A few photos from a mini-holiday: Vieques

A few photos from last weekend, mostly from Vieques and the El Yunque rainforest. And here are the rest of my Flickr photos (I'm enjoying the cool tags, blog-friendliness, and searchability).

I meant to write about the experience, but I've been having trouble putting ideas together. So here's a quick list of happy memories:

1) Tropical sun on the skin. You need it periodically. It's like dropping butter onto a hot pan, perfect chemical joy. Heat isn't enough, nor is the ocean; what you need is the direct contact with sun itself.

2) You do strange things on vacation, which you would never do at home. Like asking for favors from strangers when you planned something rather poorly, or the taxi doesn't show up. Or: eating improbable food (i.e., coconut bread stuffed with cheese and guava).

3) Being in a Spanish-speaking place is exhilarating and frustrating, especially if you only had two years of education in the language in junior high school. The basic grammar is there, but the vocabulary is pathetic. Luckily, many words overlap with English, and my accent is good owing to the similarity of Spanish's "t" "d" and "r" sounds to Hindi. Overall, it's just about enough to get basic directions and maybe order food from a roadside stand. But it's sorely lacking when you're trying to explain the difference between Sikhism and Islam to a Jibara peasant-type, who speaks no English. The only headway I could make was "Indiano."

My favorite word from this past weekend was disfrutar: enjoy the fruits of your disfruta. Also, in Puerto Rico especially, I like hearing Reggaeton everywhere; it seems like Reggaeton has completely taken over street music in San Juan. Hip hop is declining.

4) Snorkeling off of Vieques. Strange fish. A puffer?

5) Moss in the rain forest.

6) Scrabble in a cabana by the beach. Geeky, yes. But why not?

7) Taking the $2 ferry and listening to the local men singing Puerto Rican romantic ballads.

8) A break from all the usual crap.

UPDATE: I didn't take this photo, but we did pass this spot outside of Camp Garcia. The military is gone, but protest signs from two years ago are still up.