The most eventful March of my life…..

Do you remember when you were a kid and time would just crawl? Waiting for Christmas and birthdays and all the exciting moments in-between meant that everything seemed to drag. There comes a point when everything seems to go by so quickly that you really wish time would slow down. I can’t believe that as I type this we are three weeks short of being in Puerto Rico a year. It seems like a month ago that we flew back here after Christmas at home. And I really wish I could make it all stand still for a moment so that I have time to take it in.

March was a pretty good month for us. Rob started a new role within his company in Operations and has settled really well. I’m so proud of how hard he works and his dedication. I am most definitely biased but I’m in awe of how he adapts to situations – no complaining about being tired or not getting enough sleep. He’s so easy going and enjoys his job. He seems to find such a good balance on the right amount of stress that you should have. The fact that he works so hard has given me a wonderful opportunity to not have to work for a little while – I get to enjoy so many moments with Michael and while I do miss working at times, that time spent with him is something I’ll never regret.

March just flew. We had visitors staying with us for a lot of it and it was just so lovely to have friends here. My best friend flew all the way from Daegu in South Korea and spent three lovely weeks catching up. She had to put up with a lot of drama her first week here and I’m eternally grateful to her for being there for me. But more about that later. Then on the 18th our friends Steph & Vinny arrived for two weeks. We managed to fit so much into that few weeks that I wanted to catalogue it here so I can remember in the future.

So Siobhan arrived and the first week was a lot of running around. Two of the Irish ladies here in Dorado and myself were organising a St. Patricks Day party for our friends and some work colleagues of the boys. It was a busy week planning, decorating, organising catering, a bar, music etc. In the middle of the week I was having issues with the renewal of my marbete (local tax/NCT/third party insurance). It’s compulsory to have one and very difficult to organise when you don’t speak Spanish. So we employed someone to do it for us. So many problems. Firstly the dealer that I purchased my Mitsubishi from had never sent me the Title and registration. So Miguel followed up with them and we discovered that the dealer had closed down and no one knew where the documents were. Eventually he managed to track them down but we discovered then that there were some outstanding tickets on the car from a previous owner. We then discovered that we couldn’t get insurance because of all these issues. Eventually we did get the Marbete but it cost in the region of $500 which is five times more than it should have. We got it on the 17th and on the morning of the 18th I emailed the documents to Rob and told him to ring the insurance company to organise insurance. Anyway, that day I was decorating for the party on the 19th. I had brought Michael for vaccinations that morning and he wasn’t feeling the best after so he stayed with a friend while I ran to the shops for some last minute things. We had received some worrying news the day before about a family member and I guess I was distracted with everything going on and in a hurry to get back to Michael when I was the cause of an accident. A car, two cars ahead of me braked with no brake lights and the car in front of me barely managed to stop. Unfortunately I was just going to fast and I didn’t see her stop and I drove into her and drove her into the car in front. When we got out of the car I was so upset to see that it was my good friend that I had crashed into and instantly started crying as she has a little girl the same age as Michael. I was worried the baby was in the car. Thankfully everyone was ok but there was a lot of damage. My car was towed away. Rob hadn’t had time to call the insurance company. I’m so glad no one was injured. The money, while significant at over $10,000 is just money. I would never have forgiven myself if anyone had been injured and not only did it leave me with whiplash and back pain for a couple of weeks, it also left me very nervous and questioning my driving capabilities. Anyway, what’s done is done now and once everyone is ok.. I’ll move on!

So on the 19th we had our St. Patricks Day party. It was a great night. Good friends, food and drinks. Some dodgy paddy’s day photo props, everyone dressed in green, Irish music… an attempt at Irish dancing, a very bad attempt at Green Fields of France but all in all one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time. You know its good when you wake up the next morning on top of the bed wearing a tiara saying Irish Princess! We have been so lucky with the people that we have met here and it was lovely to see them all dressed in green enjoying a St. Patricks Day party. Just a little taste of home!!

 

It was Easter week then and Rob was taking a couple of days off to spend some time with our guests. It was my first time to leave Michael for more than a couple of hours in a year so it was really hard for me but I think good for all of us in the long run. The week started with a couple of trips to the local beaches and going for lunch here locally. On holy Thursday we headed for Luquillo. We had booked a house there and had some activities planned in the area for the weekend. We went to El Yungue that day and we were so disappointed to discover that the trails were closed due to the amount of people that were visiting the rain forest that day. We parked and walked some of the smaller ones and drove up the mountain a little and stopped at some of the sites. It was still a really nice day out but we hadn’t anticipated for how busy things would be.

