Monique Burgess

Puerto del Rey Marina and Resort
Fajardo, Puerto Rico
(750-ship marina, the largest in the Caribbean and eastern U.S.)
April 13, 2001

Puerto Rico!! I have been waiting to visit this island for so long. I was always curious to see its rainforest, beaches and of course to practice my Spanish. During this trip, I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy Puerto Rico as well as have some visitors. My sister, Tracey, and cousins Linda and Jennifer all came to visit. Linda's friend Natiersa also came along. If she had known what she was in for with all of us together she may have stayed back home-hahaha.

We did so much in the five days that they were here and had so many laughs. We rented a car (Linda drove, we are lucky to still be alive- those stories could take up pages) and explored the island. Fortunately we met some locals (police officers) who told us all about Puerto Rico and took us to some great places. We visited El Yunque Caribbean National Rainforest and enjoyed hiking through it's feathery ferns, vines, and flora while listening to the tiny tree frogs called Coquis, found only in Puerto Rico. After the long, hot hike we enjoyed a refreshing drink made of coconut water and ate delicious chicken sticks, rice and beans, and tacos from one of the stands nearby. We all enjoyed talking to the locals and tasting their dishes.

Tambien (also), we visited the Bacardi Rum Distillery. It processes over 100,000 gallons of rum daily and is the largest distillery in the world. It was very neat to see and after two complimentary rum drinks we were ready for a night out and headed to a Cuban/Puerto Rican restaurant. I tried the special, mafongo and shrimp. It was delicious!

During their visit we also enjoyed going to the beautiful beaches of Luquillo and Isla Verde. We all had some great laughs in Isla Verde while riding the Banana Boat. It was hilarious! I wish I had my water camera with me.

One of the most exciting things for me about the visit was that my family was going to get a "taste" of my life on Uliad. Tom and Monique graciously took all of us out for a sail to Palominos, an island just off the coast of Puerto Rico. It was great! We had a wonderful sail and enjoyed a lunch (sent from CT, thanks mom and dad) of cheese, sausage, and copicola. I felt like I was home again. After that great lunch we went for a swim off of Uliad and had an incredible time playing in the nearby white sandy beach with the kids. It was tons of fun.

Tracey, Linda, and Jen could not believe how my life had changed compared to theirs and how much I have learned and seen. The girls were also shocked to see how much work went into a sailing trip and they all admitted although they had a blast, they didn't think they could ever do what I was doing. I am really happy that they had the opportunity to sail and spend time with my sailing family. They all loved hanging out with Tom, Monique, Cammi, and Cole and are looking forward to them visiting us in CT this summer.

So after five fun filled days of sightseeing, hanging out at resort restaurants and clubs, and of course no sleep, it was time to say goodbye. How sad! We all had so much fun. This trip will be one that we will be talking about for a long time and laughing at all the memories we shared together.

Now I am back on Uliad getting ready for our last outing before heading to the Turks and Caicos. I believe we are going to visit Old San Juan today. I am excited. The girls and I did not have the chance to visit and I heard many great things about it. Maybe we will also go for one last run to Burger King or McDonald's- for the kid's sake of course.

Happy Easter!!!

Saturday April 28, 2001
Staniel Cay, Exuma Islands

So we are now in the beautiful Bahama Islands. It is great! Since many fronts have been passing in and out we have been getting a slow taste of the reality that awaits us all, weather back home. Nonetheless we are still enjoying ourselves to the fullest, as many of you may already know from reading Monique's logs.

During the past several weeks I have been reading up on some teaching books to help me get back in gear for what is to come in September. In one of them I found this great poem that I would like to share with all of you.

Life is a series of opportunities.
Most opportunities come
only once in a lifetime.
An opportunity is a
moving target, and the
bigger the target, the
faster it moves.
Opportunities always
come in when the doors
are left open for them.

So I say why not SEIZE the MOMENT! I know I sure am glad I did!!