I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again—I have a love-hate relationship with Puerto Rico. Real life (work, driving, errands, using running water, speaking in your native tongue of English) is terrible here. Seriously it is. But some days, the love is just too real and I have to stop pinch myself, or pincho myself? Tehe. Labor Day Weekend 2015 was three full days of love and exploration.
We’re very lucky. We live walking distance from a gorgeous beach. We plop our butts on the sand by our house the majority of the time, because, well, we’re lazy. We don’t have to deal with finding parking, getting lost, or just the overall struggle of leaving the house in Puerto Rico. But sometimes, we just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist spotted sand and find a beach less traveled. News flash! We live on an island and there are PLENTY of beaches that haven’t seen a human in quite some time.
Labor Day Weekend was super busy near the hotel ridden beach we frequent, so we decided to take our behinds somewhere new and really get in touch with the Puerto Rican roots we’ve sprouted. So, we packed up our beach essentials and made the exhausting 5 mile drive east, to a beach known as Tocones, just east of Piñones. Tocones is a pretty decent surf spot, brimming with surfers when a swell comes in, but when there are no waves, it’s a ghost town (or ghost beach) and we took full advantage.
We were the only ones there. Literally the only two bodies on the sand as far as we could see. It was awesome. I couldn’t stop smiling. Miles of beach, miles of shells and urchins and sand dollars for my picking pleasure. I was living the mermaid life I’ve always dreamed of. (Side note, I just learned how to say mermaid in Spanish from a friendly Puerto Rican passerby earlier in the week—it’s “sirena”). The hubs reclined in his chair blasting whatever music he saw fit, because on this beach it wouldn’t be drowned out by the reggaeton blasting from amps all around us. Tropical storm Erika washed up tons of awesome shells and sea creatures. Sand dollars, urchins, sea fans, creepy starfish. You name it. Did I mention it was awesome?
After a few hours of lone sun-worshiping and merpeople-ing, we were hungry and decided it was going to be a balls to the wall Puerto Rican day. So we packed up our chairs and headed back up to one of the roadside stands and treated ourselves to something that screams Puerto Rican culture—pinchos and coco frios. Pinchos, are to Puerto Rican cuisine as Brie is to the French. It’s marinated, grilled meat on a stick, a shish-kabob if you will, and you can find them pretty much anywhere in PR. Chicken and pork (pollo y cerdo) are the most common varieties, but be careful you don’t get “tree chicken,” because we made that rookie mistake once, and it’s iguana. Eh? not my favorite—it’s soft and creepy and really doesn’t taste like chicken, ironically enough. Coco frios, are less questionable and are just that—cold coconuts! They chop the top off with a rusty machete, put a straw in it and you’re ready to go. Some places serve “Coco Locos,” which are filled with creamy rum goodness, so be careful when ordering, although if I got a “loco” instead of a “frio” I certainly wouldn’t complain. A few pinchos and a coco frio will likely set you back all of $6, and as Tony the Tiger would say, They’re Great!
The sun started to set on our day in Puerto Rican heaven and I seriously wondered to myself why I would ever leave this island of enchantment? We changed out of our bathing suits back at home and walked to a local restaurant to enjoy some more good ol’ Puerto Rican ceviche and a few gold and colds. (Medallas).
Guess what we did the next day? We did it all over again.
I love my life.