26 November 2007

A warm welcome

November 22, 2007

On Tuesday morning, Sonia and Nono, a couple we met at the karaoke bar on Sunday night picked us up in their car for a tour of the west coast of Puerto Rico. We didn’t know what to expect, since we had only met them for an hour, but we all got along great and had wonderful time. We started in Boqueron, in the southwest corner of PR, and by the end of the day, we had traveled up the entire west coast stopping off at small beach towns and scenic vistas. It was great to be able to see this part of the country since we’ll be traveling the opposite way and would have missed it.

Nono, Hans, Sonia and Kristen overlooking the Mona Passage.

The Rincon lighthouse, on the west coast of PR.

Playa Rincon, a world famous surfing beach. It is even mentioned in the Beach Boys epic "Surfin' Safari"

The church in Hormigueros. The only church built on the top of a hill in Puerto Rico (all others are built on the town squares). It was built by a local farmer who was saved by the Virgin Mary from being gored by a bull. Nono explained to us that people who have prayed for help with physical ailments and who have been cured come to this church and walk up the 78 steps on their knees to show their gratitude to the Virgin Mary.

The 500 year old church in San German

A street in San German at night.

A view of the old square in San German.

Sonia kindly invited us to their house for Thanksgiving dinner. On Thursday, Nono picked us up at 11am Puerto Rican time (add 1 hour). But we didn’t push the panic button, knowing that he would be there at some point. Thanksgiving dinner was a relaxed affair. About 20 family members came over and we did the usual: pre-dinner drinks and conversation, each person around the table gave thanks, eating way too much really good food…turkey, rice with beans, mashed potato salad, avocado, stuffing, gravy, cheesecake and pumpkin pie. Yum. After the meal we all relaxed on the patio with coffee and eventually more Medallas (Puerto Rican beer). By the end of the night we traveled in two cars to bring us back to Boqueron. The men went in Leo’s pick up truck and the women traveled in the jeep. We stopped along the way at San German, the oldest town on the west coast of Puerto Rico. It is well-preserved and you can easily see the Spanish history. Back in Boqueron, Hans took El Gordo and Gabriel out to Whisper for a tour and we drank just a few more Medallas to end the night.

Thanksgiving dinner at Nono and Sonia's house. Thanks! It was great!

Everyone lined up in front of Nono and Sonia's house in Hormigueros.

The "West Side Locos"

It is so lucky that we met Sonia and Nono. Not only did they give us an amazing tour of their part of Puerto Rico, but they made us feel very welcome in their family and we had a great time together.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello, Hans and Kristen! My name is Arnaldo and I'm Nono's younger brother who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. I talked to Nono on Thanksgiving Day when you were at his house and everyone was very excited about your visit. I hope you realize how lucky you were to have met Nono and Sonia and the rest of the family. They are the best ambassadors of Puerto Rican hospitality you will ever find, not to mention the great human beings they are. You couldn't have found a better tour guide, either. Every time I'm there visiting, Nono and Sonia take me to new places I didn't even know existed around the island. He knows those secret places you won't find in travel books that only locals know about. My wife, who is from Indianapolis, loves the West coast of PR so much (thanks to Nono), that she doesn't even want to waste time going to San Juan. Valerie (Nono's daughter) forwarded the link to your blog to me, so I'll be following your adventure with interest. I'm a beginner sailor and my wife comes from a sailing family (we own a small Catalina Capri 14 sailboat), so we're excited about your voyage. Good luck as you travel through the southern coast of Puerto Rico and may God guide both of you as you continue your travels. By the way, you should visit the small Puerto Rican island of Culebra just east of Fajardo. It's not to be missed! Take care,
Arnaldo Rodriguez