Return to Paradise: Passion Fruit and Sunsets

That might sound like the title to the sequel of some cheesy romance novel, but if you were wondering, it’s the answer to the question, “where have you been?”. Last week Brad and I escaped to paradise, or actually returned, to a little Puerto Rican island called Vieques.

Sun setting over Sun Bay

Over the past few months we both worked through a long, hard stretch of 6-7 day work weeks and an unending string of deadlines. Remember when I went to Utah back in September? Brad was supposed to be on that trip. We were supposed to escape the Internet together, but I left him behind to plug away on website code. So when we we launched several websites in mid-November and there was not a deadline in sight for weeks to come, I quickly planned a vacation.

Sunset in Esperanza

Brad and I took a trip to Vieques to celebrate an anniversary nearly 2 years ago. We spent days tooling around in a Jeep Wrangler, lounging, swimming and snorkeling on pristine beaches where there was often not another person in sight. We navigated our way from local food truck to food truck and spiffied up to try the island’s restaurants by night. We kayaked in the bioluminescent bay and rode horses around the island getting drenched by a brief, passing shower. When our return flight back was canceled we spent one great night in Old San Juan, a beautiful part of the city where we strolled the cobblestone streets and enjoyed traditional Puerto Rican dishes, like Mofongo and Mallorca, in old-school local haunts.

The inner courtyard of El Convento, Old San Juan

I can’t travel without spending weeks in advance obsessively pouring over maps and planning, especially when it comes to what and where we will eat, but this time, none of that was necessary. I have discovered the wonders of the repeat vacation. There was no need to plan. We just got on a plane, with bathing suits and some some good fiction tucked in our carry-on bags, and made our way to the beach(es). I passed entire days alternately reading and swimming, until I was sunned and tired and ready for a good meal and a good night of sleep before another day of the same.

Me, and Secret Beach

But there is never travel without culinary adventuring. We embarked accidentally on what I like to call a Tropical Fruit Safari – or eating as much passion fruit as possible. When we arrived at the Hix House, the incredible open-air, architecturely fascinating hotel where we like to stay, there was a pineapple and a mango in our kitchen (along with fresh-baked bread and eggs and Puerto Rican coffee to enjoy with the French Toast Brad would make us the next morning) which we promptly began to enjoy along with the view.

View through the trees, from our studio at the Hix House

I stopped into the office the next day to ask the lovely Joanne if we could get some more of either. There was a bowl of odd looking tennis ball-sized fruit on the counter and when I asked about it she said “They’re passion fruit, take some”. When I expressed excitement, and told her how much we had loved the local bananas the last time we visited (they weren’t ripe this time), she said, “well then I have a present for you. ” She handed me a papaya that was with her things behind the counter and told me it was from a woman up the road. She also recommended that I squeeze a little “limón” on it, which she pulled from the bowl of passion fruit.

Papaya, and another beautiful day

We did enjoy that papaya with limón the next day for breakfast. But sooner than that I went back to our studio to grab a knife and googled “how to eat passion fruit” (tropical fruit is exotic, foreign territory for a Brooklynite). Brad and I sat in our beach chairs looking out at the ocean as we slurped the juicy membrane and seeds. Eventually Joanne pointed us up the road to pick the ripe passion fruit for ourselves and I became deft at making a whole with a car key and then prying them open to eat.

Passion fruit and the Caribbean

I even did this in the airport when I successfully convinced the inspector with the USDA not to take my last 3 passion fruits. She made me promise I’d eat them before the security line.

One Response to “Return to Paradise: Passion Fruit and Sunsets”

  1. #

    Daughter Fish says:

    Beautiful pictures! I need a Vieques vacation asap:)

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