This is the 6th Part in the Honeymoon Flashback Series. I would like to finish sharing this whole journal that we wrote on our honeymoon in 2005 before we leave to start our new Puerto Rico life adventure this fall 2013. Go here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.
The Vortex of Ponce
Well, we left Parguera and headed to Ponce. We stopped for more super healthy groceries (beer, cookies, nuts) and for some fast food because we were having a hard time picking somewhere good to eat. Because Britton was driving, he had to order in the drive thru…in Spanish. I tried to help him, but it was hard to transfer the information across the car all mumbled through the speaker, so we ended up having to drive up to the window and talk face to face. When we tried to leave, we apparently went the wrong way because a policeman drove up and told us to turn around. This was the first of many police stops this day.
Puerto Rican Dryland Forest with cacti and everything!
Britton was a little shook up, but we managed our way out. We took a long detour and saw the desert part of the island and drove around where we could almost see Gilligan’s Island that I thought had a pretty cool name. It is just a small island about 100 meters off from Guanica.
Then we drove into Ponce, the Pearl of the South. It is probably the biggest city in south Puerto Rico. We got a little lost trying to find downtown, but once there, it was as if it had a vortex that sucked us in and we couldn’t get out.
We saw the Parque de Bombas, the awesome old red and black firehouse. We also saw the old church and we drove all the way up the hill to the mansion and cross that overlooks the whole city and you can see all the way to the ocean!
The streets were all under construction so when we decided to leave downtown when it got dark, we got really turned around and didn’t know north from south. There were no mountains like in Colorado to guide us east or west. We drove around for a while and since it was getting dark we again decided to see a movie. When all you have is free time on vacation you realize how much time you actually have to spend! We were finally able to get in and see the movie, the Island! It was a little hard to find the theatre too, but we managed and it was a fun movie.
After the movie, it was late but not as late as the other night, so we started to look for a good place to sleep. We left the theatre but somehow ended up in the vortex that took us right back downtown by the firehouse. By now it was 12:30am and there was construction on almost all of the streets and a ton of one-ways or TRANSITOS. We would try to go one way, but either the construction blocked it or the one-ways prevented it. We accidently ended up going the wrong way down the TRANSITO and got pulled over by the police now for the second time this day.
The policemen were nice and understanding giving us tourist free-passes I think. But they didn’t speak very good English and so I at first tried to help Britton by speaking across him in the car. But the policeman insisted in trying to speak English and so I stopped trying. He didn’t know the difference or words in English between his right and left so when we tried to leave and follow his directions out we ended up RIGHT BACK in downtown Ponce!
The vortex had swirled on us again! Britton thought he was going south when we were actually going north. It got a little tense in the car. We were tired, hungry, nervous from being pulled over and utterly lost. So we were more than ready to escape Ponce! Britton tried to leave and again went down a road against traffic on a one-way, and was AGAIN pulled over by the police! The police are, to say the very least, friendly and forgiving and didn’t give us ticket for any of these mistakes. The other confusing thing about being pulled over was that we didn’t even know if we were being pulled over because they drive around with their lights on at all times!
Finally after sticking to the cardinal rule when lost of going in one direction (as much as we could with all the one ways and closed roads due to construction) we were able to get out of the vortex. We were so tired we just parked up on the side of a jungle mountain road. It was much easier to sleep with the coquis instead of the dogs barking, although it was a bit creepier and dark.
This morning we got up -and lost- again trying to find breakfast. We finally got turned around and visited Tibes Ceremonial Indian Center. It was nice to learn about the original indigenous people from the island.
Re-created Taino style huts at the ceremonial village
Then we drove up to where we are now: the Coamo thermal springs. We are tired and we’ve just returned from a dip in the natural hot spring pool and are hanging out in the room watching Puerto Rican MTV.
At the Coamo Hot Springs