Friday, March 30, 2012
First Day in Culebra
(Georgia at Playa Flamenco with handfuls of sand she threw on the ground, yelling jubilantly,
"Look, It's Papa's throw-up. Look! I'm throwing up!"
She tossed it, "splat" on the the beach
over and over.)
We woke up after a night filled with piercing peeping from a bug or bird outside the bathroom window to ROOSTERS caroling in the morning in before the morning began. Then truck traffic started at about 6am with loud Puerto Rican music blaring.
I loved it! We were here! We certainly weren't in Kansas anymore!
I had given everyone else ear plugs so they could sleep. I was that one who kept the ears clear "just in case" we were assaulted by a hoard of Vikings and we all slept through it.
Off to Playa Flamenco we went! It looked like an OK walk but Rob and I were still feeling peaked so we took a cab from the nearby mini-airport and we were very glad we did. The road was long, sunny and dry. We bounced along in the van, taking in the world around us.
Culebra is arid so there are cacti and low growing shrubs. The houses are square and modest with mostly chain link fences around them. We saw many chickens and roosters, some cats sunning themselves and flowers blooming as we made our way over bumpy roads to a beach that has been named one of the ten best beaches in the world.
The girls ran to the water. It was cloudy and about 80 degrees. After the pouring rain the day before, I was confused. In my pre-trip research I had read and heard that it never rained in Culebra and was always 85 degrees with clear blue skies. I was relieved to have it cooler because I'm not a big fan of non-stop sun and one of my concerns about going to a mostly shade-free treeless island was that I might perish of heat stroke.
Culebra like nearby Vieques was used for US Naval practice for many years, which is part of why it has remained so undeveloped. (Another part might be the 2 hour vomit ride on choppy seas it takes to get there.)
Here's a rusty old tank they left on the shore in 1975 when they stopped their practice missions on the island.
About ten people were swimming in the strong waves where Rob and the girls joined them. Then the life guard, all dressed in black, blew his whistle. All the Spanish speakers came out and circled around him, where they had a 20 minute conversation in very fast Spanish that I could not understand. On and on they talked. I wondered what he could be saying that kept them all standing there looking interested. I didn't get in the water. His audience looked bored, but they didn't leave. I wanted to ask what was happening but I didn't want to interrupt. Rob and the girls and a few other gringos were still playing in the water happily, squealing at the big waves.
Finally the group dissipated and I asked what was happening (One on the many times I would ask a question in Spanish and be answered in English)
"No swimming." He said. "The storm from yesterday made the waves too strong for swimming. See how the sand is coming with the waves? That means there is an undertow. It is too strong after the storm."
My family was appalled. I was thrilled to have the life guard there looking serious because they would have ignored me if I had a whistle. They came out of the warm waves dejected and annoyed.
We took a walk along the beach.
Went to the kioskos and got a snack of rice and beans and Lily's first of many fruit shakes (This one was mango, passion fruit and banana)
I asked Rob, "What should we do?"
And he replied, shrugging, "I don't know; It's your trip."
He was being bratty, but it was true. It was my trip. I planned it and I did tell him that it NEVER rained. (I didn't bring a raincoat. He did.) It was my trip and even though we'd vomited, been awakened by raucous birds and were kicked out of the water once we finally got to the beach; I was still thrilled somehow I had pulled this off. This was my trip. I'd somehow dragged my whole family to an island!
We took a taxi to Tamarindo Beach on the other side of the island, where the lifeguard told me we would be able to swim.
Beautiful calm and deliciously empty. We played in the warm water.