5/31/09

My Vacation


As promised here are some highlights of our trip to Puerto Rico where Mom and I were born. We stayed in a vacation rental with 3 bdrms, 3 baths, full kitchen and lots more for less than $200 per person for the week! It was great and just what we needed to relax in after sightseeing. There were six of us. My mom and I, my son, Steve and his partner, Amanda, my cousins, Juanita and Carmen from Houston. Their dad was my mom's brother.

On our first full day, Sunday after church, we went to Old San Juan - below we are in one of the gun turrets looking out toward El Condado where all the ritzy hotels and casinos are.

Then we walked around old San Juan viewing the beautiful balconies that dot the buildings there and the cobblestone streets. We then had dinner at El Jibarito where we sampled the local cuisine. Delicious!

The next day we spent it all in El Yunque National Forest which is the only tropical rainforest in the US Parks System. While we walked through the canopy of the trees at the visitors Center, Amanda and Steve hiked up one of the many trails to try to reach the top of El Yunque.






















Tuesday, while Steve and Amanda went to the beach , the four of us went ancestor hunting in the mountains of PR that make up most of the island. Each town has a plaza and the oldest church is there. Here is the chuch in Naranjito where my grandfather was born - a new one as the old one was falling down. We stopped at the rectory to order baptismal records.











The roads are good and as long as you concentrate on those white lines you see on the road below, one does fine if going slow on the curves. That's forest bamboo along the side of the road and in several places you felt like you were going through a green tunnel. It was all so beautiful with impatiens growing wild everywhere.















Wednesday we headed northwest and visited Camuy - they have the third largest subterranean river in the world. We went in a tram down the side of a great big sinkhole and then walked into the cave. Here's the last picture I could take as we got further inside. The cavern was the size of a baseball field. When we reached the other side, we were again in sunlight and in the next sinkhole where we could look down on the subterranean Camuy river. And there are bats!
















Thursday we went south to Ponce - the city of fountains. Ponce is known for its 6000 victorian homes of which they have renovated half of them. Didn't have enough time here, so we gotta go back! When we headed home, we stopped at another great restaurant near our place and celebrated Mom's 83rd birthday.














Friday, it was off to the beach and WOW it is a world class beach. They rake it every morning - there is a coral reef out at a distance so the waves are small and the water warm -like a great big salt water pool. There is about every concession stand you could want, but discreetly placed so they don't mess up the view. I walked in the water up to knee level and even that close to shore I saw tropical fish.












That evening we returned to Old San Juan for a farewell dinner and to celebrate Steve's 35th birthday. I had a dish called pastelon at the Princessa - think of it as the PR version of lasagna - instead of pasta they use plantains and was it good!














We hope to go again!

5/21/09

UFO #3




Well, back from vacation - more on that later - and after catching up (don't you just love it that you have to hurry up and catch-up with life after taking a vacation!), I've finished Verse by the Side of the Road, a block swap I participated in with an online group in 2005. I got the top done, but then the top got buried! This featured 30s fabrics and sayings from Burma Shave. You'd find these jingles along the major US highways - one line at a time - every few miles. Think of them as the first of billboards eye level to your car. Here's one jingle:
If you must sample
her pucker paint,
better drive
where traffice ain't.
Burma Shave
I had a friend wrtie and say she saw some in Kentucky recently. I thought they were all gone. I saw them in my youth on parts of US 66 which are now part of Interstate 10 and 40 when we drove between Houston and California. Sure cut down on the druggery of those long drives.