Monday - December 7, 2009
Fajardo is a smallish town on the far northeast corner of Puerto Rico. The economy is almost entirely driven by tourism. The terrain is very hilly, and like everywhere in Puerto Rico, the streets are very narrow. The houses, which are built of concrete due to the hurricanes, are placed very close to the street, and front yards of the type seen in the Midwest do not exist. Status in Fajardo is displayed by having a home on a hill. The higher on the hill, the more upscale the owner. Our B&B was near the top of a hill, just below some very expensive condos and some astronomically priced homes in a gated neighborhood.
Monday morning, Danny and I headed west to see his family in Aguadilla. It’s a two hour drive from the far east end of the island to the west side – although heavy traffic can increase that time. Danny’s father has done some renovation to his home since we were there in 2006, and the result is most impressive. Sitting in the driveway was the Range Rover he bought via Ebay from a man in Mentor earlier this year. Danny’s brother, Javier lives a few blocks away with his wife and two children. Their son, Gabriel, is six years old, goes to a bilingual school and speaks English fluently – better than many American kids of his age. Their black Labrador dog, Foxy, just gave birth to a litter.
We all hopped into Javier’s Astrovan and went to Pino’s in Cabo Rojo for an early dinner. The food was authentic Puerto Rican cuisine: mofongo, tostones, and pollo with rice & beans. After eating, we trekked over a very bumpy dirt road to view the lighthouse there. We had to hike to the top of a steep hill. Danny’s father and I, the two oldest people in the group, made it to the top first. We took in a spectacular view of the Carribean from the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico.
On the way back to Aguadilla, we were nearly struck by a van headed the wrong way down the street, driving with its lights off in the dark of night. This was followed by a torrential but relatively brief downpour. By the time Danny and I were on our way back to Fajardo, the rain had stopped and the roads were dry. It was a long day, and we got back to the B&B around 10pm.