I have to say though that I am happy to be back. I have lots of ambivalent feelings about PR. No offense to the lovely people I know that live there, but it is definitively not for me. It certainly could be so wonderful - instead, it's littered with trash. Broken down rusty car carcasses along the roads, mistreated animals, misused land, horrific traffic and a whole lot of junk food strip malls. I'm not blaming people for not caring but I do think it's sad and frustrating.
It is amazingly beautiful and if you are just the slightest interested in natural things you will get completely enchanted by the lush greenery everywhere. The island is covered in mountain ranges and narrow roads run like roller coasters up and down the hillsides. Homes are often brightly painted in pink, apricot, mint or blue and lots of flowering trees and bushes sparkle from everywhere. Mango trees, coconut palms, banana trees all grow on my inlaws' property and everywhere else. None of these are native to the Caribbean by the way, but has been incorporated into the flora, as have enormous bamboo stands that track the rivers and streams. My husband and his family are pretty clueless of the name of the plants that I found, but I have learned to identify a few on my visits there.
Another plant that I learned the name of on this trip is Breadfruit, native to the island forests. You can see it everywhere and many are planted in gardens and parks because of the big decorative leaves.
This shows the fruits high up in the tree tops, if you can see in the blur. I never got a chance to taste it but it's supposedly very starchy.
I also recognize Papaya trees.
Mango trees are native to South East Asia, but can grow in any tropical climate. The trees have a beautiful shape and the fruits are delicious. A few fell down right in front of my feet and I peeled and ate them when I got home.
Little fruits developing
Bigger ones hanging in rich clusters. It seems like they flower and fruit continously during an extended period since I saw some trees in bloom and others with ripe fruit.
Roadside coconut palm trees:
Bamboo stalks grow in perfect exponential curves.
I have no idea what this is. It looks like Mangrove but it didn't grow anywhere near water.
Spanish Colonial style baby blue house in Fajardo
and a flat, funny looking palm tree.
Back to nature? I guess this could be funny, if it wasn't so sad at the same time. Nobody will ever care to remove this piece of junk. Who in the first place thought it would be a good idea to leave it out in the wild?