Sunday, February 16, 2014

Puerto Rico - Day 5

Today (Sunday) was our first day on our own.  The SCEI trip was over and almost everyone was leaving today.

We sent Ryan to the airport at 4:30am to get our rental car for us.  There was already a group heading to the airport at that time for their flight home, so he just went with them, then came back to sleep for an hour or two.

Shan and I got up around 7:00 and she made the decision to still go ahead with the days plans since she was feeling a little better.  So we got up, got ready, and I grabbed breakfast from the same little cafe.  And off we went...back down to Fajardo, which was about an hour away) to catch the 9am ferry to the island of Culebra.  It supposedly has one of the top 3 beaches in all of the Caribbean (Flamenco), so we figured we should probably try and check it out while we were so close!

Traffic started slowing up...and eventually we were barely moving.  Since it was about 8:30 already, I decided to jump out and run the last couple of blocks to try and get us tickets on the ferry while they tried to find a place to park for the day.

I knew we were in trouble when I turned the corner and saw this:

The line for the ferry...a few blocks long

That would be about three blocks worth of people waiting in line to try and buy a ticket to Culebra.  I guess a gorgeous Sunday on a holiday weekend requires a little extra planning!

I grabbed a security guy and asked him what the scoop was.  He said the 9am ferry to Culebra was already sold out, but that they had just implemented a 10:30am one since the demand was so high today.  But there was also a 9:30am ferry to Vieques, another island that looked pretty awesome.

Well, I don't do lines very well.  So I just kept running...past aaaallll of those people who had been waiting in line for over two hours, and snuck in by a bench right up front.  I just sat down on it and pretended to talk on my phone, and when the group in front of me moved forward, I just swung my feet around to the line and kept on moving in, haha.  By the time Ryan and Shannon got up there, they absolutely could not believe I had managed my way in there.  

I was getting SO close to the front of the line, but time was ticking away and the two people running the booths for tickets were about as slow moving as turtles.  There literally were 5 or 6 people in front of me when they announced that the 10:30am ferry to Culebra had sold out, too.  UGH.  I was SO close.  

Now when I had first gotten up to the front of the lines, there were about 3 people in line for tickets to Vieques.  I should have just gotten in that one then, but of course I had to push it and try for Culebra.  Well now that Culebra was sold out and it was 9:20...the line for that one was long, too.

But I'm sneaky.  Not sure if I should be proud of that or not, haha.  Probably not.  But I literally just ducked under the rope from my line and slid in to the one for Vieques...with about 5 or 6 people still in front of me!  I couldn't believe no one said anything to me!  They must not of even noticed because there was a lot of movement with the people giving up on Culebra and leaving.

But we still weren't in the clear.  The 9:30am ferry to Vieques...which was leaving in about 5 minutes...HAD to be getting close to selling out.  I was getting to antsy I couldn't even stand still.  No one was moving in line...and the one lady selling tickets was freaking talking on her cell phone.  UGH.  I could have strangled someone.  I called Ryan up to stand with me so he could translate, and somehow, a security guard standing there pointed me over to the very front of the other line...for Culebra.  I had no idea what was going on but was frantic to get a ticket, as we literally had about 2 minutes before the ferry across the street left.  So there I was, at the ticket counter, in front of the same 5 or 6 people that were in front of me for Culebra, haha.  No idea how it worked, but I got up there, said I wanted three tickets for the 9:30 ferry and she handed them over.  We all three sprinted across the street and got on the ferry literally as they were getting ready to shut the doors.  The boat was moving by the time we found seats and got settled in.  I am one lucky girl...or sneaky.  But we'll go with lucky. ;)

Crowded, dirty ferry with a lot of locals
So, in all the rush to get out the door on time this morning, I had forgotten my Dramamine, which was really not cool.  I was hoping the boat would be big enough to not rock, and I could just sleep or something.  Weeellll, that didn't happen.  I tried really hard to stay calm and not think about it, but about 10 minutes in to the ride, I couldn't take it any more.  I wobbly staggered down the stairs straight to the bathroom.  Somehow I managed to not throw up, but the dang boat was so wobbly that I was just clinging to the toilet with my face against the nasty wall just for something cool.  Ugh.  So gross, I know.  Shannon came down to check on me and couldn't help but laugh a little, haha.  I'm sure it was a sight to see.

Once I felt a little better, I came out.  I must not have looked much better because as soon as I came out, a guy standing there handed me two motion sickness bags and smiled, haha!  

I found an area that had chairs around a table and just plopped down with a local family.  I didn't care.  I spread out and laid my face down on the cold table and just held on for dear life.  It was the worst one hour ferry ride of my life.  Stupid waves.  Stupid ocean.

I could not WAIT to get off that thing, and even said they were going to have to pay ME to get back on it that evening...

Getting off the worst ferry ever
When I get that motion sick, it takes awhile for it to wear off.  After getting our bearings (and grabbing a fresh fruit smoothy right out of the gate), we hopped in a big van to take us to the main town on the island.  I told everyone that unless they wanted to be thrown up on, I should just sit in the front seat.  Worked fine. :)

Eventually we got off in the town and walked a couple of blocks to the Fun Brothers building to see if we could rent scooters for the day.  Of course they were sold out.  And so was the only other company on the island that sold them.

Bikes and cars were sold out, too.  Siiggghh...  I guess our feet were going to be our mode of transportation for the day.

We walked back to the restaurants since we were all hungry, and ended up grabbing a seat outside at a bar and grill called Bananas.

