26 November 2007

Thanksgiving dinner

November 26, 2007

Don't be alarmed. Contrary to her yowls heard across harbors from here to Maryland, Kit Kat received both a Thanksgiving dinner and a reward for crossing the Mona Passage. A whole can of wet cat food at once. Yummy.

Sailing again!

November 26, 2007

On Friday morning, fighting off the dolor de la cabeza (headache…), we picked up Sonia and Nono in Boqueron and they joined us for our sail to Cabo Rojo, the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico. We’re really on our way now, towards the Caribbean and this season’s sailing adventures.

There wasn’t much wind, but we were able to sail for a couple hours, although only at 2.5 to 3 knots, not exactly a record-breaking performance! We anchored at Cabo Rojo, a cape with steep, red cliffs and a well-maintained lighthouse from the Spanish years. The lighthouse is part of the Department of Natural Resources and has trails that lead to the lighthouse and a beautiful beach, Playa Salinas. We hiked and swam and had a picnic lunch on the beach. Late in the afternoon, we met Valerie (Nono and Sonia’s daughter), at a restaurant. We said sad goodbyes as the sun set, but we hope to see Valerie, Leo, Gabriel and El Gordo in San Juan in a few weeks.

Nono and Sonia sailing on Whisper.

Cabo Rojo, the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico.

Playa Salinas with the lighthouse in the background.

Sunset over Cabo Rojo.

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.