Welcome to Puerto Rico! It's a land that looks and feels and speaks like it's a different country, but which doesn't require a passport or bottled water.
We landed around 1:30pm, after a red-eye from Seattle . . .
|The sleep mask I gave myself (I mean, that Santa gave me) came in super handy!|
I love how the lady behind me is giving Justin the "Neiborhood Watch" look as he takes this picture.
. . . and easily found the condo tower where we'll be staying for the next few days.
|It was the tallest building around|
We keyed in our passcode and startled the maid, who was still in the midst of cleaning the place. She reminded us in very rapid Spanish that the condo wouldn't be ready for another couple of hours, so we just dropped off our bags and walked into Old San Juan in search of lunch.
On the way, we saw palm trees and ocean . . .
. . . large government buildings that had quotes from the Gettysburg Address and other important American documents, but all in Spanish . . .
. . . and a handful of nondescript monuments to something or other that felt kind of pointless (hence no photo).
By the time we got into town, we were hungry enough that we sat down at the first appealing restaurant we could find with a shady terrace and decent menu.
We ordered quickly -- and then ordered again, when we were informed that the things we'd ordered the first time had run out -- and enjoyed the sun and food and the anticipation of getting out of our cold-weather clothes and into something more suitable for heat and humidity.
I snapped a quick shot of my chicken sandwich, managing to capture our guidebook for ambiance, and Justin looking happy across the table.
Little did I know that Justin was going to return the favor by taking super-flattering photos of Amanda and me from his side of the table.
After lunch, we walked sweatily back to the condo. When we got there, we were delighted not only by the view but also the glorious air conditioning.
|The windows of the living area look north to the Atlantic|
|The bedroom has a more easterly view.|
|And the shower has a great shot of the fashionable newer neighborhoods and hotel district.|
We took some time to settle in and shower, and then it was time for dinner. Amanda had heard of a place from one of her friends, so we went downstairs to see if the concierge could call us a cab. Apparently easier said than done, because there was an "electric party" downtown (where, according to the concierge, everyone went to dance and do drugs) and the convergence of party-goers meant that this entire section of town was gridlocked.
Given that we were reaching mission-critical hunger status, we considered walking -- but when it began to pour rain, we changed our minds and sat down to research plans B through G.
Our patience (and/or rain-strandedness) paid off, and we eventually found a taxi willing to take us to our restaurant. Sadly, the restaurant wasn't so eager to see us -- the too-busy-to-help hostess waived me off with a curt "come back in a couple of hours" before turning back to her iPhone.
Our taxi driver took pity on our plight and offered to drive us to one of the hip restaurant neighborhoods, where we'd be sure to find something decent. We accepted and soon found ourselves in front of a little gastropub with strong Yelp ratings.
This hostess was much friendlier than the last, and we soon found ourselves sitting at a communal table in the back of the dining room. We scanned the menu, ordered a handful of plates, and went to work.
|Pork adobo on little corn cakes|
|Seared scallops with sweet corn, watercress and black grits|
The food was surprisingly good, especially for a random find on a rainy night. We left happy and full, and went back to an early bedtime. More fun tomorrow!
I'm thinking you need some of those light fixtures in your place.
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