Travel

Returning to Puerto Rico

We returned to Puerto Rico for our friends’ wedding. The bride and groom exchanged their vows on a sweet spot on  San Juan‘s Condado Beach. Witnessed by beloved family, friends, the ocean, the wind, and the sun, the happy couple beamed. They looked like they just stepped out of a fairy tale, breathtakingly beautiful. We were all enchanted.

After two days of wedding fun and catching up with friends, Jeff and I set off to Ponce. Wanting to experience the mountainous region of Puerto Rico, go off the beaten path for a bit, and absorb the local culture, we chose a less straightforward route from San Juan to Ponce. We went west on route 22 and then south on route 10.

We stopped by La Cueva del Indio, an off-the-map cave site by the ocean, in Arecibo area. A woman named Carmen welcomed us as we parked in front of El Coayuco cafe. She gave a brief overview about the cave and told us how to get around the site. According to Carmen, Taino Indian (15th century) used the cave to hide from the Spaniards. We then paid $2 for parking and went on a short hike to the cave. The challenging hike on the cliff’s spiky and rocky surface led to a few magnificent views of the area. The cave itself hid at the bottom of the cliff. It looked like some kind of an entrance to the underworld. A ladder was prepared for those who wanted to see the inside of this small hiding place with an opening to the ocean. Carmen said that the Taino used that opening to swim away from the Spaniards chase. A few petroglyphs covered the walls of the hideout and some bats hung out at the very tall ceiling of the cave. We climbed back up to take in the gorgeous scenery of the ocean and the surrounding beaches. The ocean breeze sure felt nice.  We ended the visit with gulping coco frio that Carmen sold (at $1.50 a coconut) at the cafe. The perfect thirst quencher on such a hot day.

Another off-the-map site we visited was Cueva Ventana on route 10. A short hike inside of the cave would have taken us to a picturesque view of the valley. But as we got close to the mouth of the cave, the sky turned dark and started to growl with thunder and lightning. Not fully equipped with hiking/rain gear we decided to retreat. The minute we reached our car, as if on cue, the rain poured hard and lasted for the whole afternoon.

We continued the trip to Lagos dos Bocas, a merely 10-minute drive from Cueva Ventana, for lunch. I asked a girl, who was waiting around with her family, to tell me about how to get on the ferry to go to the restaurant across the lake. She explained that there were four restaurants we could go to. She also mentioned that this particular line she was in was for El Fogon de Abuela restaurant and that I should get on the wait list. Then she pointed to a guy who has the wait list. This friendly and kind gentleman, Francisco, took down our names and asked us to wait for the ferry. He warned that it might take a while since all of the four restaurants were full and busy. It was Mother’s day after all! (You could also drive to the restaurant. But hey, “When in Rome…”) Thankfully, Jeff and I had a big breakfast to hold us over. Joining all local tourists, mostly families with children, we waited. Meanwhile, the rain continued to fall.

Finally Francisco called our names and the short boat ride took us to El Fogon de Abuela. The restaurant has this open-air but covered seating area with a nice view of the lake and a relaxed ambiance. Jeff ordered a super delicious goat stew and I had my favorite Puerto Rican cuisine: shrimp mofongo. We only heard Spanish conversations that afternoon. I wished I spoke the language so that, at least, I could respond properly to the nice woman who offered me her umbrella. But she also understood and spoke English anyway (as many do in Puerto Rico). In a strange but good way, it felt nice not being able to tune into any conversations for a moment. We simply enjoyed the happy and friendly environment.

After refueling with mofongo and goat stew, we headed south to Ponce. Route 10 became this curvy route 123 passing through small towns such as Utuado and Adjuntas. From the road, the little towns looked like they had these low-hanging clouds, mountains, and valleys as the backdrop. The view reminded us of Tretes in Java. Quaint and beautiful. Each little town we passed seemed to have its own little cafe playing either reggaeton or salsa music. Local patrons sat and enjoyed each other’s company. We crawled slowly on this very narrow and winding two-way road. Thankfully we got a small rental car.

It was late when we got to Ponce. We drove into the historic colonial district and checked into our hotel. Didn’t want to waste a beautiful night, we joined the Ponceños and just hung out at the their town’s main square, Plaza Las Delicias.

