It was overcast and spitting rain when we landed in San Juan.
We always felt a little cheated when we arrived in Puerto Rico in less than blazingly sunny weather, particularly in winter.
But at least it was hot.
After an interminable wait at the Hertz office, we set off for the port town of Fajardo. We planned to spend the night there before taking the ferry the next morning to Vieques, where we would take a second look at our house with Armando and then meet with our new property manager.
That evening, we’d take the ferry back to Fajardo, where our closing was scheduled for eleven the following morning.
It was a lot to cram in to three days but we were nearly out of vacation time for the year.
We got lost more than once—I don’t think we’ll ever again mistake the Spanish word east (“este”) for west (“oeste”), and at dusk we were standing at a pay phone in the rain in Fajardo, having circled the town for more than an hour in a futile effort to locate the Fajardo Inn.
Forty-five minutes later we were sitting in the inn’s cozy bar sipping a cocktail, struggling gamely (and somewhat excitedly) against the sheer foreign strangeness of the act we were about to commit.
“Are we out of our minds?” Michael asked more than once.
“Yes,” I answered the first time; “maybe,” the second; “absolutely not,” the third.
The more I drank, the more certain I became that we had made a good decision.
“Alcohol-induced certainty isn’t always the most reliable indicator of truth,” Michael commented sagely. I hate it when he’s sage.
“Stop your carping,” I laughed. “The worst is behind us.”
“Now I know you’re drunk.”