Three Kings Weekend
Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
Three cars full of 'Ricans rallied up the narrow, mountainous streets of Aguas Buenas on the way to party on the eve of Three Kings Day.
Booze, traditional Puerto Rican foods, and music were in abundance that evening. The celebration was a reunion of sorts for some; many hadn't seen each other in years. By midnight the party was at least several dozen people deep. By the time my ride was leaving at 5am, the DJ had been replaced with hand instruments and singing (at decibel levels rivaling that of the speakers).
There wasn't any time for sleep when I returned Marcos' house; we needed to catch the morning ferry to Culebra, and the port was an hour away by car (if there wasn't any traffic). I packed a tiny overnight bag, grabbed the tent that Marcos had procured from a relative, and we were off!
The ferry was pleasant and about an hour long ($2.25). After it was a quick minibus ride ($2) to Flamingo Beach. Camping adjacent to the beach was $20 per tent, per night, for up to six people.
Flamingo Beach was very attractive. The clear blue water and white sand reminded me of Thailand—a far cry from the beaches of Rincón. Unfortunately, there weren't many people there, so my notions of crazy beach parties were a bit off target.
A luck would have it Marcos knew a family friend who lives on the island (not far from the beach we were at). That evening I was fortunate enough to be included in seven hours of wonderful Three Kings Day celebrations. I never expected such experiences when I arrived in San Juan a few days prior; I don't think I could express my gratitude enough for it.
Marcos had to work the following day, so we broke camp early and laid out at the beach until noon. When we arrived back in the port town of Fajardo, we picked up another member to our party to make the taxi back into San Juan more affordable. Philipp was from Switzerland and spending two months in the Caribbean drifting south towards Isla Margarita (just north of Venezuela).
We went straight from the beach to Old San Juan, where Marcos worked for a few hours. Philipp and I sat and chatted, and as soon as Marcos closed up shop we headed out to partake in the Saturday night nightlife. This night, like many before it, ended after 5 in the morning.
After a month in PR I can easily say I'm going to miss this place. My nights are going to seem so quite without the common sounds of a Coqui singing in the background.
I didn't get to spend any time in the south coast or much time in downtown San Juan, but I felt like I got a pretty good snapshot of the island—and I'm still really curious about what these islands do with all the trash they produce.
My back is still a bit tender from a bad boogie boarding incident a week or two prior. One of the guys at the Surf and Board says that I pulled what he refers to as a "scorpion"—when a large wave breaks on top of you and the bottom of your feet touch the back of your head. It was bad; I thought my back was about to break! Ouch!
All is well though, and I'm off to the Dominican Republic tomorrow!