In Puerto Rico, an island 100 miles by 35 miles large, one never has to go very far to find a beach. In Vieques, a tiny island off Puerto Rico’s east coast, one has to go a fraction of distances on "the mainland" to find wide swaths of sand and glittering sea. Essentially, the beach is right on everyone’s doorstep here, and it would be a shame to miss it.
After what seemed to be the longest meal ever (reviewed in my Richard’s Café entry), we finally got on our way to the beach around mid-afternoon. Since we had taken the passenger ferry across, we had to rely on the few taxis on the island to get us around, and fortunately, one of them was a van that fit all fourteen of us. The driver, who got a lot of repeat business from us in our day on the island, was very friendly (from what I could tell with my measly high school Spanish skills) and knew exactly where to take us that would be convenient to our kayaking tour that evening. Thus, we ended up at Sun Bay.
We knew we weren’t at your normal beach when we had to walk across a horse paddock to access it. With only a bit of extra mierda on our flip-flops, we found the beach, It was a virtually deserted crescent of sand that somewhat steeply descended into the Caribbean surf. The sea looked relatively calm until it hit the slope, where it suddenly morphed into a tendrily finger of Davy Jones, rushing towards us and doubling in size before pounding into the sand and taking anything not strongly anchored back to his locker. Being a bit wobbly on my sprained ankles, I figured I preferred my friends’ to Davy Jones’ company and thus made it only about ankle-deep into the water before heading for drier land.
Most of my friends felt the same way, preferring the landlubberly pastime of sandcastle-building. Everybody busied themselves digging moats and building walls. There wasn’t really a set plan for it, which is why it ended up winding in spirals, although this had the convenient effect of reinforcing the castle’s defenses against the waves that were creeping ever closer.
At one point, Cristina said something that sounded remarkably like it was out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so I replied with "yes, peasant." Unfortunately, everyone took that to mean I thought I was the queen and that they were building the castle for me. Totally oblivious, I began to work on my wing of the moat as they plotted to overthrow their tyrant of a monarch. When I unwittingly put myself in the perfect position for being overthrown—on my hands and knees, totally concentrating on digging a large hole, I suddenly felt all of my limbs lift off the ground and heard screaming all around me. With at least one friend holding each of my limbs, they ran downhill and chucked me into the surf. As I pulled my soaked self out of the shallow water, they laughingly informed me that "THAT was for calling us PEASANTS!"
After a little more building, it was mutually decided that the castle was done and that it was time to test it, since the first waves were already lapping at the outer walls. After a wave breached the outer wall, there was a rush to make sure the inner wall did not suffer the same fate. Soon, coconut shells held the walls in place.
Many of my friends then wandered down the beach towards some rock pools, but I stayed put on my patch of sand, resting my aching ankle and writing in my journal. I didn’t mind too much though, because it was an amazing setting to just sit and relax. The palms just behind me rustled in a slight wind as the waves in front of me crashed one by one into the sloped shore. It was an absolutely beautiful day and life was good.
My friends soon returned and immediately began the trek in the opposite direction to wash off all the sand in the only shower for the beach, located next to the horses’ field. We then did our best to avoid the mierda as we headed back towards the parking lot to wait excitedly for our ride to the bioluminescent bay.