Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sam's bad back finds a cure... the ocean.

My dear readers! I am so thankful for the soon to be millions of you reading my blog! How's that for positive affirmation? Bueno. Today, we awoke to a sunshine we haven't seen up here in the forest in a long time! Barely a cloud in the sky, the light was twinkling in my room through the trees and greenery and woke me up with a warm hello. I stretched out like a lazy lion and jumped out of bed with the ease of a house cat. Sam and Alwin had risen from slumber a bit before me and were sitting in the porch/dining area when I got up. I could see from the look in Sam's eyes that he was in great pain. We had been asking Lucy to get us in touch with a good Chiropractor, but it was the weekend when we had last spoken with her and she said nothing was open. Sensing Sam's pain and the eminent danger that he might kill all of us, I made haste to Lucy's house to ask her help. She was able to find a full service physical therapy clinic right in Rio Grande that would take Sam, but not until the morning.

Shit. What to do? Well luckily for him, Sam had mentioned how he felt pain free in the ocean the day before so I figured we would spend part of the day at the beach. This time we headed west towards San Juan sticking to the coastal roads that meandered through Loiza and Pinones, two shanty towns on the islands north east coast. We stopped for our usual sandwiches and coffee at a different panaderia and enjoyed a nice breakfast. We even had free entertainment from the conga line of ants whizzing past our table on the floor near the bakery coolers. Don't get me wrong, the place was very clean, and the food delicious, but it was kind of crazy to see how many of the little buggers had invaded. They moved about in single file, except for the ones carrying food, who did so in a communal effort of mass strength. Ants moved in a steady line coming in and out of a little hole in the wall. Each one stopped to communicate with the next passing one in rapid fashion as if to compare GPS coordinates and mission plans! I told Sam and Alwin about my ant fetish and how they react when you kill one in the line. They totally freak out! But I didn't activate the little boy in me this morning, and the ants were spared my terrorism. Satisfied, we carried on with our beach plans.

After a brief stop at Walmart to pick up snorkel gear, we cruised the coastal route through the towering palms and brush. A large section of this road was a forest and beach preserve, which made for spectacular views and Robinson Crusoe like daydreaming. I kept getting glimpses of old huts and homesteads long left behind and couldn't help but dreaming of living on the wild coast eating coconuts and catching my own fish from the reefs. There were small food shacks, some opened for business, many closed, that popped up occasionally on both sides of the road. You could smell the fresh 'pinchos' roasting on the grills. Tender pieces of chicken, pork, and various seafoods popping and sizzling on kabob sticks. Mmmm.

Soon after the twisty road straightened out, we found our spot; a broad and wild beach park that was protected from the big Atlantic swells by an old coral reef that had long since dried out. It made a mini lagoon of sand bottom beach that was nice for wading and swimming, but not so much for snorkeling. Maybe 4 feet deep at its deepest point, the beach seemed to be a favorite for families with little ones. It was awesome watching the 6 foot waves crashing into the reef, then trickling over the lagoon, their power rendered useless by the fortress of old coral.

We spent the rest of the day here. I caught up on some reading. Sam mostly played in the water with the new snorkel gear, and Alwin was back and forth enjoying both. I had a couple locals ask for juice to finish off their bottle of Vodka with and I quickly became the bartender as they came back a few times over the next hour with a shot of booze in their glasses, waiting for the all important mixer. The afternoon ended with Sam bitching about being cold. The trade winds were blowing hard, but the air was still pleasant so Alwin and I forced him to change his state of mind by screaming over and over again, "THE WORLD WAS MADE FOR SAM!!!!!!" Our loud bursts and songs eventually cracked a smile in Sam's face and we decided to complete our evening in San Juan.

We stopped at a bar for a few drinks and chatted with some cruise ship passengers from England, then I stopped at the cigar shop to refill my small stash of cigarillos. I'm not a smoker, but these little hand rolled cigars flavored with rum, chocolate, vanilla, coconut and a host of other tropical delights are nice to puff on at night up here in the forest. We strolled the city and enjoyed all of the festive lights and displays in the Plaza de Armas and the rest of the city. It was amazing and Sam was starting to pine for a little snow. I quickly thought about missing snow and all of the comforts of home on Christmas, but instantly became grateful for the chance to live it here in the beautiful, balmy weather. Yeah, I suck... I know!

I am going to shower up and hit the sheets, we are taking Sam to the doctor very early in the morning and I am going to try to jog some miles tomorrow so I can keep up with my training. Hope you are all having a fantastic night!

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