I hope you are enjoying my online chronicling of my recent trip. I'm doing this for several reasons - 1) It's a sort of diary for myself. A scrapbook, if you will, of my adventures with my husband. I want to be able to look back and remember, see the pictures, and perhaps show my grandkids some day. 2) It may be a helpful review of the places I've visited for someone who is planning a similar trip, a kind of TripAdvisor but on my own blog. If this is your first visit to my blog, welcome! This post is #4 of five planned. I hope you will read them all (and see the videos) then leave a comment.
We are now at port of call #3, San Juan Puerto Rico. This stop, we decided to be a little daring. Me, really. You see, I'm an adventurer, but a control freak adventurer. I have panic attacks in crowds, get sick on airplanes, am terrified of roller coasters and pretty much every ride in theme parks. Basically, I like to stay on the ground or in water.
Naturally, I sign us up to go zip lining in a foreign country. Naturally. It's an obvious choice.
We dock at 8 am. Our excursion starts at 9 am so we wander around the shopping area next to the port for a half hour or so. The quaint shopping district is geared towards tourists with shop after shop selling basically the same thing plus a lot of jewelry stores. The streets are narrow and made of cobblestone. Very pretty and reminded me of pictures I've seen of Italy. One day I'll take my own... but I digress, the excitement awaits!
Back at the dock we meet our tour handler. Our young newlywed dinner mates are there, a handful of teenagers, and an elderly couple in their 70's. How difficult can this zip line thing be? The minimum age is 5! I'd look like a silly scary cat if I chickened out now! (My nerves were already on heightened alert! This is not anywhere near the realm of my comfort zone.)
We board the bus and drive to Hacienda Campo Rico. There we are greeted by a young staff of trained, well-trained, zip line guides. They put us into harnesses and helmets then give a safety demonstration on a low line near the ground. I must have looked nervous. The guide, Ricardo, looked me straight in my sunglass-veiled eyes and said, "Are you a control freak, Colleen?" Without missing a beat, I said, "Yes, I am!" "Takes one to know one," he replied. This was all to demonstrate that if we paid attention and did what we were told, we would be perfectly safe. Hah! I wasn't convinced. My knees were shaking and even the antics of the pig and goat who were running around looking for attention couldn't take my eyes off the wires strung from little poles hundreds of feet in the air.
Still unsure if I could go through with it, I get in the back of the line when our guide leads the group up the really, really tall pole that looks like it was taken off an old sail boat with its several round holding areas. They look like nests on pirate ships. The older couple is near the front and our dining companions, the newlyweds, are in front of us. I watch all of them carefully.
Once I get up to the very top, my knees are shaking, my heart is racing, and I'm telling myself over and over again, "I want to do this. I signed up to do this. The old people did it and so can I. I want to. Really, I do. I'll regret it if I chicken out." Then I start praying. "Lord, don't let me chicken out."
Our nice guide, bless him, talks to everyone individually as he hooks them up the the wires. "Hi, How're ya doing? What do you do for a living? Oh, that's interesting. Having a good trip?", etc. I think his calm demeanor and his unwavering speed and attention to detail getting people hooked up and on their way was the only thing that kept me from climbing back down that pole. (You'll see and hear our conversation on my video below).
I have my camera around my neck and already on video. My initial thought is to let it video whatever and hold on tight with two hands. Dear Ricardo had other plans for me. "Hold on with your left, and hold the camera with your right," or something like that. "Your'e a strong woman, you can do this." What does he know? I'm about to pee myself. I do as I'm told and he gave me a gentle yet strong shove. I screamed like a little girl (by the way, the little girls on this trek didn't scream). About two seconds later I'm thinking, hey this is pretty cool. When I reach the end, the automatic brake jerks me a bit and my heart is racing. The guide at the other end says something encouraging, don't remember, I'm shaking. We are immediately whisked to zip line #2 which is tandem. Me in front, my husband in back. I feel a whole lot better knowing he's got his legs wrapped around me.
I survive #2 and feel pretty good. We hike over and through the woods on a rope bridge which was cool and then we are off to #3. I am now officially having fun! I video each and every line - there were seven of them - and by the time it's all over I want to do it again.
This topped the kayak trip, but just barely. Me facing my fear is what pushed it to the front. However, and I cannot stress this enough, this does NOT mean I'll be on a roller coaster anytime soon. NO. Absolutely not. No desire to do so. I will be zip lining again. There are lots of places in Florida.
Back to the excursion. After a brief rest and a snack provided by the tour company we returned to San Juan. There were still several hours left before we had to board the ship so we stopped at a burger joint that claimed to be the "Best in San Juan". Maybe there aren't many? It was good, though. Then we were off on a self-guided adventure to see Castillo San Cristobal, a fort built over 150 years ago to protect the city from land attack. I recommend a full day to see the entire fort system. We were only able to spend an hour to take as many pictures as I could.
My only complaint about this port of call was time. Nine hours in San Juan is not enough. There is so much to see and do. It was like coming to Orlando and only spending a few hours. You can't do Disney properly in a few hours. I told my husband that on a future vacation I wanted to return and stay at least a week. To go zip lining again!
PS, our guide wanted me to tell you he is single. See video.
Watch the YouTube video here. There is no sound on the slide show due to the length. Enjoy.
Why the blog?
I write as the Spirit moves me. I have prayed about what I'm supposed to do with my life a lot. A lot. Writing. Writing is what I believe God is leading me to do. Whether or not He wants me to write for anyone to read is His business. Much of my writing has been therapy for me so maybe I'm the only one who is supposed to read it. So, why the Blog? As a sounding board, a note pad, a place to keep my ideas and thoughts. A place to share and promote my books, and photography. Written prayers, a place to vent. Possibly, even a place for the unknown reader to learn about the love of Jesus.