When Sweetheart and I went down to Puerto Rico for his dear friend’s wedding to a native Puertorriqueña, we made the good choice to hang around for a few days after. Fortified with strange savory pastries dusted with powdered sugar and strong dark coffee on our way out of San Juan, we headed to the interior. Trekking into El Yunque rainforest to spend the night off the grid in a cabin perched atop a mile high mountain that used to be a tropical fruit farm=good plan. Upon our arrival, we each got a crooked walking stick and hiked up the jungle switchbacks, stopping along the way to pick camandula seeds (which the native Taina ladies used to string as necklaces) arriving at our cabin—tin roofed and on stilts—as the sun was setting. Our host- a sort of Apocalypse-Now-Roger-Sterling- showed us the machete (labeled “guest machete”), gave us this map, and melted into the underbrush. We made fire, cooked meat, peppers and rice, drank rum, played backgammon by candlelight, slept in hammocks, took rainforest rainwater showers and, when the nighttime thunderstorms broke into dawn, we followed the map to the Cubuy River falls. Not all those who wander are lost, but it helps if you have a map.
Sweetheart’s dear friend Jared is known for throwing legendary parties. Sweetheart and I actually kissed for the first time after one of his rooftop soirees that featured a bamboo forest and a margarita machine. Needless to say, when Jared is in charge, love is in the air. So, when we headed south to his bride’s hometown, Rincón, Puerto Rico, for their wedding, we knew that it would probably be pretty epic. The whole shebang was absolutely impeccable, gorgeous, perfect, and seemingly effortless- from the fresh coconuts macheted open and filled with rum to the (literally) world caliber reggae band to the peonies and frangipani covering every surface to the… live painting. The brother of the groom flew this incredibly talented artist down and she created the painting above during the wedding reception. This was exactly what it looked like- hanging lanterns, orchids, giant copper pool of waterlilies in the middle of the dancefloor, the last of a sunset sky through nesting colonial arches framing the chuppah and going out to sea. Seeing the painting come together during the night was really, really cool. Naturally a wedding in a tropical paradise with a cast of good looking, photogenic, and wild characters makes for a good time, but who knew it made for good art? Maravilloso.Read more about the artist, Katherine Gressel, and her process here.