Well....we planned on waking up early...try 11am. We left the hotel and I immediately broke the "No fast food" rule by going to Burger King. It's not that I don't like a good meal...I do! But we had a lot to see and I didn't want to waste time eating when I could be photographing something. Michael really wanted to go to a place on the side of the road to eat so we could experience real Puerto Rican dining. I mentioned that I had done so the world over and more times than not the food is either awesome or an invitation to Montezuma's Revenge. So I affectionately labeled the road side places as, "Diarrhea Joints." So as the day progressed as we would pass these places I would ask Michael if he would like to partake and he would give me a dirty look as he insisted they weren't diarrhea joints.
Our plan for the day was to go to the famous Yunque Rainforest. We plugged it into the GPS (my Garmin from the US worked there without the need for additional maps which was awesome) and we went on our way. Once out of the city of San Juan the beauty of the island was really able to display itself as the traffic cleared somewhat...at least on the highways. We traveled quite a bit and needed some lunch. I didn't say we couldn't eat at a diarrhea joint...but I didn't make it easy for Michael to eat there either I must say. We got off the expressway and headed into a shopping center that had a KFC. I speak a good deal of Spanish and ordered everything in Spanish except for the name of the meal which was listed in English. Ordering through the drive thru the conversation went like this (translated into English except for the name of the item):
Me, "Yes, Id like to order two Big Crunch Combo Meals."
Drive thru speaker, "Two what?"
Me, "Two Big Crunches."
Drive thru speaker, "What?!"
Me, "I'd like two Big Crunches please."
Drive thru speaker, "I don't understand you."
Me, "Two Big Crunches," said with a little more gusto....
Drive thru speaker, "Oh, two Beeg Crunchees!"
Michael and I started to laugh and then pulled up to pay. The lady told me my Spanish was good but my pronunciation of the meal was wrong.....all I could do was laugh. It took us 45 minutes to get out of the shopping center because the traffic was so bad. We got back onto the expressway and found our way to Yunque Rainforest....well we found the Southern road which we found out was blocked off and didn't go through the rainforest like the maps suggest. No explanation as to why it was blocked off.
We did find this amazing house that was only half finished that was in the rainforest and the walls were all missing on the outside....we saved it on the GPS to come back and do a shoot there. We took some awesome shots and just marveled in the beauty of the place which was actually the Yunque city (tiny), not the actual rainforest because the road was blocked.
At this point we realized that Michael's window wasn't rolling up which sucked because it was raining off and on. To show solidarity with Michael I also kept my window down during all the rain storms so he knew I was feeling his pain. We plotted a course to the northern road of Yunque and had to circle around to get there because of the road closure. We got to the rainforest and only had 1 hour to look at everything because it was getting close to 6pm and was closing. There is only one paved road in the park but we managed to find a dirt road that was closed and of course we drove around the cones and went down it! That was where it got awesome. It reminded me of the rainforests in Australia. We went until it ended and did a fun photo shoot where we were certain the Chupacabra monster was hiding.
We left the rainforest and headed back to the southern road to get some shots of the city during the moonlight. Only problem is that the moon never came out. So we were driving in total darkness in a small city where all the locals were coming out to party. I was driving about 40 mph in our Expedition when I hit a major pothole...the car veered to the right and headed straight towards three Puerto Rican men who were walking on the side of the road. They started screaming, "Ay, ay ay!" and we started screaming, "Crap!" I turned the car away from them at the last moment and they started screaming bad words....we sat stunned for a moment and after driving for about 25 seconds we started laughing uncontrollably. It was one of those laughs that you do to release some anxiety.....I felt horrible for scaring the men but I was certain if we went back to apologize there might be some fisticuffs happening....so we decided to keep driving.
We called the rental car company "Target" and told him the problem. He told us to bring the car back. We drove back to the car agency and told the guy we wanted a discount for having to bring the car all the way back. The guy looked at us cross eyed and told us, "No discount." He told us he didn't believe that we had to drive all the way back from the rainforest....so it wasn't a big deal. We swapped cars and left knowing we wouldn't rent from them again.
We drove back to the hotel and while doing so passed through hooker alley. We stopped at a red light and we were propositioned by one....unfortunately it wasn't a woman...but it looked like one. We realized it wasn't a woman when we heard him talk....we laughed again. We got back to the hotel and then walked to Los Binos for dinner.
We got back to the hotel and I caught the Laker game on TV. This was the game where Kobe hit the unbelievable 3-pointer as time expired for the win. I yelled and screamed so loud I woke up the hotel and Michael came out of the bathroom with his pants half down wondering what was wrong with me.....it was 2:30am over there.....it was a wonderful day with many memories....Puerto Rico is awesome!!!