The big jet lands hard in San Juan, Puerto Rico as we double and triple bounce across the runway. I give a few hail Mary’s and an glad to put my feet on Terra Firma. It is late at night and I am a bit dis-oriented as I try to figure out how to find an inexpensive hotel for the night. Bright lights, noise, and people moving fast every which way you look.
Cabbies approach me trying to grab my bag out of my hand. Fancy resort signs are being held up everywhere. Why don’t I just hop on on of those slick hotel destination buses and settle up later. I must look and act like a tourist— what do they know? Take the path of least residence I say to myself. Why do you insist on taking the hardest route— what’s in for you? I know! This is just another KOAN ZEN test to see If I am paying attention.
Finally I decide to run across a busy street in the rain and hail down a cabbie on the side street. He delivers me to a nearby hotel for about 35 dollars a night and I turn in. The following morning I head part way by local bus towards Rio Piedras, where I am supposed to catch a mainline bus to the town of Playa de Fajardo serving the islands. I have now walked at least three miles taking in the sights and enjoying the bustling cityscape. I stop for a local drink and like the idea that people are very expressive in their neighborhood sidewalk kiosks. People passing me on the sidewalk are walking fast as if rushing to catch the next bus or subway.
I am now in the Rio Piedras bus terminal and get aboard a bus heading east. A few other passengers tell me they will eventually leave when they have the bus about three fourths filled. One hour later I am still on the bus. I leave and go to the bathroom in the bus terminal. When I return the bus driver magically appeared from somewhere and is starting up the bus and says: “we are leaving mas pronto.” The bus wheels out of the bus terminal and I am on my way. Taking in the sights I see some road signs to the El Yunque National Forest. Puerto Rico has one of the most accessible tropical Rainforests in the world and is a ecotourism paradise. If you have the time try to schedule this national treasure as a day trip and hiking adventure.—It will be well worth a look-see and will definitely score some green points.
I say to myself on the road again I wonder what adventure lies ahead? Whatever it is it will be very, very interesting indeed! This beats pulling a nine to fiver I say under my breathe. At the small town of Playa de Fajardo I had lunch where I was told the locals eat. Nothing fancy but the food was to die for. A basket of fresh baked hard bread, a local whole baked fish with rice and a tropical salad. Wow! That’s what I like about travel You never know what new discovery you can add to your list and your memory bank. Belly full I feel like the big Buddha!
I board the ferry and take the hour and half trip and head to the island of Vieques. The island of Vieques is approximately seven miles from the mainland, has two towns and has a population of approximately 8000 people. It is mostly arid, similar to the U.S. Virgin islands, and is 18 by 5 miles in size. Vieques has many wonderful beaches, ideal weather and has not been overbuilt yet.
Vieques used to be the United States of America’s bombing range and home of The U.S. Navy which leased over two thirds of the island. One of the locals told me: “we had enough explosives buried underneath in tunnels to blow up half of the world.” At any rate after about fifteen years of the locals fighting— The US government returned the lands back to the sovereignty of Puerto Rico allowing the entire island of Vieques to have a bright future.
I checked in at the first hotel, where the ferry lands in the Port of Isabella Segunda, and continued to explore the island. I walk through the town imagining myself living here one day. I pass a small hotel with art-glass in the window, The lady explained she and her husband retired here and run this small hotel where they enjoy island life and the balmy weather.
Many official looking cars drive though the town and drive around the turnaround at the pier. The lady at the hotel explained a lot of these folks are on the government payroll and she is not sure what they do. She laughed and said: “I guess they are here to protect us.” I stop at a local pub and get a tropical salad and iced tea. I take a bus going toward the east coast. The bus driver tells me: “this is my stop and you have about a five mile walk to the ocean.” Perfect I thought to myself!”
Maybe it is times like this that allows you reflect and actually see weeds, horses, and the blue sky. Have you actually looked at the sky lately? I must tell you it’s a work of art. In fact it’s out of this world. Watching the clouds roll majestically the walking adventure turns into an artists landscape. As you head out of town you see some small houses built on the side of the hill. You think to yourself this gets the afternoon sun what a great place to have a retirement house. After walking up some very steep terrain and wondering if you would ever make it— you can see the tranquil blue waters in the distant.
