In most of my posts I try to focus on the positive aspects of places we travel, but when we went to Puerto Rico the destruction from Hurricane Maria was very apparent. It doesn’t take away from the natural beauty of the country, but it is impossible not to see it. I haven’t shown much of it because I wanted to focus on everything that we enjoyed when we were there. I usually don’t like calling to attention things that I can’t help or do something about, but since I am not a linesman or have very much skill in construction I can’t don much to help Puerto Rico except exposure. I honestly wish I could do something to help the people there, but I wouldn’t really know what to do.
Like I said before the destruction from the hurricane had hit most of the island and there were power lines on the ground everywhere. People had told us that only 60% of the island had power and one of my friends mom was without power for 7 months. Before we went and visited we called our cousins to see if they had needed anything, but they told us that they didn’t need anything. We ended up bringing some small things, but luckily they were prepared for the hurricane and were doing well.
As we visited parts of the island there were billboards and signs blown all over the place, we also saw a huge chunk of road caved in that they had blocked off. After going to a beach we saw a truck giving water and food to residents of that area and it was hard to see, however the people in Puerto Rico seem to be very positive about fixing up their country. They have a saying PR Se Levanta which means that they will pick themselves back up and I believe they will.
Regardless of their current situation almost everywhere we went the people were nice and helpful. It was fun getting to go back after learning Spanish, being able to communicate with people in their 1st language and getting to feel a different vibe than what I had remembered.
Bienvenidos! It has been way too long since I have written a post, now that I have some down time I thought I would post about our trip to the land of my ancestors….yes that is correct. Even though I don’t look like it I am 50% Puerto Rican and have over 400 years of family history on the Isla Del Encanto (Island of Enchantment).
My wife and I were looking for places we could visit on a discount budget and since my mom works for JetBlue we decided to use her buddy passes and spend some time somewhere tropical with surf. My wife was a bit skeptical at first because she gets nervous going to new places, especially after what happened in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria.
I had previously been to Puerto Rico 2 times, but I couldn’t remember too much because I was younger and probably didn’t appreciate traveling as much as I do now. Getting off the plane in San Juan coming from winter in Utah was a nice change and reminded us of a Spanish speaking Latino Hawaii. We had reserved a rental car and after all the paperwork we were on our way to the west side of the island.
We both fell in love with the west side of the island because of its nice beaches and the great surf. We went at a perfect time because the swell was weak all winter and a good swell came in the week we were there. When it was smaller Mika and I rented longboards and surfed together. On the bigger days she was relaxing on the shore getting dark and I was out there getting as red as a lobster, enjoying the swell.
Since I haven’t been writing too many posts I thought it would be good to give a summary of things we did and do separate posts (with more details) about some of the cool places we went in PR.
Here’s the quick version, we stayed in Rincon, Lares (where my cousins live), and Aguada, visited family saw some great beaches met up with an old friend of mine, went to La Parguera at night, surfed. After 5 days on the west side we headed back towards San Juan to see more sites like the fort San Felipe del Morro, old San Juan, and El Yunque Rainforest.
We had a great time and really enjoyed what the Isla del Encanto had for us. We both were sad to leave and go back to freezing weather but we made a deal that we would go back.
As we get closer to our departure from Chile it is a good time to reflect upon all of the fun things that we have been able to do while here. We have been able to see many pretty places and eat a lot of good food. It’s been a while since I have lived in a South American country and it has been good for me to continue practicing my Spanish.
Mika doesn’t want to think about the departure because it means that she will no longer be so close to her parents and other family, but it is almost time for us to go and continue our own adventures.
Every month Mika and I try to go on a special date. Last week she decided to surprise me and take me to Concon and drive along the coast and then we watched the sunset while eating all kinds of snacks. It was a good time and a fun way to enjoy our time together.
We’ve also made it a tradition that almost every time we go to the Centro of Quilpue that we go and get ice cream. It’s so cheap that it almost doesn’t make sense not to……well that’s my way of justifying it at least.
I know it has been a while since I have written but I have a good excuse. After 3 weeks of being sick, I went to the doctor and found out that I had strep throat! I’m not sure what hurt worse being sick or getting the penicillin vaccine in my butt. I’ve never had a penicillin shot before and everyone that I talked said it hurt really bad, I now know that they were not kidding. It was hard feeling horrible and not being able to go out and do things, but my sickness was more grave than what I had anticipated and I was hesitant to go to the doctors.
Now I’m feeling good and ready to explore, yesterday we went to the Quilpue Zoo. It was nice and refreshing to finally get out of the house and do something different.
Most of the zoos that I have been to are concrete jungles and flat but the Quilpue Zoo is on the side of a hill. It has a more rustic or park feel with dirt paths going to different animal cages.
We saw many different types of animals but my wife and I enjoyed watching the monkeys play around. All of the monkeys were accustomed to ask for food and it was funny when they would stick their arms out through the fence holes.
We spent a good time at the zoo and then went and got lunch at a quaint restaurant in Quilpue Centro to end our day date.
