Sunday, February 12, 2006

How should I know where we are? I've never been here before

After our wonderful day in San Juan we rented a car and took off toward the Puerto Rican rain forest called El Yunque. Ray drove, I navigated. This arrangement is not necessarily effective. Ray has a terrible sense of direction but loves maps and understands them and believes that if one has a map in hand you cannot get lost. For me maps are frustrating and a last resort when intuition fails. I am also right-left challenged so I give confusing directions and am likely to point right and say "turn left." I'm not a good navigator.

My directions did get us to the rain forest, however, and we had a very nice day exploring the visitors' center and hiking a bit.

The dark areas you see on the pillars throughout the visitors' center were pieces of mossy sod with an orchid growing out of each one.

I was a little disappointed not to see more wildlife, but the flowers and huge stands of bamboo and giant ferns and exotic trees strung with Tarzan vines were awesome.

We left the rain forest and headed for the town of Fajardo where we had a reservation for the night. I got us only slightly lost, but figured out where I had gone wrong on the map fairly quickly and we eventually found the hotel, which miraculously had a good little Mexican restaurant and excellent margaritas. Lunch earlier had been truly grisly--Puerto Rican Chinese food made from gray, stringy chicken (???--I couldn't help but remember the roadkill iguanas we'd seen earlier, gag)--so something tasty and nourishing was high on our list of basic needs at that point.

The next day we headed out in search of historic ruins of a rum distillery and a history and art museum as we circled back toward San Juan. We made wrong turns. We found cows and chickens. I cursed the stupid map. Ray lost patience. We saw many country roads and small villages, but no distillery ruins and no museums. We did see this interesting ruin of an old house right at the edge of the ocean at one point when we stopped to ask directions. It's the only picture I took all day. By the time we dropped off the rental car we were both quite grumpy.


  1. I'm sorry to hear you had such a frustrating day, but your photos are lovely!

    (I'm right/left challenged too!)

  2. Anonymous7:33 AM

    That´s the spirit of adventure mom! Too bad to hear about the driving frustrations. About the chinese food, my experience in Latin America has always been to stay away from chinese food or anything that says "Chifa" on it. Puerto Rico is a ways from where I am, but I´d imagine it might be similar.

  3. even through the computer I feel the sun!!! almost too much for these deprived Oregon eyes!! Lovely photos...I hope you have more relaxation!!! Ginger

  4. did you visit the Bacardi distilery? They give free samples, very nice at 9:00 AM when we were there. Fortunatley we were on a group tour so we didn't have to drive ourselves back to the hotel!