The next morning we drove northeast toward Fajardo to catch our East Island Excursion catamaran tour to Culebra island. Ocean fun was next in our itinerary. With all English speaking tourists we snorkeled for a bit at the Luis Pena underwater preserve and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the Flamenco beach of Culebra. While in Fajardo, we also caught a night tour to check out the Bioluminescent Bay. It was my first time to kayak…at night…in an ocean bay that illuminated when touched!

We left Fajardo late morning. It was time to return to San Juan and the airport. I tried to stretch our Puerto Rico experience a little longer by asking Jeff to pull up for an early lunch somewhere along highway 3. There were tons of food kiosks along the way. As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” 🙂

Notes:

  • On the part about snorkeling in Culebra, the tour provides snorkeling gear. But we brought our own since we have them. Lunch, snacks, and drinks are provided during the tour.
  • Bring a light rain jacket when traveling to Puerto Rico in May. It’s their rainiest month!
  • The restaurants at Lagos dos Bocas are open during the weekend.
  • A smile and saying “Hi” goes a long way. The Puerto Ricans we met were the friendliest people.

Travel info sources:

Photos property of The Traveling Chili Pepper

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Feeling the Old Earth

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

(The adventure in nature begins, Labor Day weekend, September 2010)

The sky’s blue color intensifies as we approach Badlands. The towering walls and small hills that compose the National Park look parched, harsh, and lonely. The sharp contrast with the backdrop is magnificent. I have never seen such beauty.

We hike a short trail through these massive deposits. I touch the rock layers as I walk, trying to feel the earth’s past. I imagine the natural forces that formed and shaped the 65 million year-old fossil beds and wonder what the planet looked like back then. The formations feel like molded dry sand and solid mud. Rough, craggy. The trail takes us up a hill overlooking a flat terrain with miles of smaller formations. I see a group of tourists come out of a bus down the hill, loud and crowded. But up here, it is only the four of us and our shadows.

Badlands is a gateway to our whole adventure out west trip. Its bizarre form, its mesmerizing history of formation, and its gripping human tale lured us. We filled our itinerary with places of natural beauties that we wanted to add to our memory banks.  I think this Badlands experience and its amazing images will continue to be an easy retrieve for us.

All four of us have traveled and experienced almost all of the country’s metropolises and we wanted to experience something new. Curiosity and admiration of nature lead us to a different fashion of travel. Hence the birth of our ambitious eight-day, 3427-mile road trip plan that also includes a series of hiking and backpacking!

Our trip (by Google Map)

I look back to see the hills of Badlands one more time as we drive away toward Black Hills. There in a vast land they stand the test of time. In full surrender to nature’s willful acts and constant change. The wind and rain will continue to erode and transform the small hills of Badlands until there are no more. But until then they remain, quietly holding some secrets of the earth.

Photos property of Traveling Chili Peppers 

Special thanks to JN, LM, TJ, FW

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Catching Sunset

(Adventure Out West Series, September 2010)

We rush to beat the sunset today. I hear Fifi coughing as she tries to catch her breath. We’re walking really fast, close to running almost. We only have three and a half hours to finish a seven-mile hike up Harney Peak before the sky turns dark. So the hike that normally takes about four and a half to five hours, if done leisurely, gets accelerated. The trail we pick starts from the beautiful Sylvan Lake and through the woods, up the rocky ground, and ends at Harney Peak. Soft wind and sunlight support our hurried steps. We notice glitters on the trail coming from Black Hills’ mineral-filled ground, they look like bits of granite that sparkle with sunlight. From a distance we see the peak with a tower on it. It looks so far away, across the pine valley and hills.

Earlier this afternoon, we arrived at our second hiking destination at Custer State Park in Black Hills National Park, South Dakota. After a short hike at Badlands National Park we drove  through Mount Rushmore and the Needles Highway and set up camp at Custer State Park. We still have our long hike at Grand Teton and a camping trip at Yellowstone. Ambitious? Very much so. I feel like we were trying to squeeze in every natural beauty we can take during this short adventure out west.