Totally unrelated to the zoo we went to a place called J Cruz in Valparaiso and ate a traditional Chilean fast food called Chorillana. It is a very famous touristy place in Valparaiso city center and is in a place you wouldn’t expect it to be. When we got inside it is decorated with all kinds of random things and people have posted pictures/written things on the wall. There was also a guy playing an acoustic guitar when we first got there.
The food was really yummy! They serve in 2 sizes, massive and even bigger for 2 or 3 people. We ate like pigs and enjoyed every moment of it. Their natural juice was also really good, I would definitely recommend going there if you ever visit Valparaiso.
Chile has many beautiful sights to see. I have been fortunate enough to be able to drive North and South of Viña del Mar with my in-laws and wife. There is a lot to see and it reminds me of California with a highway going along the coast similar to the Pacific Coast Highway. On Wednesday we went to Maitencillo, Cachagua, Zapallar, and Horcon in search of some waves to surf. We drove to Maitencillo and didn’t find any great spots to surf so we continued up the highway to Cachagua which was beautiful and there was only one other family on the beach.
Side note: Chile is a great place to visit from March-May because most of the summer tourist have left which makes it a lot less crowded.
We walked the beach and found a rock pathway that went along the coast and was next to some huge houses. After walking around we decided to go Zapallar (further North) to continue the wave search but Zapallar is very enclosed and had no waves. As we went down into the city of Zapallar we passed through the quaint city center and as we were driving down the hill getting closer to the beach the houses started to get larger and looked like the belonged to affluent people. We made it down to one of the beaches and as we were walking down the stairs off in the distance my wife saw dolphins so we ran over to some rocks to try and get a better view. The dolphin was shy at first and then it started jumping around not too long after and we stayed and watched it for a while.
After watching the dolphin we decided to head back home. On the way, we decided to make one more stop in Horcon. It wasn’t the prettiest place because it is a humble fishing town but we saw a rock arch and made our way over to it.
We walked past an artisan market and there was a bridge with many ribbons tied to it, they call it the bridge of desires puente de deseos, because you write your desire on a ribbon and then tie it to the bridge. We took some pics and continued to the arch.
We then walked back and on the way back we were able to watch a beautiful sunset, it was unexpected because it was such a great view from a place that wasn’t as pretty as all of the other places we had visited.
Yes, we are still alive and well but the struggle is real. At first I didn’t have any trouble thinking of things to write about and expound upon but we have fallen out of the routine of writing and updating the blog. I still have a lot of fun things and trips to write about but it can be hard to sit down and actually do it. If there is something that you are prorastinating find the best way for YOU to get it done as soon as possible. Personally I can have a hard time starting projects. No excuses should be made, I know it might sound cliche but Just Do It!
Once I start, my focus is set on completing a task as soon as possible. For example I recently made a video edit of some of our adventures in Chile. I started it one day, worked on it for about 2 and a half hours then finished it the next day in about an hour or so. It still a skill that I am developing but video editing and filming is fun for me. I like being able to capture moments that we have enjoyed and having the ability to go back and relive them later. It’s the same as photos. I don’t like being in photos but it’s fun looking back at all the memories I’ve had with my wife.
Back to the adventure part of our stories, we have been doing a lot of fun things here in Chile. We have been to the sand dunes in Concon, surfing in Reñaca and Concon, made a trip along the coast from Valparaiso heading down to San Antonio, day trips to around the city of Valparaiso, and a trip to El Cajon de Maipo.
We had planned the trip to El Cajon de Maipo 2 weeks ago but were unable to go one weekend because of the weather up in the mountains. The next week we made the trip over to La Cordillera Chilena, Chilean Mountain Range. It was a long trip because we didn’t want to go through the tolled part of Santiago, the tolls can be pretty expensive but can cut your trip in half, it also didn’t help that the family dog decided to join the trip. We were about to leave the house and their family dog figured out that we were leaving and got inside the car and wouldn’t get out. They decided to bring him but he didn’t cope too well with all the traveling and the cold. The un-tolled roads en route to El Cajon de Maipo had so many curves and turns, I don’t usually get motion sickness but it was too much for me this time. Most of the highways here have many turns and it can be hard to get used too. The dog, Doki was freaking out most of the drive, he was changing seats and moving all around. It took us a long time to reach El Cajon de Maipo because my In-laws insisted on taking pictures every 5 minutes it felt like.
Finally we made it to our destination a natural hot springs camping area called Termas Valle de Colina. After about an hour and a half of Mika’s mom dissaproving of various camping sites we finally found one and set up camp. Doki wasn’t feeling good and started to decorate our campsite with what he had eaten. We set up camp and then made our way over to the hot springs, it was extremely crowded with tourists and many people from Santiago. There were two hot springs at the very top the highest one being the hottest, which nobody was in, and I put my feet in the second hottest one for about 5 minutes and my feet turned red, it felt like I was boiling. We then went down two more levels to be with Mika’s parents and some friends.
The views were great from that hot spring, you coud see snow in the mountains and the valley below, but it was lukewarm so we went up to the next hot spring which was more like a jacuzzi. We stayed there as long as we could switching back and forth from lukewarm to hot enjoying the scenery.
