Hi everyone — so sorry it took me so long to post! I finally have my little photo album of my trip up here. Click on the thumbnail for a full picture and caption.
Here are a few of my favorites:
coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
the Bacardi mascot! And the only picture with me in it — my reflection, looking a little cross-eyed trying to get the perfect shot, is in the back mirror…
Puerto Rican folk dancing show in the San Cristobal Fortress in central Old San Juan.
long, dark, kinda-scary-if-you’re-alone tunnel leading to the Fortress’s courtyard.
colorful buildings of old San Juan, on a busy street at night-time.
pastel-colored, yacht-ridden Tortola, capital of the British Virgin Islands.
“Treasure Island” in the back through the haze, off the coast of Tortola.
beautiful clean water!
climbing the long, tortuous, dirt roads of the immensely mountainous island. Houses are sparsely located; each owner seems to have their own latitude (or is it longitude?) of mountainside…
about half-way up to the top. How large does our ship look down there?!
mural of Tortolan folk dance known as Bamboshay, which our tour guide described as a cross between Dominican merengue and Cuban / Puerto Rican Salsa.
Samana, a very rural, agricultural area on the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic. In sharp contrast to the very middle-class Tortola, Samana is very poor.
children would see our open-air tour bus approach and would run outside hands opened begging for American money. This little boy started to cry after our tour guide told him to get lost. After that, people felt sorry for the little ones, so they’d give them dollar bills, which really opened up the flood gates of every house along every street…
They’re building a dam so hopefully by this time next year they will have running water. Right now people — mostly women and children from what I saw — had to walk to a well or a local proprietor with imported bottled water for sale and carry large bottles back to their houses. Most people didn’t own cars. Some had a mule or horse, and a lucky few had scooters, but most just walked everywhere.
a man on his chicken farm. People here were so unused to tourists, everyone was so nice. They’d all come out of their houses, wave at us, or come up and talk to us — or our tour guide anyway, who would translate their Spanish into English.
man washing his hands in the ocean.
artwork for sale on the beach.
hehehe, I was one of the two Americans brave enough to eat the local food. At a beach restaurant (basically two picnic tables set up outside of woman’s kitchen) I tried to order rice and beans, but the restaurant owner / cook couldn’t understand my Spanglish. A man ordered fish, so I asked her if she had “pollo / chicken?” Her face brightened into a big smile and she screamed “yes, yes!” It was definitely her specialty — the best barbecued chicken I’ve ever had!
The other Americans, though they wouldn’t order food, had no problem ordering drinks. They all ordered pina coladas, but I took the tour guide’s suggestion and ordered a local “coco loco” which I discovered was simple coconut juice and rum. The woman who owned the restaurant came out to our table bearing what appeared to be a machete. I jumped in my seat, almost threw my wallet at her and ran off. Everyone must have had the same facial expression as me, since she looked at us all like we were nuts. She soon returned with some pinapples and a coconut for me, hacked off the tops of the fruit, plopped some straws into each and set them before us, along with a big ole bottle of rum. We all looked at each other quizzically. We were supposed to decide how much rum to put in our own drinks! I’m not a bartender! I had to ask her to do mine for me. She really thought we were a crazy group. That was an excellent meal though…
One woman felt sorry for the dog sitting at my feet and ordered a chicken plate just to give to him. Of course after she was all done feeding the cute little guy, her hands were covered with barbecue sauce and grease (I ate mine with fork and knife). She then asked for a faucet. There’s no running water on the island, hence no such thing (we had to flush toilets with buckets of water — I never got the hang of it to be honest and just resigned not to have to go to the bathroom the whole time I was there). When the restaurant owner simply frowned, the American woman of course began to hystericize — “what do I do, what do I do, my hands, my hands!” The poor restaurant owner had to bring out a jug of very coveted water and pour it over the tourist woman’s hands. Then everyone else wanted some. I was so embarrassed!
some more houses amidst the beautiful, lush greenery.
now taking a private scooter ride into the town to shop. The tourist shops were overpriced, but I felt like it was such a poor country that so needed tourist dollars, I bought a couple of things — a cute little monkey made out of a coconut and a little hand painting.
Anyway, I have many more pics, here!