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The trail gets steep and narrow closer to the peak. Friendly fellow hikers say hello as we pass by, telling us that we are not too far away and that it is all worth the hike when we get to the top. Finally we see the stony structure with stairs going up to the tower on top of the peak. The air feels cooler as we climb up the tower. We get to be on the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountain, at 7242 feet elevation, with a view of Black Hills and beyond. A land of stony hills with sharp peaks and pine trees stretch as far as the eyes can see. Some of the tree tops look dry and yield this brown and red color that match well with the beige tone of the hills. Other trees cover the rest of the area with its green leaves. The sunlight peaks through a batch of white clouds casting a shadow on some hills while other part bask in the bright light. The sky seems to be bigger out here.

The sun starts to set as we descend back to the trail head.  We’re walking much faster trying to get out of the woods before dark. I see the sky turns pink and then dark red about halfway through the hike.  Afterward the sunset catches up with us and wins the race. We see the ground sparkles once again as our flashlights illuminate our way out of Black Hill’s wilderness.

Photos property of Traveling Chili Pepper

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Into the Mountain: A Childhood Dream

(Adventure Out West Series)

Towering mountains stand close together like they are guarding something precious behind them. They remind me of city skyline reaching out to the sky, only in a much more incredible magnitude. The peaks look sharp like shark’s teeth chewing off white clouds that try to cover their magnificence look. Birds’ squawks bounce off the grey and rough Teton walls. A moose sneezes as we walk by. The animal glances at us, looking uninterested, then continues feeding itself. We laugh and keep on hiking toward Lake Solitude. Rocky trail demands my attention.  I keep my head down to watch my step. Up the hill is the only way to go. Walking with a 15-pound backpack is definitely not easy, especially in the mountains!

That morning we woke up at Cascade Canyon, up in the mountains.  The sun tried to peak from behind the mountains as we enjoyed breakfast. We had a long hike ahead of us. The five-mile hike we did the day before would be nothing compared to the 11-mile we were about to do. Novices in hiking in the mountains, we overestimated our powers. I know I did.

We spent the night before enjoying dinner and wine under the star-filled sky. The spot we found was nestled in between mountains and close to a creek. Songs of Gilberto Santarosa played from my cellphone mixed with the sound of water flowing from the creek serenaded the night. The stars made the sky glow. I had never seen that many stars in my life and forgot about the arduous hike.

This backcountry trip at the Grand Teton National Park was probably the most challenging part of our 8-day adventure out west. The four of us drove after spending a night at Black Hills, South Dakota, and hiked our way to Harney Peak. We arrived at our cabin at Colter Bay late at night and prepared what’s needed for the backcountry. I was nervous and eager at the same time. The trip was our first backpacking trip in the mountains, home of many bears. I had no idea what kind of terrain we were going into.

Growing up in Surabaya, one of Indonesia’s most populous cities, I remember going to the foothills of Mount Penanggungan just outside of the city with my family in the weekends. My parents love the fresh and cool mountain air. We would stay at a local hotel, swim, and hang out together. I’d always plead with my dad to go up into the mountain. He’d say that we are already in the mountain.  I would argue that I could still see the mountain, so I knew we were not up there yet. I was so intrigued. There was something mystical yet majestic, about these mountains, especially the ones in Indonesia as they sit on the Pacific Ring of Fire. I was always so fascinated by these earth’s towers and their magnitude.

The grueling terrain finally takes us to Lake Solitude. The water stands perfectly still, giving the mountains, clouds, sky, and birds a chance to see their reflections. Silence radiates and echoes all over.  The rocky and rugged panorama of the surrounding gets softened by the quiet body of water. The scene dwarfs us. I think I could spend hours here, just to sit and stare at the beauty. But a few minutes later I am reminded that we all still have to walk for another eight miles back to Jenny Lake and catch a boat to go back to our cabin. I don’t remember how long Jeff carries my backpack as we descend  but I do remember wanting to cry and call it quit. I think I may have satisfied my childhood dream of going into the mountains. It is very tough. But I would do it again.

Photos property of Traveling Chili Pepper

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Yellowstone: Blow Off Some Steam

I woke up startled. Something brushed against our tent. It happened again and I struggled to sit up while still being wrapped up inside of my new sleeping bag. Jeff was sound asleep. I tried to see where the noise came from. For a minute I thought it was the grizzly we had been warned about. But then I saw it! Chunks of snow slid down our tent creating a loud noise. With a sigh of relief I lay back down and tried to ignore the cold. The temperature had gone down to 34 degrees that night, it was only early September. Just as I drifted back to sleep I heard the wolf howling.  Then, a painful and high-pitch wail of some other animal followed right after. The excruciating cry went for a while. The sounds of nature and the serenade by wildlife did not soothe me to sleep that night.

