God damnit, who gave me all these herpes?
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Slowly the winter crept up on us again. This time, it stayed warmer a bit later in the year, and the annual halloween slutfest on State St saw perfect weather. In fact, this time around there were two days of absolute absurdity instead of one. The first day, we decided not to dress in our costumes and just go without. However, when we arrived at a party and realized everyone else had dressed up, we fit into some people's costumes from previous years. As a result:
Martin and I hybridized to become:
We went to a wild costume party at David Summers' place where several people were murdered by the end of the night.
Two days before halloween, we came up with the great idea of being the different boxers from Mike Tyson's Punchout. We knew we would get tons of recognition from the crowd, and plus we could stage fights and hurt each other. Here's a couple of pictures of us in costume:
Taylor visited from out of town just so that she could hold the 'Round 69' sign.
On the night of the real halloween, we went to a preparty at Alex's house before hitting State St. Here's a pic of Alex as Ali G:
The first fight of the night was between myself and Piston Honda, played by James:
One of the better costumes we encountered on State was a rendition of Tetris by four people. Also, you can see Whitney as Napolean Dynamite:
Eventually, winter reared its ugly head, and December turned out to be a terribly cold month. In the second week, Ryan Hong held a christmas party and I was invited. Since Dana had randomly texted me on IM the previous day, I invited her along too. It was a pretty fun evening. I got to see a lot of people who I hadn't seen in a long time. However, it was sort of depressing to find that so many people were getting engaged and buying houses and condos and settling down. Definetely not my style.
Anyway, Dana and I spent a lot of time together in January and February, and one day got the genius idea to go bowling. We brought Jared and her friends Megan, Jenny and John along with us. As usual, our bowling names were hilarious (thanks to me) but I forget what they were. Here's some pics of us at the bowling alley:
And here's a cute picture of Dana and I:
After the bowling, we decided to grab dinner together at an eccentric restaurant North of the bowling alley:
And finally, Dana, Jared and I headed to the Great Dane for some beers. Jared and I decided that the best way to pose for photographs is to smile with your teeth slightly separated, so you look like someone caught you having the BEST TIME EVER!
Thanks to my huge christmas bonus, Dana and I decided to go on vacation together in March. We spent a lot of time looking for the perfect place to go. Eventually, we learned about a place called Vieques which is a Spanish Virgin Island and part of Puerto Rico. At the last second, we decided to switch to Culebra, which is a smaller island nearby. However, we still planned on spending two nights on Vieques to check out the famous bioluminescent bay.
First, we landed in San Juan Puerto Rico. We stayed in an area called Isla Verde which is known as the most touristy part of the city. The place we stayed during our time here was called The Coqui Inn:
We arrived late at night and hit the beach early the next day. Here's a picture of the Isla Verde beach in San Juan:
For many people, a place like this would be enough. However, our goal all along was to get away to a more remote place. So, we took a taxi to the coastal town of Fajardo to catch a ferry to the spanish vergin islands. Here's what the ferry looked like:
When we arrived at the ferry dock in Culebra, we could see a line of people getting ready to board the ferry. We also saw several people swimming in the crystal clear Carribean water:
After settling down at our spacious house on the island, we decided to explore the only town on the island, Dewey. The town was within walking distance of our place so this was easy even before we got our bikes. On the second day in Culebra, we rented our bikes from a cool islander named Dick. He drove the most ridiculously beatup Volkswagen Minibus I've ever seen.
The decision to switch to Culebra was the right one. The island was much smaller and perfect for us since we were only renting bikes. Getting from one place to another on the island was no problem, and it would have been tough on Vieques. Anyway, we jumped on our bikes and headed for the famous Flamenco Beach. This beach is considered one of the very best in the Carribean for its white sand and clear water. Here's a shot of the wide white sand:
And here's a picture of the water itself. Notice how white the water is due to the white sand on the bottom:
Also, the darker spots further out are coral reef which abounds on this island; but we will get to that later. Culebra used to be occupied by the US military and they left behind some minor rememberances on Flamenco:
A few days later we decided to go to a different beach on the island. We had heard that just about all of the other beaches were deserted, so we were very excited to have an entire beach to ourselves. After some strenuous biking and hiking, we reached Resaca beach on the North shore. It was everything we had hoped for! The water was the clearest I've ever seen:
As expected, we were the only people on the entire beach:
We even had our very own palm tree to set our gear under:
We saw waves smashing violently against the bluffs at the end of the beach, and so we decided to check it out. I climbed some granite stones to get a better view of the area:
On our way back from the beach, we spotted some wild horses on the roadway:
Also, when we were at the high point of the hills, we were able to take this quasi-panoramic shot of the island:
The buildings in the middle of the shot are in the town of Dewey. When we returned to our house, we found a cat had come by to visit. Not ones to be stingy with our alcohol, I quickly served up a white russian for the kitty:
He got extremely drunk and started hobbling all over our porch. He even jumped up on my computer once and fell into the screen:
Later in the week, we decided to rent boogie boards and head back to Resaca to catch some waves. Unfortunately, the waves had gotten significantly bigger and it was almost impossible to swim out to where they were breaking. Here is a picture of me trying:
I tried for almost and hour to get out, but the serf kept pushing me back in. The riptides were also very strong. I stopped trying and decided to catch some smaller waves closer in to shore. This was a lot easier:
Later that night we decided to get a nice dinner at a restaurant called Dinghy Dock. In spite of the excessive amount of wine we drank, we were able to pose for one nice photograph:
On one of the last days in Culebra, we went to a dive shop and asked about the best snorkeling. Someone there explained that a beach named Carlos Rosario was the spot to check out. We stopped at a gift store and purchased an underwater camera to take some pics. When we arrived at Carlos Rosario, we were amazed with the amount of coral out in the water:
We soon dove in and snapped the following pictures of the spectacular underwater life:
The coral completely blew me away. I never expected it to be so vibrant and colorful. Also, I was amazed at how tolerant the marine life was of us. We were able to get extremely close to most of the fish. The Octopus and the Sea Turtle seemed to be the only animals that disliked us.
On Vieques, travel was a lot more difficult since we didn't have bikes. You would think that the taxis would be sufficient but they turned out to be extremely unreliable. On several occasions we scheduled a taxi to pick us up and a majority of them never showed. Thankfully, this never turned out to be a real hangup.
As expected, the centerpiece of the entire trip truly did turn out to be the bioluminescent bay. Since we went when it was pitch black, we have no pictures of our own. However, the company that offered tours has some on their website:
The eerie light around the woman is created by single-celled creatures called dynoflagellates that exist in this quantity in only a few places in the world. Here is a picture of a dynoflagellate:
In our tour, we swam in the water for about 90 minutes. It was the most unearthly experience I have ever had. I would definetely recommend it to anyone who visits this part of the carribean.
After Vieques, we returned to San Juan to catch our flight back to Chicago. Just before leaving, we snapped this picture of Isla Verde at night:
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