Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Juan Tituana and Jerry A. Scuderi Return to Puerto Rico

On the last day of the fall contest, let's return with Juan and Jerry to Puerto Rico!  It's really not that cold in Maryland, but it's still winter-bare, so I will certainly appreciate their images and words of the island's countryside.


A week in Puerto Rico – Part 2 (by Juan F. Tituaña)  (Photography by Juan F. Tituaña) 
Once my work conference was over, we headed south east of Old San Juan to the famous Yunque National Forest – the only tropical rain forest in the US.  A narrow trail lead us down to the forest through steep slippery steps and various captivating creeks. The hike down reward was the popular and spectacular La Mina waterfall pouring over a group of bathers, families and children. La Mina is one of the small eye-catching treasure chambers inside the rain forest so I was anxious to snap as many amazing shots as I could. After a long tiring day of hiking, our colleague friends, my wife and I left the forest but really had to stop at a local bar and grill outside the main entrance for some good food, beer and laughs.
With only a few days left in Puerto Rico, the following day my wife and I headed west of Old San Juan – on a “claim your own beach” mission road trip.  A local street bohemian that I chatted earlier persuaded me to go west and not east as many tourists were headed.  To capture the soul of the island, he suggested I follow my own path, search my own beach and claim it for myself.  There, he said, when you see an empty beach you like, stop, close your eyes, hear the waves, smell the beach and touch the sand.  It was due to this thrilling drive along the narrow palm tree scenic routes that I witnessed many eye catching isolated beaches. 
We drove for hours stopping at local restaurants along the way. The beaches we saw were nearly empty, just few locals, fishermen, and surfers I stopped to chat (see photos).  But on our last day, right under a beautiful sunset, one particular beach at a distance caught my attention.  My mission was over!  I readied my camera, it’s been ready for a week.  As I quietly soaked in this breathtaking scene, I saw my wife’s footprints in the deep moist sand (see photo).  There, I finally closed my eyes, listened to the waves, and touched the sand.  I had found the soul of Puerto Rico.  The soul of the island for me is a blend of the spectacular golden red sunsets, its beaches and soft sands, its rain forest, its historic past, its language, its cheerful people, its delicious food and its popular salsa music.  I realized then I was truly at home in Puerto Rico.  I vowed to return and stay longer, to explore new places, discover other exquisite dishes, dance even more and make more friends along the way.  Once again I will claim other isolated beaches and touch its sands.  And with my camera in hand, once again, I will close my eyes and feel the soul of my Boricua island … over and over and over.

Below is the dance between Juan's images and Jerry's words:
Soul Maiden

Photography by Juan Tituaña

Photography by Juan Tituaña

     Trek Rica maiden
through tropical greens ;
seek a paradise
among east island scenes .
 Photography by Juan Tituaña

 Photography by Juan Tituaña

 Photography by Juan Tituaña
     Quick paced spindle legs
fly up coral steps .
Envy moss-ed falls
your sleek sparkling pep.

  Photography by Juan Tituaña

     Rendezvous empty heart ;
present serenity to him .
Accompany your soul beach
in its sun setting dim.

 Photography by Juan Tituaña

     Court oneness with suitor
of bronze chest and abs .
He offers abundance
of shrimp , clams , and crab.
 Photography by Juan Tituaña

  Photography by Juan Tituaña
     Foot print turtle cape ;
track little flippers .
Acquaint the Caribbean
under stars of the dipper .

Photography by Juan Tituaña

     Nestle on a marine throne .
Search eyes ; find a kiss .
Tomorrow’s poor solace .
Too soon gone , . . . hurting , . . . and . . . missed .

Here is Juan's guide to his photographs so that you may plan your trip to Puerto Rico.

Yunque National Rain Forest
1) Yunque National Forest 
2) Rain forest hiking trail 
3) Forest steep climbing steps 
4) Locals blend in with nature for photo ops
5) Famous La Mina waterfalls

6) Beaches – north west of Old San Juan
7) Wooden benches - overlooking the ocean 
8) Footsteps in the sand
9) Local fishermen 
10) Marine turtle nesting grounds

He has also shared with us some video scenes of the rain forest, salsa music, dancers and poetry from Puerto Rico

La Mina Waterfalls, El Yunque National Rain Forest, Puerto Rico (a must see in PR)

Puerto Rico Salsa (Christmas) – Gran Combo de Puerto Rico Puerto Rican salsa and dancers

"This poem is dedicated to Julia de Burgos, the poetic gem of Puerto Rico who was an advocate for Puerto Rican Independence and one of the first to write poetry in English spearheading the Nuyorican Poetry Movement." – Caridad de la Luz (La Bruja) – Puerto Rican poet 

Puerto Rican poet Mariposa dedicates a poem to Ntozake Shange, poet, playwright and author of during the Pedro Pietri Hand Awards presented by Puerto Rican Embassy and El Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños and held at Hunter College, NYC 2009.

Enjoy Juan and Jerry's work!  

As I type, this is the last day to submit work for the fall contests.  See below for more information.

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