If you hadn’t heard, I’m excited to introduce a new little man named Pike.
Melrose, Scottish Borders, United Kingdom.
Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Near a tiny village called Byrness in England near the border with Scotland. My parents lived in this village briefly in the 1970s, and it was fascinating to revisit. Little to no change in forty-plus years.
Allentown, New Jersey.
Each year the Sly Fox Brewery in Phoenixville, PA hosts a goat race during its Bock Fest. It’s best to ride a bike from Philly (30 miles each way) to fully embrace the return of spring. I rode with Tommy, Chris, Matt Hops, Jared, Ray, Tom, and another Chris, in addition to a few of the Standard Tap gentlemen. Great times were had by all.
Brad visited sunny Philadelphia from far away rainy Seattle.
T.Rex and Sara. And also Tim in the background.
Emily and Chelsea helped organize a session beer tasting (only 5% abv or less allowed) over in West Philly. Great times — a methy pirate poet even climbed the fence to try to join the fun.
There are times that I swear the UK has been picked up, and plopped down in Philly. This corner is on Girard Avenue, though it probably belongs somewhere in the outskirts of London.
It’s tradition to build a Chupacabra Hut using driftwood, fallen palm fronds, and vines for lashing it together.
The Caribbean has some of the best colors, even with abandoned structures.
And inhabited structures. In Old San Juan, it felt like you’d be kicked out of town if you painted your building the same color as someone else’s.
Kite flying day in San Juan.
Joe’s luggage was sent to Brussels rather than Puerto Rico, strangely. It arrived the day he had to leave.
Culebra is an island of 1,800 people off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. It feels like a little-known tropical wonderland.
The official beer is Medalla (pronounced “meh-DIE-yah”), and most beers are only available in smaller, 10 oz. cans. The top three drinks, however, aren’t beer: rum & piñas, margaritas, and piña coladas. There’s a lot of coconut to go around.
Hans was instrumental in organizing the trip — about 16 of us rented two houses on the island, and four other friends visited during the week as well.
• We saw all sorts of animals: poisonous lionfish while snorkeling, many iguanas, skinks, geckos, flying roaches, large spiders, small tarantulas, packs of stray dogs, lots of stray cats, snakes, hermit crabs & land crabs, colorful fish, termites, jungle fowl (wild chickens and roosters), hummingbirds, parrots (in San Juan), and more. Plant-wise, there’s lots of cacti, huge coconut palms everywhere, agave, many invasive mesquite trees, and lots of grasses, among other plants. Everything seems to love the tropical climate.
A labor union’s truck blaring a speech during a protest in San Juan, back on the main island.
Brava beach is only accessible via a hike through the maritime jungle, so more than likely you’ll have the place to yourself when you arrive. The beach is bound on either side by mountains, and it tends to have some of the larger waves on the island. I had never been around so many coconut palms before — and I found out that it’s super handy to travel with a machete in the group for a quick drink & snack in the heat.
The power happened to inexplicably go out on the entire island three times during the course of a week. Luckily dominos don’t require electricity, but headlamps, LED candles, and many margaritas help.
While the weather is so perfect you can leave your doors and windows open year around, stray cats kept sneaking into our kitchen. The stray dogs mainly keep to the streets where the old oil drums hold families’ trash for pickup.
To be continued…