June 4, 2017
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The first Sunday of our big adventure started with so much promise because we had a plan. We were up bright and early and enjoyed the Holiday Inn breakfast and a quick dip in the hotel pool. It was time to do something about Pinkie, my humongous hot pink rolling duffel that had made my life miserable the past few days. She tried to do everything I needed her to, but just couldn’t cut it. Sigh!
West Marine opened at 10 am and we had verified that they had several awesome big suitcases in stock that would be perfect for me. To top it all off, most were all on sale — half price!
We figured we’d take a leisurely stroll through San Juan, get an incredible deal on a new piece of luggage and then stroll back to the hotel. A perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday morning in a beautiful city, right? Hmmmm…
I had the address for West Marine entered into my phone and I thought I knew where it was. Well, at least Google Maps Puerto Rico knew. Evidently something got lost in translation because what should have taken a little over an hour ended up taking three.The first leg of the trip was easy, but as the sun rose higher in the sky, the humidity level was racing to keep up. It was hot and steamy and we were walking city streets with very little shade.
We had heard that there were some areas of San Juan that might not be safe for tourists to wander through. But, I figured that on a Sunday morning everyone would be in church, sleeping, or too hung over from the night before to bother us. We saw a few people laying on the sidewalk passed out (we hoped) and decided that we needed to pick up the pace.
John pulled out his cell, got the address from me and pointed ahead. We kept walking.
The stench in the air was awful. As we passed another drunk who started to stir at my feet, I spoke up, “Uh…honey…are you sure this is the right way???…”
Of course, when it’s hot, you are drenched in sweat and starting to feel LOST in a city that doesn’t speak your language, it’s hard to be positive. But my man was.
“It should be one street over,” he replied, studying his phone again.
John was walking a little ahead of me, looking at his phone and not his feet when he stepped on something that caused him to spew a few expletives and jump like an Olympic track star.
There, in the middle of the sidewalk was a dead cat, and he had stepped on it.
Generally John is not a wiggy person, but the combination of heat, humidity, stench and grossness of the situation put him over the edge.
John: I’ll have to throw away these shoes right now…
Anel: Honey, I don’t think you got cat guts on them. They will probably be fine…
John: But the smell will never go away…
Anel: Let’s just air them out and see…
He ranted for a while. Actually, I was a little wigged out too, but we learned early in our relationship that only one at a time is allowed to freak out. So, I tried my best to stay calm for him when suddenly…
We spied Marine West in the distance.
We put it in “high” and found haven in the water sportsman’s paradise, West Marine.
As promised on their website there was a variety of travel bags to choose from and I knew as I turned the corner to the luggage aisle and spied “Stripe” that this was the bag for me.
John checked out all of Stripe’s features, rolled it around a bit, zipped and unzipped. I just let him do the testing. I knew this was helping him get over the cat trauma and I welcomed his input this time.
I paid for Stripe as John walked outside. It started to sprinkle and I noticed that he again had his phone out. This time he was calling Uber rather than checking a map. Hooray!
When we got back to the hotel room his shoes were fine.The short walk, rain and Uber ride had completely washed away the unpleasantness of the adventure. He went for ice and snacks.
I stayed in the room and transferred all my stuff from Pinkie to Stripe. Everything fit perfectly and I practiced rolling my multicolored new prize up and down the hall a few times. It handled like a pro.
When John returned we swam, ate, then spent the evening relaxing and getting everything ready for our next day trip to Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Before we turned out the lights I glanced over at Pinkie which now was a crumpled empty carcass at the corner of the room. Sigh!
I knew there was one last thing I needed to do before I could go to bed. I tore a piece of notebook paper from my spiral and wrote:
I lovingly placed the note atop the pink heap that had once been my prize.
Then John turned off the light,and we fell fast asleep.