The four of us drove from Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone National Park in the morning. After the grueling hike we did at Grand Teton, we decided to just drive from one point of interest to the next at Yellowstone. No one objected. We were tired, cold, and far away from the comforts of our own apartments.

Yellowstone felt like the perfect place to end our eight-day road trip adventure out West. The Park found a way to sum up the purpose of this rather ambitious travel. With its collection of geysers, hot springs, mudpots, and steam vents, the world’s first national park seems to be housing quite a few spots for the earth to literally…blow off steam. One such spot is the Old Faithful Geyser that lets out pressure (on average) every 90 minutes. For first timers at Yellowstone, the Old Faithful seemed to be a must see. We joined the large gathering crowd at the outskirts of the geyser, waiting patiently to see it shoots out boiling water to the sky. As I waited, I imagined that maybe a long time ago, when human beings were closer to the earth and the universe, the very act of waiting for water to burst out of the ground was made to be some sort of a ritual. I wondered what myths were told to explain this one special behavior of the planet. The geyser finally erupted. The high-pressured water found its way out of the vent and into the air, captured by hundreds of cameras for about three minutes.

The Park, larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, offers many objects for visitors to marvel. Tourists, from all over the world, fill the winding road hoping to catch a glimpse of wildlife taking refuge in the grand mountains and valleys. Canyon, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and forests seemed to be telling visitors that wildlife is their main priority—that people are just simply guests here.

A bison walked slowly on the side of the road ignoring its surrounding. Theo stopped the car at a safe distance so that Fifi could take pictures of the animal. Jeff got out of the car and captured the scene with his video camera. I followed Jeff and stared at the bison, it started to cross the road toward our car. We jumped back into the car and drove away, fast. The conversation about our encounter with the bison stopped when we spotted a black bear across the river. We joined other motorists who stopped to watch at the incredibly adorable looking animal as it moved slowly and quietly from behind tall trees to the river. The bear though seemed to show no interest in people, attention, or cameras and head back to the woods to find some peace and quiet. We spotted more wildlife as we drove all over the park, all had the same expression of pure bliss.

When we got to the Artist Point, I wanted nothing but stare in silence at the overwhelming beauty. Giant canyon with yellow walls guarded the massive Yellowstone waterfalls. The water rushed and ran for miles and hitting gigantic rocks along the way like telling them to get out of the way. The dramatic view created a peaceful but fierce and forceful scene at the same time. I was captivated.

Nature’s magnificence distracted us from feeling cold on that rainy day. The sun would pop out once in a while to decorate the hills and valleys with rainbow. The rain turned into snow as the evening came. We struggled to keep our eyes open at dinner at Grant Village Dining Room Restaurant though I don’t think any of us slept well that night. We rose up with the sun and saw the snow-covered mountains, trees, and …tents. The morning revealed another greatness of nature—its ability to change the look of the landscape overnight.

I felt the wind blew with quite a force like it was trying to escape from the trap of the canyon at Inspiration Point, the last spot we visited before we head back home. The observation point was down more than the 50 narrow steps, overlooking the upstream and downstream of the canyon. Surrounded by nature’s sounds, colors, shapes, and feelings, I stood in awe.

In the words of Nathaniel P. Langford, 1870, one of the first explorers to record his impressions of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (Print source: Canyon Area Trail Guide, Yellowstone National Park)

“The place where I obtained the best and most terrible view of the canyon was a narrow projecting point situated two to three miles below the lower fall. Standing there or rather lying there for greater safety, I thought how utterly impossible it would be to describe to another the sensations inspired by such a presence. As I took in the scene, I realized my own littleness, my helplessness, my dread exposure to destruction, my inability to cope with or even comprehend the mighty architecture of nature.”

 

 

This entry is part of the Eight Day Road Trip Adventure Out West. Coming Up: Entries on Grand Teton, Black Hills, and Badlands!

