What a life changing difference a year can make!
I don’t only say this because we’re living in the time of Covid-19 and Tiger King, but also because if you had told me this time last year while I was sipping on a cocktail on a beach in Puerto Rico where I would be (In sweatpants in front of my two work screens which are sitting on my kitchen counter in South Africa, day #18 of self-isolation and day 6 of South Africa’s official lock down) I would have told you that you are absolutely insane and I had better things to do… like…hunt down more cocktails and fresh seafood while my boyfriend pretended to read on a nearby beach cabana.
But before we get serious, I hope you’re staying safe and self-isolating. I hope you have the privilege of being able to effectively work from home and that you are using the time productively (resting is considered productive if you need it). I hope you’re also able to pay all the people under your employ who can’t work because of this lockdown. I’ve been using the time to obviously work (this is not a holiday), catch up with friends, work-out, meditate, re-adjust my plans for the year and read and write (What a mouthful; pretty sure that’s what the tiger said when it ate Carole’s husband)!!!
Please forgive me for the numerous Tiger King references. I really want to stop, but every single time I do I think of something ridiculous that happened in the series that should be illegal or someone sends me a related meme and I break out in stitches again. I tip my hat off to Netflix, I am actually speechless. Suffice to say, I’m glad I’ve avoided Oklahoma for all these years.
So, I’ve been thinking a lot about how certain places hold such significance after the fact and Puerto Rico seems like one of those places to me now. My senior spring break in College, still innocent and doe eyed, I ventured to Puerto Rico with some of my best friends. It was, till this day, the last trip we all did together (this is a not so subtle hint guys). I was still trying to figure out a post university profession, country and living arrangements. I also still had only 20 pages of my thesis done! I decided to screw it all and go frolic on an Island with my besties, because really what’s employment when you have friends? I’m kidding, I’m kidding. We spent most of the holiday on Vieques and till this day I can’t remember the last time I had so much fresh fruit and honestly not a care in the world; from waking up and going for a swim at 6 in the morning to kayaking in clear kayaks at 8pm in bioluminescent bays. It was then that Puerto Rico firmly stamped its place in my heart.
A year ago, post another degree in hand, less doe eyed but with some of the same anxieties, I ventured back to Puerto Rico. How 8 odd years changes how you feel about a place. Again, P.R seemed to fill me with such joy and gratitude. Partly because of my previous experience, but mainly because of where and who I was with in that moment.
We’ll pretend that restaurants aren’t expensive A.F and remind me of still being in London… The people, the history, the food; it really is a treat. I don’t normally say things like this, but it was just honestly such a vibe. If you ever make it to Puerto Rico (This is not the easiest by the way as there are very few direct flights from the US and none from London or Johannesburg) and I suggest you do as it is an economy highly dependent on tourism and will obviously be negatively affected by Covid-19, herein with some of my most memorable experiences. Ideal list if you’re there for 3-5 days!
- El Yunque National Forest
- Bio Bay: Night-time Kayak in a Bioluminescent Bay
- La Fortaleza (walking to the Fort)
- Snorkelling on Flamenco Bay
- Castillo San Cristobal
- Isla Verde
- Vieques – love the beaches, but so much to do on the Island
- Playa Flamenco
- Poet’s Passage
- Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
- Restaurants / Bars
- La Factoria
The above was seriously worth it and I would do it again and again if given half the chance (and budget)!
Bon voyage and stay safe during this period you cool cats!