You take a long swim in the waters and say to yourself: “this is it.” I hope one day to be able to swim every day of my life in the ocean. Now all I need to do is find that place. If I keep going that dream will also materialize. Under the law of natural abundance anything you desire will be given to you. So if I want the entire world I can have it? “Yes! Remember grasshopper this world we live in is just a micro-cosmos of the really big picture. ” Thinking to myself! Are you sure?”
I return to my hotel and watch the beautiful sunset from the rooftop. The following morning I walk through the town and stop in at the local bakery and pick out some of the best looking and smelling bakery goods I have ever seen. I take the bus out heading to the Southern coast to the small beach town of Esperanza. At the town I rent a room on the second floor for the night. I am told that the sea is the most electric ocean in the world showing an effervescence that emanates from the sea— giving off a blue-green light-show compared to none.
“Hidden along the Caribbean coast is one of the most spectacular Bioluminescent Bays in the world. The mysterious blue-green light is created by micro-organisms which thrive in an environment uniquely suited to their needs. A trip into the bay on a balmy night is a magical experience. Fish flash by in dark water, and a swim is like floating through stardust.” – Captain Sharon Grasso
I meet a fellow American who moved here from California several years ago. He invited me fishing the following day. We caught several six foot barracudas and I tore off on what appeared to be the king of the sea. My friend laughed and said: “all yes we have some big fish in the area—That’s for sure.”
Esperanza is set up for ecotourism which includes: kayaking, snorkeling, night dives, nature trails, fishing, birdwatching and more. Quite a few Americans have purchased retirement homes here and I must say this would be a pretty good place to make your home for awhile. Those who enjoy the afternoon cocktails can belly up to the bar overlooking the Caribbean. And by the sounds of what I heard could probably solve all of our problems in a nano-second. Remembering how temporary we really are—- what’s another address in the scheme of things?
From the Island of Vieques I took the ferry to the nearby island of Culbera to spend a few days there. My first impression was it had canals and a internal lake connected to the sea which made it appear like an Italian city. It had many good restaurants, the people were friendly, and they were building beautiful homes on the hills.
I met an old Puerto Rican native who was working on his fishing boat and he encouraged me to buy the piece of waterfront land next to his house. He told me his taxes were 100 dollars a year, his water free and his electric 15 dollars a month. I went to the building department and they told me I could not build on that piece of land because it was too small. What do they know —It seemed perfect for me!
So there you have it if you want to live on an island that belongs to Puerto Rico and retain all of your benefits of US citizenship maybe you should scout around and consider a look-see. Plus, you don’t need a passport to fly-there and you can get incredible flights to San Juan from any city in the US.
QUOTE: “This old monk meditates and Rests in the empty mountains In loneliness and stillness Through the days and nights. When I leave the pure cliffs, I am distracted by callers. The world of people is first And always the world of people. ”
– Seigan Soi (1588-1661) —–dailyzen.com
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Why do Jellyfish sting? They look innocent enough; However, it is these tentacles that make them so dangerous, for on them are stinging cells called nematocysts. When the umbrella-like jellyfish moves through the water, its tentacles drift along behind it. Jellyfish do not attack their prey rapidly like sharks and other fish. They might slowly propel themselves along, but usually they lie in wait for sea creatures to come to them. Whatever living thing they touch, they sting.
All of the 200 varieties of jellyfish have stinging ability, which they use to paralyze the prey that comes within touch of their tentacles. The poison from the nematocysts of the jellyfish varies with the species. Some stings are very harmful to humans, while others will merely cause skin irritation.
Jellyfish are among the most dangerous creatures of the ocean. It is hard to realize this from their looks, for they appear to be nothing more than near-transparent blobs with long, dangling tentacles.
The deadliest jellyfish, the sea wasp, has a poison which can kill a person in 20 minutes by paralyzing the heart! —–bigsiteofamazingfacts.com
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes ions and ions as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!
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