Monday, April 27, 2009
Isla del Encanto
First I eagerly unfolded the embroidered T-shirts bought from a souvenir shop in Old San Juan. And I rifled through the pockets for postcards that I never did send from Bayamon as planned. Then came the carefully wrapped decoration personalized by the artist, a Frenchman named Nico. I bought it for the foyer, but now I think it looks better closer to the kitchen.
Next, I coddled the coconut confection bought from a street vendor who understood but didn’t speak English. Finally, I pulled out the book that I never did finish on the trip. These I’d cordoned off with my unused electronic devices and six boarding passes in a separate piece of luggage to keep them close. Everything else returned to San Diego worse for wear and well ahead of me due to significant flight delays in both Miami and LA.
This one blouse did hold up well on the way to The Island of Enchantment. During one leg I shared cabin space with Bull’s Eye, the dog featured in all the Target commercials. Bull's Eye is her stage name; she's really named Nicky and she was headed to Miami for a photo shoot. The dog had her own seat in first-class, unlike her makeup artist, who had to tough it out in coach.
There was the still-damp bathing suit I packed in a plastic bag. It made its debut one very warm afternoon at Balnearo El Escambron and still carried the faint scent of SPF 45 sunscreen spray that had worked well where I remembered to apply it.
The swimsuit shared suitcase space with a sweat-stained tech shirt, running shorts and very muddy socks from a six-hour hike that we all agreed was the high point of the vacation (and that’s both a fair statement and a pun that you’ll get after my next post). I left my running shoes behind, still caked in creamy coffee-colored dirt.
Another top did double-duty at a downtown waterfront dinner of authentic Puerto Rican pork and plantains and the next day’s excursion through hilly, historic San Juan. My favorite shorts survived a small spill of tequila-infused sangria at Maria’s Restaurant, only to fall victim to melting lemon sorbet less than 30 minutes later.
The Doxie Derby T-shirt never did get to go out in public, nor, of course, did an old pair of college shorts and oversized T-shirt that I slept in each night. Those I wore the evening Chip made us jambalaya before flying to Richmond, Va. for a weeklong solo bike ride to Altoona, Pa. And whenever we all gathered in Adirondack chairs under the shelter of Chip and Sarah’s carport as darkness fell or daylight rose, the air always carried the threat of rain. Sometimes, it even delivered.