puerto rico - day 7 - vieques

we wake up early and head to the main strip in esperanza to a breakfast spot called 'belly buttons'. their credit card ability is down so we have to use the last of our cash. this is mildly problematic b/c there's only one atm on the island and it's in the other town, isabel segunda. we see michael & jen walking down the street. i look at them but m says 'no, no, look away', b/c she's afraid they'll think we're stalking them. jen sees us and comes over. it's the last day in vieques for them too and they haven't done the bio-bay yet. they can't decide whether to do it or not. we're planning to do the bio-bay later this evening. we plan to meet that night at bananas for a drink. gary shows up, to rent us bikes for the day. we ride back to the room, grab fins and masks, slather spf. hit the road.

it's several miles up the road, thankfully flat, but the sun is a hammer. there's a map in my back pocket that we check every once in awhile. at last we find the main road to the beaches. the turn off to the 1st beach is blocked off with cement dividers. so is the next one. we can't tell if it's meant for all traffic or only vehicles so we ride bikes around the dividers and down gravel roads. the map seems to say we're near garcia beach. we come across a steamroller and paving equipment. we navigate our way back to garcia beach. it's completely abandoned. we can see the smoother waters of red beach in the next cove. we navigate back and figure our way to red beach. a road crew, having a break under a gazebo, whistles at us. the beach is closed, which is damn unfortunate b/c it's beautiful. we make our way back to the main road. we find our way to the next beach - which takes about 45 min of thirst-inducing, nettle-penetrating exertion - secret beach. not a secret apparently b/c it's populated w/ 10 or so people. no matter. we walk our bikes all the way to the end of the cove. we chain them to a tree (b/c m is convinced that men w/ machetes are hiding in bushes waiting to prey on tourists. a guidebook, she swears, advises this). we swim, rest. snorkel, rest. swim, rest. hours tock by.

later we're riding back to town. sun-soaked and salty skin, our water supply diminished. the ride back seems twice as long as there. it's like riding bikes in a sun-lit sauna. we flirt with heat exhaustion and arrive downtown at duffy's dripping wet, like we just stepped fully clothed out of the ocean. we split a veggie burger and drink beers and a couple pitchers worth of water.

later that evening. we're downtown, across from duffy's, meeting the contact from abe's who'll take us out to the bio-bay. we see michael & jen having someone take their picture. we don't say hi b/c we'll see them later. before long, we're kayaking at dusk, out into the middle of Mosquito Bay, then jumping into the water, flailing joyous arms. it's been a perfect day. at some point we realize that 5 years ago today I was having brain surgery. i breathe in deep grateful breaths because this day, 5 yrs later, is the reverse mirror image of that day. this liquescent once-in-a-lifetime kind of day.

back in town we see michael & jen at duffy's. they're sitting at the same table we had a drink at the previous night. we point out to them the table where hours earlier we had beer and water. that soaring feeling won't diminish.


mogomom said...

5 years ago that very day. wow. fucking awesome.

bp said...

yes, it was the 5 yr anniversary of the first of two surgeries. that was a bad day. this was a great day.