Day two on Puerto Rice took us to San Sebastian, a good way into the interior to seek out a waterfall. Megan loves waterfalls, and now I do as well. After more adventures with GPS and narrow, silly-straw shaped roads through giant bamboo groves and hanging vines, we charged up one last stupefyingly steep incline, so steep that horizontal grooves were cut in it to aid traction. Buckety buckety up we went.
The crustafarian gentleman who took our parking money directed us to the paths for the different falls and made sure to point out the bar down the hill. After a modest hike through more dark, Indiana Jones-ish jungle, we arrived at the upper falls. The water falls about 4 stories to a large pool with sitting rocks on one edge, a beach on the other and a rock platform with a swinging rope for the adventurous.
We watched two couples of tan, body-hairless and nearly naked examples of youthful physical perfection gracefully swing out and drop into the pool, one going so far as to GoPro his descent after releasing the rope.
At first it felt pretty ballsy just for us to be here in this wild place and to get in the chilly mountain water to paddle around. I couldn't help eyeing the rope with the nagging sense that I ought to maybe just swim to that side and think about it. A few naggings later, I was getting ready to leap and telling myself not let go too soon for fear of grievous injury. Surprisingly to me, I went for it and didn’t let go until I was out and up as far as I could go. Of course I had to do it again.
The ribbon that got cut in my brain was that after years of financial terror, feeling professionally like I couldn’t make a mistake or I’d be sunk, or that I couldn’t seem to do anything but make mistakes, I was thoughtlessly doing something fun and a little scary, but scary in the fun way.
Hanging out on the Rincon beach and watching the surfing classes got me nagging at myself again. There in a corner of the beach, young kids and adults had short wave rides and quick falls into the water on mellow little waves. It looked fun and was something completely foreign to me. After a couple glasses of beer, I signed up for the next morning’s class.
The next morning I wondered what I’d been thinking and was relieved when I showed up and the class had been canceled. The gracious woman explained she’d accidentally called my ex-wife at 6:00 in the morning and offered to reschedule me for 1:00 p.m. and to throw in free paddle boards for Megan and myself in the meantime. Customer service.
The paddleboard experience brought doubts. How was I going to surf if I was slow acclimating to a paddle board on a flat calm morning? Even with that hesitation, I had no idea how much more intense and intimidating the surf class would be.