Special thanks to TJ, FW, JN

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Photos property of Traveling Chili Pepper

 

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Circling the Devil’s Lake

The gap between the rocks on West Bluff trail, on the north entrance, seems to get bigger each time I try to step forward. I can feel my heart pounding hard like an engine trying to boost me up about 500 feet to the top of the steep hill. The trees sway with the breeze while protecting Jeff and me from the blazing sun. It’s only nine in the morning but the temperature has gone up close to the high 80s and the air feels a bit too damp. We just started hiking with our backpacks at the Ice Age Trail at Devil’s Lake and I am already drenched. I drop my backpack and climb my way up to the first scenic overlook to take a breather. This is my first try at hiking on a steep and rocky slope trail. On the top of the bluff I see the quiet lake that offers an ancient tale of being a good provider to life around it. Above the water, blue sky becomes the backdrop for three eagles who are flying like they are in some sort of an air show. The beauty restores my energy.

I got up to the sound of birds chirping outside of our tent that morning. Jeff was already up. The smell of coffee invited me to crawl out of my sleeping bag and tent. The weather was still cool and the rest of the campground was still asleep. We were so excited to test our new camping and hiking gears. We wanted to find a hiking trail around the Chicagoland for the weekend. The search took us to a portion of the Ice Age Trail on the 1.6 billion year old rocky Baraboo Hills, Wisconsin, surrounding the Devil’s Lake. 

The clear blue lake seems peaceful and friendly, despite the name. It seems to be inviting so many people to celebrate its existence.  Little children with the biggest smile on their faces shriek happily when their little feet touch the water. Some cry, like their hearts are broken, when their mothers ask them to get out of the water for lunch. Families bring their big coolers filled with food and drinks. People say hello as we pass through the park on the way to the next steep hike on the Balanced Rock Trail. The sweet aroma of barbecue fills up the air around the park as we sit and enjoy our sandwiches.

The rocky and steep Balanced Rock Trail on the south part of the east bluff is pretty narrow. But since this is our second climb on this trip, I feel a lot more prepared. Still, the 0.4 miles with another 500 feet of elevation gets me to slow down once in a while to catch my breath. This is definitely a good cardio exercise! I hold on to the stones as I go up, trying to absorb the strength that they have demonstrated for the past billion years. We get to the top of the hill and see the Balanced Rock. The rock is wider on the top and narrow on the bottom standing tall on the top of another rock with a flat surface high above the ground. Literally, well balanced! We continue hiking through the woods of the scenic East Bluff Trail where the breeze feels cooler and butterflies roam free. We have circled the lake and still have a couple of miles until we reach our campground. Only this time the hike feels a lot easier.

Photos property of The Travelling Chili Pepper

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Summer is Like My 16th Minute

My good friend swam with sea turtles in the Atlantic this spring. She said that when actively swimming in the ocean, these animals would come up for air every 15 minutes. Summer is like my 16th minute, a time to catch my breath.

I enjoy the constant and striking change of seasons in this part of the world. It is quite refreshing to observe and follow the changes in nature that allow people to have variations in what to wear, food to enjoy, and activities to do. The tropical island I come from always feel rich of sunlight and warm and wet air. It seems like the climate supports all sorts of trees, plants, and beautiful flowers to grow all year-long without too much effort. But here, in the middle of the US, approximately 9742 miles away from Java, I think the earth and the air feel different every four months. The varying temperatures seem to color the plants and the sky in many shades and moods.

After living for several years in this region of the US, with its long and sleepy winter months, I began to develop a love affair with summer days. During these long and warm days I find myself wanting to just stay outside. This summer I want to do more things like rustic camping and hiking. There is a good feeling that comes out of letting nature’s beauty take my mind off daily concerns and surroundings for a bit. It is also quite peaceful and rewarding to be okay in nature’s standard of comfort level.  To let things be.

My next entries will be about my hiking adventures with Jeff and our friends. This is another affordable and healthy fun for anyone who loves to be outdoors.  So, let’s find good trails, gear up, and hike!

