Sunday, September 2, 2012


Tetris.  The classic game requires one to make the best possible use of the available space by packing things as tightly as possible.  It takes focus, is mildly addicting, and is quite a bit of fun.  But some people may not realize the ways in which Tetris skills can be put to use in real life.

Take, for example, the job of loading 5 beach chairs, a large cooler, a grill, charcoal, 2 smaller coolers, and sufficient towels and beach supplies for 5 people into the back of a ’96 Honda Accord named Ruby.  This was our task at 6:00am this morning, as Kelsey, Amanda, Josh, Scott and I prepared to depart for Playa Sucia for the day.  It only took a few minutes of maneuvering and critical thinking, and the five of us and our gear were on the road by 6:15.  Not bad for a Sunday morning!

The reason for our early start was due to it being Labor Day weekend—not only a holiday, but also the last weekend many Puerto Ricans will go to the beach before “fall” sets in.  We pulled into the parking area at the beach just before 9am, and our timing couldn’t have been better.  We didn’t have far to walk from our parking spot, and we found a great spot nestled back in the trees on the beach to set up camp for the day. 

I feel like I say this a lot, but we couldn’t have asked for a better beach day.  The sun shone on us all day, and the water was the perfect temperature to cool us down.  Though there were certainly plenty of people around us, I never felt like they were impinging on our space.  We alternated between relaxing, dipping in the water, and eating.  And of course at the beginning of the day we took the hike up to the cliffs and the lighthouse.

By 3:30 in the afternoon, we were all feeling the effects of a long day in the sun, and we packed up and headed for home.  After a largely rainy and cloudy month, all five of us got our first touch of color today.  Unfortunately for most of us, that color is red…but thankfully no one (except perhaps Scott, who’s goal was to go from zero to color today) is burned so severely as to cause much lasting discomfort. 

As we left the beach, it became 100% evident just how smart we were in arriving early.  We played another game of Tetris with our car as we left the parking area.  Vehicles were parked on both sides of the pothole-ridden dirt road for close to a mile (or maybe more), and cars were both coming and leaving.  Our exit involved a lot of stopping at wide parts of the road to let cars pass, and some backing up or pulling as far to the side as possible.  Slowly, but surely, we made it back to the paved section of the road, and from there, home. 

I end this day as I do so many in PR, thankful for this sun-drenched time filled with nature’s beauty, great people and lots of laughter, and just enough serendipity to guide us through life’s tricky spots.   

Josh's Tetris skills on the way home.
There's even "this much" room to spare!
(photo by Amanda)

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