Puerto Rico

It was a crazy summer that I won’t forget. That’s also the biggest reason you haven’t heard from me much.

Cleveland, Georgia, Montreal, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, followed by a hosting a guest meant that I was away or busy for all but one weekend from mid-July until mid-September. If your body is gone, your mind will leave, too.

Then there’s other distractions. The awful noise of this Presidential election. Colin Kaepernick. The burgeoning social justice movement. Monday classes in New York. Warm weather.

I’m looking forward to settling back in for the cooler months, but not before telling the last of the summer stories.

Georgia will be a very special post, rooted in both American and family history. I’m saving that one for later. But I figured I’d share with you my trip to Puerto Rico, where in late August I celebrated my thirtieth birthday with a friend, Hannibal, who I’ve known for all but seven of those years.

We landed in Puerto Rico at 2am on Friday, August 26, with only 48 hours to spend on the island. Our plane touched down on the “boring” western side – in Aguadilla. Luckily for us, it takes under two hours to get across the island to the east coast, so after a night in Aguadilla, we were off in our rental car.


Our first stop, the El Yunque National Forest, the only US government protected rainforest, where we did a two hour ATV tour. Just so you know, the hair net was required.



The highlight of the ride was a beautiful river, where we stayed for around a half an hour.



Me, about to jump into the river.


Hannibal got painted up. The paint is made through rubbing rocks found in the rainforest together.


Another river.

That night we went kayaking through mangrove swamps and into bioluminescent bay in Fajrado. It was one of the best, and most beautiful, experiences I’ve had. But because it was so dark and wet, I have no pictures of the starlit sky or glowing water. Here’s a video though.

We slept in San Juan and headed to old San Juan on Saturday morning to wander around and see what it was all about.


People feed birds at this square. Not the most comfortable place to be, for me, but this girl seems to enjoy it.


We stopped at a gallery that featured a lot of Afro-Puerto Rican art. This was my favorite piece. No cameras were allowed but I was careful.



Obligatory selfie.



Old San Juan is hilly.



Reminds me of an old Broadway Show. This was outside of some sort of cat place. The cages were being cleaned.


From atop the 16th century Castillo San Felipe del Morro.


An iguana joined me.



The La Perla neighborhood, in Old San Juan.


A server at a restaurant recommended the Ocean Park beach to us. It’s within the San Juan city limits. We were satisfied.


At Ocean Park. I always think police on horses are usually just for show but please tell me how I’m wrong.


A little later, we headed back to the west side of Puerto Rico and hung at a beachside bar in a secluded part of Rincon. Flight left at 2am.

Oh, the staycation. I hosted a friend, from France, in early September – a few days after returning from Puerto Rico. We did what felt like every sort of thing you could do in NY/NJ. Being close to home, I didn’t take many pictures, but I wanted to share this shot of the Statue of Liberty from the Circle Line Cruise.



My next trip will be to the Black Panther Party’s 50th Anniversary Commemoration in Oakland later this month, likely followed by Sao Paulo in the spring. You’ll learn why tomorrow, in a post about Plainfield.

3 thoughts on “Puerto Rico

  1. Thank you for your visual tour. Learned a lot from the beautiful photos. Looking forward to the Black Panther
    Party in Oakland photos. Charlotte O’Neal, for sure, should be there. Say hello to her for me and let her know that our hometown Plainfield was represented. Bless you!
    Phillda Ragland Njau (living in Kenya now).

  2. David,

    Great pictures as always. Your photography and comments never disappoint.
    I don’t travel myself but reading your blog allows me to share your experience.
    Janice People

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