This is Isla Vieques, an unspoiled tropical paradise off the coast of Puerto Rico. Feast your eyes on that, would ya? Seriously. If I were a pirate, I would’ve hauled my creaky ship up onto that beach and lay in the shade of its hull, drinking rum from a wooden cask. In fact, some actual pirates might well have done that. Shivver!
It looked like this everywhere. Just everywhere I pointed the camera, and these photos are unedited, since none was necessary. Hoo! Can you believe that?
Can you stand one more palm tree? That up there was the view from our porch. Why move, really? Well, because there was one after another beach like that, and they got more and more beautiful as we plied the island in our rented jeep.
The town looked like this. I loved these rusty barriers. Almost every house had them on their porches, and doors and windows, and they were so beat-up and beautiful, in every style and design.
This is the casita where we stayed, a little hut in the jungle with no windows and an outdoor shower. We’d come home from the beach all salty and sandy, and then the shower would be full of tree frogs peeping away to each other, and the cicadas were singing (friends, those things are loud) and Dean brushed all the big scary tropical spiders out of there so I could bathe under the Caribbean stars.
We did have a roommate. This guy—we named him Steve-- lived on the curtain, and he made sure there were no mosquitoes. Which there weren’t. Good work, Steve.
This guitar was in the hut when we got there. Dean spontaneously composed a few verses about how beautiful I am. Oh, swooon!
We walked for miles and miles on ten different beaches, and almost never saw another soul. We’d come to a little rocky headland and pick our way around it to the other side, where we’d find a pirate cave filled with Tarzan vines and draped with hibiscus blossoms. There was nobody else on the beach, nobody at all.
We did find some pirate treasure, and a half-coconut shell to collect it in. There were pina coladas and frangipani trees and swimming at night under a million stars. There were fresh bananas with paper-thin peels that were as sweet as candy. We snorkeled in eight inches of water and saw tons of tropical fish, feeling all intrepid and Jacques Cousteau-ish until some old ladies carrying a cooler stepped over us and made me snort water up into my mask.
This is the waiting lounge at the Vieques airport. I am the color of a caramel apple. Life in the islands is very good.