everyone had a good time (with the exception of Travis' illness). After they left we drove home and did nothing. On Wednesday Courtney and I cleaned house and worked on some laundry. Thursday saw us going to the cigar museum in Caguas. It was actually a very interesting place. We were a little disappointed to find out that the tobacco they use is from Connecticut but we did get to see them roll the cigars. It smelled so good in there! We met a 75 year old woman who starts to roll the leaves, an 82 year old man who puts the first "skin" on them, and then an 88 year old man who finishes them up. The painting is of the 88 year old and it looks just like him! He was so cute!
We drove home from Caguas and went to Rendon's beach apartment for a bbq. I actually bbq'd! I've never done that before because Courtney is always in charge of that. After our outing we went home and went to bed. On Friday we did a little bit of nothing and then went to the basketball game. Saturday was spent again doing a little bit of nothing and then we had Tom over for dinner and then went to the baseball game. Today we drove to San Juan to take the Dill's car to the airport and then drove home. We've been a little boring since our company left you could say! Hope everyone's had a great few weeks since my last entry. We are in the process of getting tickets to come HOME! It's looking like we'll fly back to KC on Wednesday, May 21. Hopefully we will begin looking for our dream home on the 22nd. We'll let you in on details when we figure them out. We should do some exciting things in the weeks to come. We need to take advantage of every free moment we have left here! Have a great week!