Tuesday, May 1, 2012

With a name like Guilligan's...

When you’re going to a place called Guilligan Island, you hope that your trip there will be uneventful and that everything goes as planned.  (We wouldn’t want any bad weather or other circumstances transforming a 3 hour tour into a trip that lasts much longer). 

However, our trip to the little island off the coast of Guanica, Puerto Rico wasn’t without its inconveniences on Saturday morning.

First of all, I got pulled over for speeding.  74 in a 65—not even 10 over! 
On the up side, I finally found out how people know they’re getting pulled over.  I’ve always wondered this, because most police vehicles just drive around with their lights on always.  They’re not pulling someone over or going somewhere in a hurry…the lights are just flashing.  I found out the “pull over” signal of Puerto Rico on Saturday.  The cop pulled over ahead of me, then stood in the middle of the right lane gesturing forcefully at me in a way that clearly said: “You!  Go there!  Now!  You!  There!  I’m mad!” 
Needless to say, I got a ticket.  Perhaps I’ll have another Puerto Rican adventure when I try to go and pay it.

Then, we got stuck in construction traffic.  No chance of speeding after that! 

The day's poor beginning was foreshadowing for the rest of the day, you may be thinking.
But not so, my friend! 
When we got to the ferry dock, our luck started to turn around. 

The ferries leave every hour on the hour.  At 1:00, we literally bought our tickets, walked onto the ferry, sat down, and it pulled away.  We couldn’t have timed it better!  And we are VERY lucky that we weren’t 5 minutes later—or we would have been sitting on the dock for an hour waiting to take the 8 minute boat ride. 

view of the lagoon on the island from the dock at Guilligan's

On the island, we found a spot to leave our things (and this was a bit tough; it was crowded).

Then, we ate lunch and began our day of swimming and frolicking in the shallow water.  There are 2 channels through the mangrove trees, and Rachel and I donned snorkels and swam up one channel (and this was a workout, moving against the current), then floated back the other side.  Rachel had her underwater camera, so we had some fun stopping to take pictures (and hanging on to the mangroves so we wouldn’t drift away!)

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We stayed and enjoyed the sunshine and water until 5pm, then hopped on the ferry, and drove back to Ponce, where we used a free hotel voucher (a perk of booking our spring break cruise through priceline) to stay at the Howard Johnson.  It’s the first time I’ve stayed at a bargain franchise hotel since being in Puerto Rico, and I felt like I’d been transported back to the States, a little bit.

We showered, ventured into Ponce for a nice dinner at a restaurant called Lola, explored the Plaza, then returned to the hotel for a relaxing night.

In the plaza of Ponce currently, there are all these lion statues painted by various artists.  I believe that the lion is the city’s mascot (Ponce de Leon…eh?), and the city is celebrating 100 years. 

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