Friday, April 25, 2008

Puerto Rican Paradise!

Wow, It's been a while since I last wrote! We just had spring break and my best friend Vicki and I headed out of Utah and hit up beautiful Puerto Rico for 8 days. (April 10th-18th) We went with Vicki's Brother, Scott and friend Leanne. We were able to stay with a friend of mine who lives in Puerto Rico (Jorge Hernandez). Jorge and I served in the same mission.
Puerto Rico was incredible!! Some of the trip highlights included the following:
*A sand dollar throwing competition on the beach. All was fun and games until my hand had a hit and run with Vicki's sand dollar.

*Going to "Las Justas" (The track/dance competition of all the universities). Puerto Ricans are certainly spirited. You would have thought we were at the world cup and not a cheer/dance competiton by the way they cheered and celebrated.

*Salsa dancing in Old San Juan. I danced with this 70 year old grandpa. It was great.
*El Murro

*Attending church in Spanish and singing all the beautiful hymns in Spanish.
*El Yunque rainforest.

*Collecting beautiful shells as well as finding a "Concha garden" full of beautiful concha shells.

*Kayaking in the bioluminescent bay at night on the Island of Viequez. It was incredible to see the plankton light up like that. It was like swimming in a magic glow stick!

*The Island of Culebra. We spend 2 days here. This was by far my favorite part. The island was amazing. Small unspoiled environment. White sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise warm water, beautiful reef and snorkeling, hiking, palm trees, etc. We practically had the whole island to ourselves. There was no one on the island. At almost every beach we went to, we were the only ones. Even the huge popular beach (flamenco) had only a handful of people on it. It was the perfect time to go. We snorkeled, drank pina coladas, hiked, explored, etc. I even saw a baracuda and picked up my first star fish. We hadn't planned on spending the night on this island, but once we got there we knew we couldn't leave, so we made friends with the life guard on the beach who helped us get a place to stay and a good deal on our rental car extension. We didn't have anything for sleeping over. It was a great adventure. We stayed at this cute little place called La
Hammaca. It was so great the whole thing.

*The boat trip to Monkey Island. We called up Captain Paco who for $40 took us out for the day on his tour boat to Monkey Island. It was such a blast. I got to drive the boat, that was exciting. The girls tried some fishing off the back of the boat. We became our own concha/maraca band and jammed to the music. It was a blast. Paco was so fun. We got out and snorkeled and collected TONS of starfish off of the ocean floor and put them in the boat and got pictures with them. We snorkeled over a ship wreck and that was pretty cool. There were tons of fishies. Then we parked the boat just off the shore of Monkey Island. There are 1,200 monkeys on the island. They use them for scientific studies. We saw HUNDREDS of monkeys. It was so cool. What a memorable, incredible experience.

*Pina Coladas. I learned to LOVE these. Everywhere we went we were asking for Virgin Pina Coladas. It turns out that Puerto Rico is the birth place of the Pina Colada. We drank 9 or 10 while in puerto Rico. As soon as we got back to Utah, we went to a latin market and bought the stuff to make our own at home.

*On the day we were to come home we missed our flight by 10 minutes. After a lot of drama and tears and a threat to have to pay a $568 penalty, we finally got a flight out later that day on a better airline with only 1 layover and it didn't cost us a penny.

The whole trip was incredible!! I'm sure I've said that like 3 times. I wish you could have all experienced it too!