Sunday, June 26, 2011

Puerto Rico

Traveling to Puerto Rico in March was such an adventure! My friend Terra had a beautiful destination wedding. I ran through the airport like a crazy tourist in search of a postcard and stamp so I could continue on my tradition. Any time I have a layover I send my parents a postcard from the airport I'm stopped in. 

I arrived to the Fort San Cristobal just before they closed. The timing was perfect because the sun was setting and the lighting was gorgeous! 
I walked along the path towards the other fort, Fort San Felipe del Morro. I had a travel book with a mini map so I wasn't completely lost-until I tried meeting up with Terra's fiancee Kevin. This is a view looking back towards Fort San Cristobal.
Isn't this side street beautiful?
After getting directions, I connected with Kevin and his family. I felt like part of the family within moments of meeting them all. Terra joined us and took me back to their apartment. I was thrilled to see it since they were renting from a local. She is beautiful.
Terra sent me a photo from her bedroom a few days before I left on my trip. I admired the lighting and the contrast of the dark wood against the light linens.
I enjoyed how open the apartment was. I had fun playing with the echo from the rooms upstairs.
Nightlife in San Juan is beautiful!
The El Yunque Rainforest was lush and humid. The hike on La Mina Trail was picturesque and heavenly. I especially liked looking up at the canopy.
I feel that this photo sums up everything I dreamt my trip would look like:

Our guide took us to a lookout point and to another waterfall for photo opportunities. One of the Italian tourists convinced me to climb up a bunch of rocks to pose for a photo.
I joined my new friends John & Samera for lunch and a stroll along Luquillo Beach.
The 3 of us said goodbye to the rest of our group and another guide picked us up for the evening excursion. After signing a waiver, an attractive local helped me into a life jacket and then trained the large group how to properly row a double kayak in the ocean. I was told I would be paired with one of the young guides and I was oh so happy!

There were several groups kayaking into Laguna Grande the bioluminescent bay of Fajardo. I was paired with the leader of our group who entertained me with a Spanish lesson and some Puerto Rican slang thrown in. I got a little spooked when we were the first going through the channel that was completely covered with a mangrove canopy. When we arrived at the bay I was completely speechless.

That night, it was clear, quiet, and there was a full moon. Once all the kayaks arrived we were shown the special feature of the bay.

The bio-luminescent microscopic algae lit up the water as my hands dipped quickly into the water. I was surprised when one of the guides tapped the kayak and shrimp lit up. The dinoflagellates convert chemical energy into light and emit tiny blue flashes when the water is  disturbed.

Sadly, I don’t have any photos from my excursion because I did not have the proper water housing for underwater photography. Photos that people did capture at bio luminescent bay can be seen here.

On Friday, my friend Sally met me at Fort San Felipe del Morro. I showed Sally some tips on photography while we walked around the fort and enjoyed the sun.
The great thing about making friends along the way when traveling on your own: great company and photos of you on your trip!
Sally and I grabbed some local food at a restaurant nearby. Mashed plantains are the best!

The Cathedral de San Juan was a beautiful location to have the ceremony. 
They made great use of the brightly painted buildings. Terra was a beautiful bride. 
The reception was held at Hotel El Covento. The entrance into the reception was decorated very elegantly. Terra had the cutest table place cards: suckers that were shaped like X’s and O’s. 
I think it greatly benefited Terra that she is a wedding photographer. The decorations and details were magical. Walking into the reception was quite the experience.
It was one of the lightest, fluffiest cakes. I went back for seconds, not caring if anyone noticed. I doubt this is shocking to Terra.  
The night blew by so quickly with the wonderful food, music, and dancing. Terra’s day was perfect!

Only having a short time left, I opted to go to a nearby beach. I hadn’t planned on going to the beach so I was in shorts instead of a swimsuit. That didn’t stop me for looking for sea glass in water up to my waist! Check out flickr for more photos.

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