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Hugged by the Sleeping Bear

“Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tried and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear”. (Chippewa Indian legend)http://www.nps.gov/slbe/planyourvisit/pssleepingbearduneoverlook.htm

 

The sky turned pink as the sun gently descended and kissed Lake Michigan’s horizon. Bonfire gave out a perfect wood-burning scent at the secluded Peterson Road Beach in Honor, MI. Sitting on the beach with my friends, I saw Venus hanging not too far above the horizon on one side and the Sleeping Bear Point and Empire Bluff resting on the lake on the other side. The soothing sound of small waves crashing was perfect to be recorded and played before bedtime. I inhaled deeply and closed my eyes, hoping to absorb everything. When I opened my eyes I saw Farah busy preparing the smores, Fifi spraying everyone with mosquito repellant, Theo looking deeply into his camera to capture the moments, and Jeff pointing the video camera at me and said, “Hey, Birthday Girl!” Then the dark sky brought out thousands of stars. Everyone sank into their own beach chairs, buried their feet deep in the playful sand while sipping their drinks. My senses were babied by nature’s beauty and my heart was full.

It was my 30th birthday. I wanted to do something different for my birthday celebration. So I said, “Let’s go camping!” Jeff, an outdoor enthusiast, found a campground by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan.  He booked it in January for my birthday in… May. He called up some of our closest friends and three were able to join. So we packed up our camping gears, food, and drinks and drove northwest.

I think the location was perfect for good friends to celebrate beautiful summer days. The weekend was filled with great cookouts, conversations, and plenty of laughter with nature’s sounds in the background. Deer would lift up their heads to catch a glimpse of who’s passing by and who’s calling them “Bambi.” The breathtaking views from the scenic drive along  the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive or the Old Mission wineries, the easy breeze, the smooth sand, and the cool water definitely forced everyone to slow down and be playful.

I would definitely come back to hug the Sleeping Bear.

Photos property of The Traveling Chili Pepper

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A Turquoise Blue Dream

Little silver Ocean Surgeonfish swim with me in the Caribbean just off of Coki Point at St. Thomas. I feel light and peaceful with only the sound of my breath through the snorkel. This is better than yoga. The warm turquoise blue water and sunny skies make it hard for me to get out of the sea. My husband Jeff takes pictures of me and little fish in the water with his waterproof camera. It’s like we have the whole sea to ourselves.

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When we first arrived, I frowned at Coki Point’s narrow beach buzzing with many tourists and local vendors. I never liked crowded beaches. Besides, this is our vacation, and we’ve come to relax and enjoy a getaway exploring St. Thomas for four days. Jeff looks past the crowds, reminds me that we’re here to snorkel. So we gear up and rush to the water. No more frowning. We don’t have to go so far to see the beautiful creatures swimming blissfully nearby our feet. Little kids feed the fish with dog biscuits make one area very crowded. Just a short swim away it’s all peace and quiet. Once in a while I just float and watch the view inside of the water. The fins Jeff bought help a lot.

We continue the day travelling on the local public transportation that looks like a safari bus to Charlotte Amalie. The downtown area is always packed with tourists, especially during ship days—when cruises dock at St. Thomas, mixed with cars on small streets, honking and spitting stinky motor exhaust. The hustle and bustle reminds me of traditional markets’ situation in Surabaya. The difference though, instead of selling meat, fish, chicken, and fresh produce, the shops at Charlotte Amalie sell…diamonds and other expensive jewelries. So we decide to escape from the overly-crowded district and go up 700 ft above the ground to Paradise Point with a skyride. We sit at a café overlooking St. Thomas Harbor, watching huge ships rest at the port. The Caribbean music played in the background as we dine and enjoy the evening.

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Each day begins with the same ritual: we pack light breakfast and coffee and head out to enjoy the water. I love it. So one morning, we decide to find this hidden gem called the Lindquist Beach. Locals tell us not to go since there is no paved road going there, no markings, just dirt road. Mmm..yeah, typing: Google map and satellite! We follow the half dry-half muddy pathway to this pristine beach and find not more than six souls crowding the sand. The colors of the sea, sky, and sand cool the senses after a little hike from our rented condo. For a while I think time decides to be lazy and dance in the water with me while Jeff experiments with his camera under water.

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I catch myself dozing off and try to shake off the sleepiness but my body begs to rest. When I open my eyes, I breathe a sigh of relief to find us on Sapphire Beach overlooking yet another scene of turquoise water.

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Photos property of The Traveling Chili Pepper

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