Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wish You Could Come Along/Culebra FAIL

Our friends Jesse and Holly arrived in Puerto Rico almost two weeks ago and were supposed to both head back to LA on Monday.  Unfortunately, work obligations made it impossible for Holly to change her ticket but without any arm twisting,  Jesse decided to stay on another five days.  It's been so great! We've had a ton of fun and are going to put the crown jewel on the trip by heading out to a spot Tommy and I have yet to go to ourselves, the gorgeous CULEBRA island.

Culebra is one of the small islands off of Fajardo (Southeast of San Juan) that boasts one of the world's most beautiful beaches, Flamenco Beach.  There is world class snorkeling, white sand beaches (my favorite), crystal clear turquoise waters and some of Puerto Rico's most untouched land.  Tommy and I have been dying to go and are excited to share the experience with Jesse. We will leave our place in Rincon this morning around 12 or 1am as we have to catch the ferry at 4am.  This is the cargo ferry which is much easier to score a ticket on unlike the regular ferry which leaves around 9am and is very often sold out.  Here are a few preview photos. Prepare to get jealous...

Flamenco Beach

look at that water!

I hope to meet this guy
I don't hope to meet this guy, but I'd like to see him

I'm sure we'll have many more great shots after tomorrow.  We'll be spending the night camping on the beach.  S'mores anyone?
Mmmmmmmm, S'mores........
Oh boy, that was an epic FAIL if ever there was one!  We left the house a little later than expected---12:30am as opposed to what should have been 12am but were optimistic considering Jesse zoomed across the island in record time.  He made it from Rincon to Fajardo in about two hours and thirty mins.  If you lived here, you'd know that that is INSANE.  Once we arrived to the Ferry station at Fajardo, it started to pour.  Tommy and I forgot to bring rain gear so I fashioned a poncho out of a plastic trash bag.  It still wasn't enough to keep the torrential downpour from soaking any exposed clothing so I was uncomfortably damp.  We stood in the confusing line and then, with only about 5 people in front of us, they declared the 4am ferry full.  So aggravatingly close!  The next ferry wasn't going to leave until 9---about 5 hours later.  I volunteered to hold our spot on line, popped in my earplugs and fell asleep on the concrete.  About an hour an a half after that, we decided it may just be too risky to try getting Jesse back in time for his flight the next day so we abandoned the endeavor with heavy hearts.  We ended up hanging out in San Juan for the day but only settled on a spot after a little bit of mindless meandering---it was only about 6am after all and we were all super brain dead.  The story doesn't end so tragically, as Jesse booked a hotel room and we got some good rest and showers with nice water pressure (a luxury I haven't enjoyed since I have been on this island).  We were up early the next morning, got in some snorkeling and then dropped Jesse off for his flight to LAX.  We miss you already, Buddy!  

Here is what we learned
When planning a trip to Culebra you MUST:
1. get to the Ferry station TWO hours ahead
2. bring rain gear
3. have some flexibility on when you plan on returning, nothing is guaranteed
4. be prepared to deal with a very poorly run system
5. try to bring as little as possible, they will charge you for extra bags.

Culebra has eluded us once again, but mark my words, we will enjoy you one day!!!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Me Encanta

When living somewhere where the language spoken is not primarily your own, you have to translate.  Perhaps the most beautiful thing about the experience of translation, especially when you are translating a "romance language", is learning that which cannot be translated.  When you switch over the meaning from one language to another, there isn't always a way to say it with the same feeling.  The literal translation of "me encanta" from Spanish to English is "I love", but it's really more poetic than that.  I always think of the word, "enchanting" and when you put "me" in front of a word in Spanish you are describing something that is effecting you or being done to you.  People in Puerto Rico love to use the phrase "me encanta" when describing something they enjoy or are enamored with.  I never really heard this phrase much within the Mexican Spanish I am more used to hearing in California.  It always conjures up an image in my head of a beautiful spell falling over one's being.  Puerto Ricans also love to say "es de....." which is kind of like their version of "ummm....".  That last one always cracks me up for some reason.

So we are settling into life in Rincon and well, me encanta. :)
I feel a sense of belonging here that I didn't feel in Hatillo or Old San Juan and I'm so relieved.  There is a big health movement making waves here.  I guess it's only been in the last year or so that the Yoga/Health community has really taken the reins from the more party-rific folks.  As we continue to try to find our business path, it's becoming quite clear that we may fit in best providing cuisine for the local villas who host Yoga retreats and other vacation getaways.  As opposed to opening a restaurant, we are moving towards just transferring Tommy's Private Chef business, Quality Thyme to the island.  We'll likely have to supplement our income beyond the Chef/Catering services but that's pretty standard here and we're thinking we'll likely try to sell some prepared foods at the local Farmer's Markets. The FM's here aren't nearly as big as the one's we are used to out in CA, but the health conscious folks are certainly hungry for what they offer.  We've already met a handful of Yoga teachers and Villa owners who are looking for exactly the type of services we are used to providing and if we go this pathway, we'll be able to make our own schedule and have full control over every aspect of our business without a huge start-up cost.  I just love the idea of providing healthy food for people on a case-by-case basis.

I'm super anxious to get working and feel like things are finally unfolding---it's been a huge undertaking transitioning to this new life--BUT it's happening.  Rincon is special and meeting so many like-minded individuals has been food for my soul.  It's country out here and yoga pants are becoming a bit of a uniform but you know, it's starting to feel like home.  And well, that feels unbelievably good.

Here are a few pics of our neighborhood.  Looking forward to a full moon beach bonfire tomorrow, which I'm sure will yield more great photos.  Love to you all y gracias para leyendo, Juni
Tommy enjoying a  beer at La Copa Llena

One of the most amazing snorkeling beaches, Steps

Sunset at Villa Cofresi

One of the local Yoga studios, La Paz

a neighbor's cool tree with interesting white leaves

Got Green?

large pods on the ground 

the pods come from these trees with the red flowers

close up of the red flowers

Hummingbird Paradise

We cannot figure out what these large round fruits are...literally the size of bowling balls!

My favorite coffee shop :)