Sick or not, you have to take a picture when you find one of these!

Right next to my seat, there happened to be some plants.  And one of those plants looked to be an aloe plant.  My legs were still red and burning...4 days I ripped off a piece and squished the aloe out all over my legs.  At least I think it was aloe.  It didn't really look or smell like it... so then I started freaking out that I had just put some poisonous plant juice all over my legs.  UGH.  What a day so far...


Ryan and I checked out a map of the island while we waited for our food.  Since we were originally planning on Culebra, none of us knew much of anything about Vieques.

Our food came, and although it was delicious, I was still a little too sick to eat much.  Have I mentioned how much I hate motion sickness?? It really sucks...

Our waitress was pretty cool and she gave us some tips on where to go to try and find Dramamine, and what beaches to check out.  There were some really beautiful beaches on the island, but most of them required an SUV or truck to get to because they were fairly remote.  And since we couldn't find anything to rent, we were stuck with the closer, more accessible beaches.

So we took off on foot to walk to the lone convenience store to try and find some drugs for me.  It was a little further away than we thought, and Shannon's feet were hurting and legs were swelling.  Neither of us could catch a break, haha!  And poor Ryan was stuck to deal with it all...

Saw this crazy jeep on the way there.  All of these ridiculous, random things were glued all over it!

Found the convenience store...which actually said "Liquor Store" on the outside, and I was doubtful they would have any medicine.  Thank goodness I was wrong.  They had chewable Dramamine tablets.  I bought four and immediately crunched up two of them.  

Shannon got some bandaids, Ryan got some water, and we decided to just call a cab to take us the rest of the way to the beach we had chosen.  It was only a few minutes walk according to them, but we were all just over it.

They weren't far away, and it really would have been just a 10 minute walk or somthing, but oh well.  We enjoyed watching all of the wild horses all over while we waited on them!

Sun Bay Beach was just a little off the main road, and was absolutely beautiful!  The sun came out and burned all the gray clouds away and it turned in to a perfect afternoon.  Well, perfect if I wasn't still sunburnt, anyways!

We found a palm tree to lay under.  Shannon and Ryan braved the sun again (they're crazy), and I covered every inch of my skin with clothing/hats and sat in the shade, haha.  I still got to enjoy how pretty it was and the sound of the waves...but no more sun for me, thank you.

We all took a nap and just relaxed, but Shannon's legs and ankles were still hurting and swollen, so we decided to just take the earlier ferry at 3pm back the the main island instead of the 6pm one.  I  had to get at least one picture of me on the beach, so I ran down quickly.  That was the only 30 seconds of sun I got all day!

Since it was kind of a last minute decision to take the earlier ferry back, we were cutting is close on time.  Ryan and I both called a couple of cab companies, and no one could come pick us up for 10 or 15 minutes....which was too long of a wait.  So while Ryan and Shannon started walking to the main road to hopefully see one of the vans driving by, I ran up to a guy getting in his truck and gave him my sad face and asked for a ride to the ferry, about 20 minutes away.  Of course he said sure, haha!

So I waived them over and we all hopped in with him.  I don't remember his name, but he was a really nice guy.  Born and raised in Vieques!  So cool of him to take us out of his way and in to town!

I snuck a pic of him so I would remember... :)

I can't think of a boat ride I have ever dreaded more.  Ugh.  I forgot to mention that while we were sitting at the restaurant that afternoon, I called a couple of charter companies to see if anyone had a sail boat or catamaran they could take us back on.  I would have gladly shelled out some serious dough to not have to et back on the stupid ferry, but it didn't happen.  So I crunched up another couple dramamine (officially OD'd by this point) and laid down.  It wasn't as crowded as it was this morning, so we got a bench.  Thankfully, the drugs worked their magic and I didn't wake back up until we were docked in Fajardo.  Thank you, Jesus!

We walked to our little rental car and headed back to San Juan...

Ryan's parents and several other people were just leaving as we were getting back to town, so we decided to swing by the airport to tell them bye.  Especially since we missed seeing them last night (dealing with Shannon) and again this morning because we left before they were up.

It was only around 6pm at that point, and it was just too early to go back and sit at the hotel room.  Shannon decided against going to the ER, so what else would we do besides shop!?  Poor Ryan... Not only did he shop with us, but he had to try and decipher our terrible directions to get back to this TJ Maxx that we saw on the side of the highway...which was quite further than we had remembered. :) 

And it sucked!  It was just like one back here in the states.  I guess we were hoping for some more "local" stuff, but it was all American.

So we decided to try and find another local market, but that was a bust.  When we pulled up, there were like 3 people there, and it was obviously done for the day.

Our last effort was to get back down to Old San Juan, via driving along the shore.  Weeelll it was clearly boarding time for a couple of cruise ships, because every single car in all of San Juan was heading there, I swear.  It was gridlock and we were barely crawling.  But we did get to see some HUGE cruise ships!

The sun had gone down and we officially gave up and just went back to the hotel.  We decided to go to a pizza bar down the street for dinner, and that was a good call! We got a big salad and a big pizza to share, and both were delicious!

And to top the night off, we got some Froyo across the street!  Pizza and ice cream!?  Score! :)

I really enjoyed the low-key and relaxed night.  We planned out tomorrows activities (El Yunque Rainforest!), and laid in bed watching the Olympics.  My sun-burn was finally feeling a little better and I was pretty excited for some sleep.  Finally.  

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