 

We headed to Luquillo beach that evening to catch the last hour of daylight and the sunset. It was so much fun. Almost like being a student again. We had a cooler with some drinks, sat on the beach, messed around in the water and waited until it got dark. Luquillo has loads of little Kiosks to choose from for food and drinks and we had a gorgeous meal in a peruvian style restaurant called Ceviche. From there it was to a Karaoke bar where our friend Siobhan was the star of the show. I won’t share the videos but even the staff were taking videos and pictures. Standing ovation all around!

On Friday morning we headed to Fajardo for our second trip on Erin go Brath with Captain Dan. The weather was beautiful but unfortunately the sea was choppy. So mixed in with a few too many Mojitos for the ladies from the night before all three of us girls weren’t feeling the best by the time the boat reached the island where we were going snorkelling. We all attempted it but none of us were feeling too hot. A failed attempt at lunch to feel better, we all lay down at various parts of the boat to try and sleep it off and the boys headed out for the afternoon’s snorkelling session. It was still a lot of fun and I was a lot better after some sleep – but Siobhan was worse. In future I’ll be taking anti seasickness medication. Vinny did get to help steer and sail the boat though so he was happy!!  I’m not sure if we would do this trip again – we have done it twice now. But we would consider taking the boat to Vieques for a trip or using another private charter just for a change. Price was still the same – $130 pp without tax.

We headed back to Dorado the next day and the next few days were spent by the pool at our house, shopping and checking out local bars. We went to Alavarra on a Sunday afternoon for their live music session and really enjoyed it. The band are excellent and while I didn’t have the famous Lechon, the others did and said it was really good. Felt almost like a beer garden!

We tried a day trip to Arecibo on a Tuesday and it was just a disaster. The observatory is closed at the moment, one set of caves was closed (the window caves were open), it rained while we were at the beach, the guys were disappointed in the lighthouse and then when we tried to visit Casa Bavaria on the way home it too was closed. We did laugh an awful lot about the misfortune of it all but I mean come on!! I know it’s Puerto Rico but it’s Tuesday! You expect things to be open. The caves were pretty cool and good to see. However, there was almost 70 people in the group. It was very claustrophobic and a little concerning to have that many people at one time. I found people pushy trying to take pictures at the actual window and it was dangerous at times considering the drop on the other side.

 

The next day we did the mixology tour in Casa Bacardi again and I have to say it really is a great thing to do. It’s so much fun. The guides both times have been excellent and have made the experience really enjoyable. Its well worth the $45pp. We laughed the entire way through the guided tour and the cocktails making class.

Since we got here we have really wanted to take a Biobay Tour. It was completely booked up for all of Easter due to the holidays and Spring break. I had been trying every company for weeks. Luckily at the last minute I just managed to get a cancellation but for just four of us. So Rob stayed at home while the rest of us headed back to Fajardo. Now, let me start this by saying that I can’t swim. I’m not a great lover of water and in general I don’t even like getting my face wet. Sharing a Kayak with my friend Siobhan who had never been in a Kayak before was never going to end well. For anyone. We were both nervous. And we had every right to be. Within three minutes we were well behind the group, couldn’t hear the instructions and were both freaking out. It was the blind leading the partially sighted. However, one of our very nice guides called Joe came and rescued in. He was awesome. He managed to get us to the bay in one piece and kept us calm the entire way there. We were hysterical with laughter  by the time the night ended. He sang Disney songs with us and just made the entire experience much better for two very scared Siobhan’s! The actual experience was pretty good. Of course the biobay isn’t like you see in the pictures but I think our expectations were pretty well managed before we went and knew that. The water glistens a kind of silver/gold colour when touched it was really cool to see. The guides knew their stuff and pointed out constellations and explaned the fauna of the area. We went with a company called Eco Adventures and it was $55 per person.

All in all we had a great month with our guests. Having visitors really makes us get out of the house and see what the island has to offer. Living here all the time you can take it for granted and not take it all in. We are so glad that we got to spend so much time with good friends. And while my liver is currently still recovering from just how good I can honeslty say I havent laughed as much in years!

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