San Juan to Culebra – (Fri-Sun, Apr. 22-24) – First Days

From our arrival in San Jaun to the Ferry for Culebra and our First Night on the Island

Friday à 22 Abril 2011

Arrive around noon at SJU with six others.  Seven girls stayed here at the hotel this night—Sam, Sarah, Stephani, Hanna, Katie, Jesse, and Emily—after arriving early for a day at the beach.  Met Angie and her mother for dinner at Metropol, and stuffed ourselves with seafood of various varieties, including one mammoth paella de mariscos!  I have always wanted to try paella, now I am afraid I won’t ever have another as delicious as my first!

Saturday à 23 Abril 2011

Wake from Coral By the Sea Hotel in San Jaun, and another beautiful day.  Breakfast at the corner diner—oatmeal, crepes con dulce de leche, waffles, and fresh fruit—and met Angie, Sharon, Andy, Wendy, and Sarah at SJU.  Hopped in a van taxi for a drive to the ferry terminal for Culebra.  Drove by the rainforest on our way past numerous strip malls spotted with Walgreens and Rent-a Centers.  The vegetation looks a little wanting for some rain, by they said the seasonal rains have not yet come to bring the verdant color we expected.  Nonetheless, there is very little by way of visuals to be disappointed with.

Upon arrival at the terminal, we enjoyed some very cheesy quesadillas from a small restaurant/bar along the street and await the arrival of our vessel at 3:00 PM.  And began the activity that would occupy much of our free time while in Puerto Rico—playing cards!  Every game you can think of, even Uno!  Actually as I write this, half of the group is currently engaged in a game of Kings in the Corner.  The dinner table might never be used for its intended purpose.

But back to Saturday…The ferry arrived on schedule, and we boarded along with a few groups of swim-trunk-clad young men and their coolers and families clearly headed to the island for a day or two of relaxing and holiday celebration.  Much to our surprise, there were more people hopping off the ferry than joining us for the hour-long trip to Culebra.  The must have come out for the holiday week just before and were now heading home to return again to work and school.  Concurrently, we began our journey through just about the bluest waters I have ever seen, past islands speckled with resort hotels and hillside residences.  Our ferry arrived at Culebra and was immediately bombarded by island taxi-drivers ready to shuttle us and our baggage wherever we might ask.  A few minutes later, we were bumping through the streets in our Jeep Wranglers past pastel-painted buildings—no more than two stories—dodging chickens and goats as they pass through the street unaware or uncaring of the traffic passing through.  Narrow streets barely wide enough for two vehicles kept all speeds below 20 miles per hour, a speed we associate to “island time”.  It seems as if anything is a bit out of the ordinary, we should explain it through “island time” or “Island life”, and we all nod and laugh.

Our house is well…we call it the Mansion.  It is simply beautiful.  With a boat dock just down the road and a splendid view of the cove off of our deck, I could not have imagined a more perfect home for the week.  After settling-in to our respective rooms, we ventured down to the boat dock, and then headed to dinner at Heather’s Pizza.  I think our group of twelve might have overwhelmed them a bit, but the pizza was great and the atmosphere under the palm trees even better.  After a day of traveling, we were glad to go to bed early that night.