Off The Map

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.

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