After a couple of hours we went back to camp had barbequed some pork then prepared to go to bed. Doki slept in our tent and was walking over everyone the whole night. One of the friends, Francisco, helped let Doki out five times for him to do his business. Needless to say I didn’t really sleep that well because it was freezing and because Doki walked on my face two times.
I woke up around 8 in the morning and left the tent because it smelt horrible! It was like an several animals had died and a sulfur factory, I wanted to burn my clothes to get rid of the stench. I quickly changed and invited others to go but nobody followed. It was a nice relief getting into the hot springs because I was no longer cold. After a while more and more people started funneling into the hot springs as well as my wife and everyone else that I came with.
After a couple more hours of relaxation we went back to camp and packed up. Doki had made landmines almost everywhere and it wasn’t a pleasant smell when packing up so we were glad to get that done.
We stopped several times on the way back becuase Doki was sick and we went to a waterfall we had seen from the road driving up to the hot springs.
On the way back we decided to go check out a natural water resevoir that provide the water to the City of Santiago, it was 22 km up a road we passed on the way to the hot springs. Guess what, it had a lot of curves as well! We made almost to the top but decided to get out and walk because there were about a thousand cars that were blocking the entrance and exit and had made a ton of traffic where there shouldn’t be. We made it to the resevoir and it was a pretty sight.
We walked back down and got back on our way down to the main road. Like I said before there were many curves and Doki wasn’t enjoying it, in fact he threw up, mostly water, in the very back of the car with Francisco. We stopped as soon as we could and did some quick clean up and continued on our way…..like usual making stops every hour or so.
Despues de 2 años he podido volver a mi Chilito bello! Muchas cosas y lugares han cambiado, por mi punto de vista siento que a cambiado para mejor, y me refiero a que sigue siendo bello pero ahora esta mas bello aun. Tener la posibilidad de ver a mis padres, amigos de infancia y familia es maravilloso. Yo me fuí soltera y volví casada, jamás pense que pasaría tan temprano pero feliz de la decisión que he tomado.
Mis padres nos hiceron una fiesta de boda para celebrar con mi gente de chile y les salio maravilloso mi madre hizo mi vestido y le quedo explendido (no lo digo porque sea mi mama si no es porque enserio tiene un don muy genial al crear y hacer todo tipo de costura). Agradecida de la familia y los amigos que apoyaron a mis padres a que todo les saliera tan magnifico! . Bailamos toda la noche, mis amigos y familia hizieron un show en el cual bailaron para nosotros y ellos nunca bailan! entonces fue muy lindo que lograron todo eso por nosotros, ver a mi papa bailar fue genial porque el tiene el mismo paso para todo tipo de baile y ver que tenia demasiados pasos aprendidos fue un gran paso para el y bueno para mi porque se que le costo pero le salio muy biennn!!!!!.
nos sentimos muy queridos y agradecemos de poder estar aqui! en chilito, el amor que nos han dado es muy lindo y es por eso que me gusta porque la gente aqui es tan cariñosa, amable .
La vida en hawaii la ame fue una experiencia increíble poder vivir con mi esposo y tener una luna de miel por casi 8 meses fue maravilloso tuvimos excelentes aventuras, conocimos gente muy maravillosa de la cual creamos nuevas amistades que podremos ver de nuevo .
Wow! No se como comenzar a explicar todas las cosas que vivimos porque es sin palabras solo puedo decir que queda en mi corazón , pero si quieren saber sobre alguna caminata les casi prometo que la vamos a saber porque prácticamente vivíamos de aventuras y surf. Tengo por seguro que van a pensar “estos niños no trabajaron o estudiaron” les cuento que si lo hicimos mi amado gringo se a graduado de la universidad, a pesar de todo siempre teníamos tiempo para poder vivir la vida en hawaii al 100% hawaiian style!
Una de las cosas que les aconsejo que hagan cuando vayan a cualquier isla de hawaii pero principalmente en Oahu porque yo lo hice allí es nadar con delfines es una experiencia increíble no tienen la necesidad de pagar a un tour que cobran casi 150 dolares, ustedes solo necesitan las ganas, la suerte de encontrarlos y un kayak(pueden nadar sin nada pero yo preferí llevar un kayak porque fue mucho mas cómodo y rápido), traten de ir temprano en la mañana tipo 6 a 7am al lado Oeste de la isla (west side) porque el océano en aquel lugar es mil veces mas transparente! La playa se llama electric beach o pueden ir hasta el extremo de Yokohama bay.
Y si les da miedo estar en el océano bueno tienen también demasiadas caminatas de la cual podrán ver miradores que no olvidaran jamás o unas cataratas enormes que son de película. últimamente han cerrado muchas caminatas, ahora son ilegales por culpa de algunas personas que son irresponsables, que mueren o se lastiman; Sean prevenidos. Yo tuve la suerte que nunca me pillaron y me dieran un ticket pero hay gente que no tiene la misma suerte.
Y se me olvidaba no piensen que por cambiamos a chile no tendremos aventuras… es al contrario tendremos mil mas por contarles asi que sigan aquí para poder decirles mas de nuestras aventuras!!! Nuevas aventuras comienzan yujuuuuuuuuu!!