vacation had hovered for so long that its actual arrival was a surreal thing. welcome and strange at once.
we take the redeye from portland to nyc, hr layover, snow on wings require de-iceing, finally into san juan, navigate our way to the rental car shuttle buses, heat like a blanket, freeway driving ridiculous. rental car agent upsells insurance but mm ain't biting. finally, we're in the car bound for rincon on the other side of island, sheer exhaustion under us, m driving and me fumbling w/ maps. there appear to be 2 speeds on freeway - dangerous fast and dangerous slow. we skirt the margins. after we hit arecibo, the freeway turns to road and w/ that come endless stoplights, strip-malls, blast-furnace heat, commerce-fueled charmlessness. we bring ipods but there's no auxillary jack so we're at the mercy of the radio which is unlisten-able and pounding so we drive in silence.
we arrive at our lodging in rincon, casa del artiste at villa orleans. by coincidence the main house - which sleeps 12 or so - happens to be vacant for the duration of our stay so we have the grounds to ourselves (the decks, the private beach etc) though we share w/ lizards and 2 sweet dogs who roam the property. we bring our stuff up the stairs and decompress, both of us tempted to flop on the bed but resisting the urge b/c a nap, even a 20 minute refresher, stands to blow our cycles widely off-course. (At this point we've been up for about 30 hrs not counting intermittent airplane 'sleep'). It's decided that the best thing to do is to drive into town, get some light grocery essentials (ie coffee, beer) and head to hotel cofresi to meet up w/ jen & michael and the wedding party for their pre-arranged cocktail party. We are warned about something called a pirate drink which we manage to drink anyway.
next morning, we down coffees and sit ocean-side. we make our way into town which looks completely different than we pictured and attempt to find a restaurant we've heard about but which apparently does not exist any longer. after eating in the new restaurant that exists in the same bldg as the old one, we head back into town for flip-flops. in an expatriate surf town this should be easy but it takes a long time. we find 45$ flip-flops in high end surf shop and 9$ piece-o-crap flip-flops in farmacia. neither are to my liking. finally find something in between. we head back home and swim in the caribbean.
later that night we go to tres palmas for pig-roast rehearsal dinner.