Here’s an unsurprising fact: Back-to-back trips to Puerto Rico and the Salton Sea are wonderful for the mind (I relaxed, did lots of travel journaling, and my cycle of cancer-death-baby thoughts hit an all-time low) and kinda rough on the body (I’m tired, covered in mosquito bites and have a couple of mofongo pounds to work off). But enough about me—onto AK’s account of her vacation with me.
AK’s Blog As You Are post is a departure in that it chronicles an exceptional day, not an everyday day. But even fabulous tropical vacations include confusing iPhone directions and cheerily sexist tour guides. I’m excited that you guys finally get to hear AK in her own words, after years of seeing her through the filter of me (she says I mildly misquote her, which I’m sure I do). Now, with no misquoting….
|Unlike on our trip to London, it was not hard to find a good mojito in PR. Or a dozen good mojitos.|
9 am—Alarm on my iPhone goes off in our private room at the hostel Posada San Francisco in Old San Juan. I’m glad I’m not exhausted, despite the crappy mattress. It’s humid in a lovely way.
10 am—Still getting ready to pick up the rental car at the airport. Looks like no shower this morning.
11 am—We picked up the $118-for-the-week car that became $250 after insurance and SpeedPass fees. At least it’s a Kia!
12 pm—We get lost driving back to Old San Juan. I’m starving because I always eat breakfast and make us stop at a hole in the wall. The proprietor complains in rapid PR Spanish, “Oh, God, these women speak only English!” when I try to order, and she really goes nuts when I call Beryl “un vegetariano.” It’s hilarious. My chicken and rice is excellent.
|Arroz con pollo con Coca-Cola.|
2 pm—Following elaborate directions from a text message, we drive about 1 hr 15 minutes into the interior of the island (Corozal). We fight with my Waze app the entire time.
3 pm—Driving up lush green mountains with small middle class houses, I’m strangely reminded of the Hollywood Hills.
4 pm—We arrive at Rafael’s ranch and watch him saddle our horses. My dark brown mare, Chocolate, “has spirit.” Beryl’s horse is named Pépe. Rafael makes about 6 sexist and homophobic jokes in 6 minutes. Somehow still a sweetheart.
|"You have long legs for a Mexican," Rafael told AK.|
6 pm—After swimming in the river with Chocolate, I forget my new sunglasses. Feeling emotional, I let Choco break into a trot that feels like a gallop. Sunglasses, I hardly knew ye.
7 pm—We follow Rafael’s truck back to San Juan. Waze keeps quiet.
8 pm—We wear cute skrits to dinner. Old San Juan is bumpin’ with families and young people on the prowl on a Saturday night.
9 pm—After dinner, in which the waiter advised us to visit a “lechón” (pig roast) on Sunday, me and the vegetarian walk around more. At a central plaza, a huge groups is line-dancing salsa-style. Most of them have great rhythm.
10 pm—We get drinks at Café PR, where one of the waiters is the 1st gay person we’ve knowingly met in PR. The other waiter is super-sharp in looks and speech; he reminds me of a designer at my art college. He explains that so many PR’s live in NYC because they were the only source of cheap immigrant labor during the Depression of the 1930’s. “I love this café,” I tell Beryl.
11 pm—We hit the Nuyorican Café, the classic salsa bar of Old San Juan. The live band is amazing even to my untrained ears. We stand and listen and people-watch the mix of American spring-break types and locals and couples. Every dancing couple is casually magnificent on the floor.
|With a new amigo at the Nuyorican Cafe.|
1 am—SF Posada is quiet as we hang in the common area, falling asleep on their long couches. “We should get a couch we can lay down on,” says Beryl about our loveseat at home. I check my clinic messages. No calls from any patients today.
*Not her real name. Apparently it’s not great for therapists to be too Google-able. Because, like, if they knew AK loved horses, and they were angry at their mom for having neglected them to go horseback riding—if their mom was Betty Draper, I guess—it might make for a weird patient-therapist dynamic.