Monday, July 28, 2014

The Truck Came!

The truck was supposed to arrive Thursday, July 17. It didn't arrive into San Juan until the following Monday. ABF took care of paperwork for us with the Customs House and it would have come over here on Thursday, but that happened to be a holiday, along with Friday. Finally, on Monday, the truck arrived. In the end, the delay was welcome, giving us a chance to find a place to rent and to spend the last week cleaning and painting it. 

There has been lots of conversations about the truck in the last three months with the kids. Wondering were something is or missing a certain toy, the response was, "It is in the truck." It left us back in May and came very reliably. Thank you U-Pack! Now the real works starts up again, with lots of unloading and unpacking.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge

Where it all started with Ben ~ Croton discolor
When Ben came to Puerto Rico in 2005 to collect plants during graduate school, he visited Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge and took pictures of the salt flats and those cool wooden trucks. We showed Pieter the pictures this spring and when we got here he was very eager to see them. We finished up cleaning our house this week and are still waiting on the truck, so we decided to go exploring yesterday.

Within a half hour of driving south of Mayaguez the landscape started drying up. We started seeing cacti everywhere and the tall trees disappeared into fields with grazing cattle. It was almost like we had driven back into South Dakota. We found the refuge, just on the southern coast, and climbed the tower, but the real fun was climbing the piles of sea salt. We grabbed a bag full of sea salt for home and then drove along the refuge area to the water. It was very different than the west side of the island, full of mangroves. I was dismayed to see how much trash was caught in the vegetation. I think we might have to leave trash bags in the car and fill up a bag every time we are out. I'll definitely have to come back with binoculars and a bird book to enjoy this special place.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

El Faro de Punta Higuero

~Desecheo Island~

~Domes Beach, a popular surfing spot in the winter~

Last night we explored the Rincon area a little bit and really enjoyed walking around the Rincon Lighthouse, El Faro de Punta Higuero. It was a beautiful evening and a perfect place for the kids to run around for a while. I am liking the shorter days so we can all enjoy a sunset on a warm evening.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Beach Time

Ben needed to spend time in Mayaguez at the University to take care of new hire paperwork, so we stayed back at the house and spent the morning at the beach for the first time. It was wonderful - the water couldn't be any warmer and waves just perfect. I think we are going to like living here!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One-Way Tickets to Puerto Rico

Our trip to Puerto Rico went well. The only hiccup was that we had a delayed layover in Atlanta and the kids fell asleep there and then were bonkers on the plane again. We were a bit late in arriving, but still found our rental car. They looked at us with amazement when they saw how much baggage we had and disbelief that we would fit it in the car. But we knew it fit in our little car coming, so it would fit here, and it did! We drove to Aguada last night and are staying at a little place called Villa MarSana, just a short walk to the ocean. We spent the day looking for a house to rent and haven't found a place yet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Matthaei Botanical Gardens

~an agave plant, Agave Americana, collected in Mexico in 1934, blooming at 80 years old~
~I thought these Living Stones were so cool, Lithops species~

We packed all of our things up yesterday and the Gordons drove to Ann Arbor today. We relaxed with Paul and Lois and visited the nearby Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Tomorrow is the big day!
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