I hurt my foot in May of last year, and finally got around to seeing someone about it this fall, when I was unexpectedly given a walking boot and bad news about a long rehab time. But we'd already bought our tickets!
I wore the thing religiously for weeks, even after the worse news that it was more than a hairline fracture but a torn tendon. And as the date of our departure approached...I started walking around the house without it. I was going to see how it went. Would their be pain? Would I be popping pills everyday?
The good news was that my time at home had shown me that without it, I was okay. Gone was the troublesome pain that had brought me to the podiatrist. Numbness sometime, but it was okay.
|Note the blue tinged cobblestones of Old San Juan|
The first day there was brutal. We were looking for a place to watch the Packers game, and I messed up the timezones so I thought the game was on four hours before it actually was, and I was freaked out. We were accosted by a well-meaning but drunk expatriate who really wanted to give us directions to the bus. And it was hot. Really hot. My water bottle spilled out into my purse. That meant I had transferred some of the money floating around to my pocket, and when I pulled out my iPod to photograph a gecko, it flew over the edge of the cliff. Goodbye $10.
But we had sherbet and found a bar showing the game. At the right time. By halftime, my leg was really weird. It had numbness and pain all of the way down it and I asked if we could watch the second half from our room. So we did.
Things got better after resting the leg. I still had numbness around my knee, but the heel pain seemed to have abated. We walked very little the next day, but I managed to get a pretty bad blister from the sandals that I chose. We had a lot of fun at Bacardi Distillery (yummy pina coladas), and had a great meal, so I can't really say it went too bad though. Totally worth a blister.
J got me bandaids and we headed out on day three determined to not mess up anything else.
And wouldn't you know it, I lost my footing while swimming and my knee got pretty badly scraped by the sand of the bottom of the ocean. And that was on my good leg! (Luckily, I already had band-aids and ointment.) But again, bright side...great pizza and appetizer at a place near our Hotel called Nonnas! Saw a beautiful rainbow at the beach!
Things could only get better, right? We set out to pick up our rental car the next day, and get out of San Juan.
J drove, and handled the GPS. First off...the GPS was goofy. I put in Fajardo, which is where the ferry port was for our trip to Vieques. It dropped us off in the middle of some strange neighborhood. I managed to find a larger road by browsing the other maps and we happened upon a sign that pointed the way to the ferry.
|the "old" Vieques ferry|
And then, my phones wouldn't work. Yes, phones. I had both my and J's phone in my purse when the water bottle leaked on the first day. One was stuck in an infinite bootup loop, and the other just wouldn't start. So, post-ferry, post-vomit, post-GPS almost getting us lost, we had to walk about a mile uphill to our hotel instead of calling for a ride. And it was hot.
We made it there, and immediately just collapsed on the super big bed. My leg wasn't too bad. We got a replacement cell phone (an unlocked international phone that had a somewhat murky provenance) and made plans for that night. The whole reason for this trip to Vieques was the bioluminscent bay, Mosquito Bay. We made reservations for that night; we'd finally do something without causing injury or sickness.
|The cat begging for potato chips at the Packer bar|
Vieques is beautiful. There are wild horses all over the island; well...not exactly wild. Pretty tame, but all over the place. (Which means, watch your step!) There are dogs and cats and roosters and geckos just strolling wherever they please. It used to be a bombing range for the Navy, and half the island is pretty much off limits due to
unexploded ordinance. But that also means it wasn't developed like other tourist areas and has vast stretches of nothing but trees and ocean. So many beaches, and beautiful views. Need a ride somewhere? Hop on a van driven by an old man and pay him what you think he should be paid.
The next day, I wanted to rent bikes and go for a ride. That didn't go quite as planned either; my bike had a flat and later a broken spoke. We rode back slowly, both bonking in the heat. We stopped at the tiny Vieques airport and met the Packer backer owner of their bar. And the words most persistent cat begger, before returning to our hotel room and resting.
But the trip wasn't over; J was coming down with something and just wanted to get to the next place. It involved another ferry ride, and then a drive up treacherous back roads to a mountainside B&B. I didn't puke on the ferry ride this time, but the GPS still wasn't being helpful when it came to how to get to the place. Luckily, I had the webpage saved on my iPod and managed to follow some of their instructions up a 3 mile long narrow winding and muddy dirt road to the most isolated and perfect B&B that I've ever seen. El Hotelito.
El Hotelito is a flower farm and bills itself as the "Rainforest Experience". It has 7 dogs wandering around, a cigarette smoking guru who attributes his health to "water, water, water" and 6 miles of beautiful trails. We went to El Yunque National Rain Forest a day later and it just didn't compare to the beauty of this place. J said to me, "We should have been doing this place all along." I couldn't disagree.
That night, J suffered with a fever and a head cold, and I just read my book near open windows with the seabreeze upon me. It was peaceful and really what I think I needed from a vacation. Next time, we'll just find a place like this and relax; no more of this running from place to place. Just the ticket.
Next time, no more big cities. We'll know better.