Monday, February 17, 2014

Puerto Rico - Day 6

For the first time since I've been on this trip, I woke up feeling semi-rested today -- which is also the last day I'm here.  Go figure. 

Somehow, the sunburn on my legs still isn't going away, but my back/arms were feeling good enough to allow for some comfortable sleep.

We had planned on meeting in the lobby to leave at 8:30.  But when Shannon was still in bed at 8:10...I knew that wasn't going to happen, haha!

I went down to the cafe and got us breakfast, and then came back to get my bags out of the room.  Another lady on the trip had her room for the rest of the day, so we moved our stuff to her room, and she came with us on our day trip to the El Yunque Rain Forest.

I was most excited for this day over anything else on the trip.  Like I said earlier, I'm much more of a mountain/jungle/hiking kind of girl than a beach and ocean fan.  Rain forests and waterfalls are both high up their on my favorites list!

It was about an hour drive from our hotel to the entrance of the rain forest, and as soon as I saw all of the giant trees and green plants all over, I literally cheered and clapped.  Ryan was laughing at me, but I couldn't help it!  I was SO excited! :)

We had hardly even gotten in to the rain forest when I saw the first waterfall.  And immediately screamed that we had to pull over. :)

It wasn't that extravagant of a waterfall, really, but I still thought it was beautiful.  

I made them hike up to a big rock with me to get closer to the water...and for a picture, of course!

On the way back down, Shannon got stuck behind an older couple who was clearly out of their comfort zone trying to hike, haha.  Neither one of them could get down!

From there, we drove in further until I saw the sign for La Mina falls.  That's the place I had read about, and exactly where I wanted to hike to!

I thought it was going to be a short, easy hike.  It wasn't really short or easy.  I mean, it wasn't hard, just harder than I was expecting.  I was happily snapping pictures the whole way though, so I didn't mind...

Shannon made Ryan walk in front of me so I wouldn't run the whole way, haha!

I just LOVE all the green!  There were so many different 
species of plants growing all over.  Just so cool to see!

That's my super excited face.
And notice the bright red legs.  Still.  5 days later.  

About 30 minutes later, we heard the water rushing...and the screams of all the other tourists already there. 

Ryan actually got IN the waterfall (pic on left, below).  I just took my shirt off and walked around in the water by it.  I didn't want to put on my swimsuit, so that was all I could do.  

We didn't stay at the waterfall too long.  There were so many people there it kind of ruined it for me, and we didn't have that much time to kill, but it was still pretty awesome.  

From there we hiked back to the car, and continued driving all the way to the top of the mountain.  We didn't have time to get out and hike to the look out tower, so we started driving back down and stopped at another one - an old lighthouse, I think - that was just off the side of the road.

Driving back down the mountain

The lighthouse / lookout tower

The views from there were just spectacular!

You can hardly tell where the ocean turns in to the sky...
We decided to just play it safe and head back to the hotel to clean up and get packed and on the road.  We still had to return the rental car and all that, and we didn't want to be too rushed.

Having a room to clean up and change in was really nice.  I don't know what we would have done otherwise!  Shannon and Ryan showered...I just changed clothes and re-packed my bags so I had room for everything, and we took off to return the car and get to the airport.

I'm surprised that poor little car didn't have some serious damage.  We definitely were not gentle with it, and Ryan hit several very large pot holes at full speed!  I mean, it bottomed out the car!  The guys looked under the car and didn't see anything, thank goodness!

At the airport, we made it through security pretty easily, and then realized we didn't have too long before boarding...but we were all hungry!  With no options down by our gate, we decided to try and quickly order some take-out from Margaritaville...the only restaurant in sight.  The mean bartender wanted nothing to do with us, and after asking him twice for some service, we gave up and found a nice waitress who took our order right away and delivered our food to us in bags bout 10 minutes later.  Just in time to get us on the plane!

I ordered a taco salad...and it turned out to be giant.  Like, on a big cake platter or something!  Ryan has a hilarious pic of me walking down the jet bridge with it...I just haven't got his pics yet.

Seriously.  Look how big that thing is!
It's the size of my entire lap - both legs! 
(And Shannon can't quit laughing about it!)

The 2.5 hour flight from San Juan to Charlotte went by fairly quickly.  We talked some, slept some, and then moved to the back of the plane where there were open rows so Shannon could lay down and elevate her legs while I massaged her ankles.  Oh, and we all three got talked in to signing up for the American Airlines/ US Airways credit card.  40,000 free miles AND a two companion was too good to pass up. 

In Charlotte, we had about an hour and a half to kill.  None of us were that hungry, but we knew we would be by the time we got on the plane.  So we found a little take-away place and grabbed a healthy salmon dish.  Not bad for airport food, really!

We all wanted to charge our stuff up for the flights home --theirs was much longer than mine -- so we just completely took over the charging station and turned it in to our dinner table. 

Salmon, rice, and beans.
I was so sad to have to tell them bye after that!  Shannon is truly one of the sweetest people I know, and Ryan is about as cool as guys come.  I mean, he put up with two complaining girls for 5 days with a smile on his face...
Pretty sure Ryan was completely over us girls and just ready to get home, haha ;)
My two hour flight from Charlotte to Kansas City went by fast.  I rented some more movies on iTunes and decided to watch Dallas Buyers Club on the airplane.  Of course the first scene in the movie is Matthew McConaughey having sex at the rodeo.  That wasn't awkward at all when I noticed the young guy sitting next me was watching, too, haha!

The movie ended with about 15 minutes left in the flight, so perfect timing.  I'll definitely be doing a lot more of that while flying!  Landed on time around 9:45 and got home just in time to collapse in bed.  

Ryan and Shannon had a 6 hour flight and got home much later, so I won't complain.  That's actually a pretty reasonable time considering how I normally travel!

Wasn't cool to come back home to freezing temps after having nothing below 75 degrees for 6 days, but it's always nice to come home to my bed!  

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