Folks have been asking me for this – folks that don’t know of the existence of the blog. So, even if just for reference sake, I decided I should chronicle the vacation here.
The post is a meander, I apologize. Someday I might reorg this to be more readable.
The places we stayed were beautiful and perfect. In San Juan we stayed at an airbnb right in the middle of town.
If ever there was a walking town (in the US, I’m sure there are very many in Europe, having never set foot in the continent I can only imagine) this is it. Walk because everything is close by, and also because you need to have maneuvering skills of the highest impossible order if ever you had to drive/park. My respect to people who do. In any case, in a lot of places it is only so wide that you could stand on a middle street and look either way and see the sea. Imagine that!
The night we got there – after I’d realized I’d overcautiously packed too warm and too many layers for the sultry weather; I wanted to take off even the shift that I was wearing at 11 PM; and this getting there from a pleasant 1F in Boulder – we headed out to the closest bar to drink. Later realized it is the place to be and seen. But didnt know it back then so serendipitous win. Also it was almost closed so we were the only patrons and we could sit at the bar with Igi too and the bartender was the most lovely (bearded + tattooed, check) man who made off menu stuff for our second and third drinks. Great drinks and very nice small plates. Should go. We went back there on our last night in town too.
So back to San Juan. At the risk of sounding like a Tourism ad – PR does have something for everyone. And San Juan is for you food and history buffs. Granted it is touristy, but I still enjoyed exploring the whole place on foot, even lil Igg walked everywhere. We didnt even bring her stroller (knowing Chitta and Chittappa where going to be there too, and she’s as happy riding on his/her shoulder as ours).
The colors, the food, the people everything is a lot like the (Indian) subcontinent, especially coastal Kerala. You might have been to Hawai or elsewhere and thought the same, and that’s only because you’ve never been to the Caribbean. The likeness is unlike anything you’d have felt anywhere in the US. Oh, and so also construction and roads and quality of driving, you won’t miss anything from “back home”.
And the partying! Imagine a place where people have street parties every other night. Music and dancing and food and liquor. A place you can get your drink to-go in a cup! Is that even legal? Im not much for pubs or dancing, but this was more the everyone just doing their own thing and having a good time that I really enjoyed.
We spent the first day seeing one of the forts – and this is why I should write these journals soon as I’m back coz I already don’t remember the name – and doing a little bit of shopping.
The next we went to El Yunque, darkest of green and wet and so enchanting. More so if you havent been to Kerala in the last year and a half. But really, look at that green. Where else in the states can you see that.
When I moved to CO, I was told by friends both back in India and abroad that I was moving to one of the beautiful parts of the US. I got here the end of September (and hence, of Fall) and I remember looking at the gray mountains and the withered trees and wondering what they meant. I didnt voice that opinion too loud lest I show myself for the unrefined eye for beauty person that I am. And yes, CO and Boulder especially have grown on me. It has taken time, 4 years now. I now love the seasons (the fact that we have them) and home and happy near the rockies.
Anyway, the shade of green. That’s reason enough to go to El yunque. It drizzled all the time during our hike to the waterfall. I stayed and watched while rest everyone else took the dip. I took bad photos.
If you wanted to put a word to me, for being that person that stays back, no interest to jump right in the water, what’d that make me? I say lazy. I wasnt even reluctant, I preferred sitting and watching to the inconvenience of changing, braving the cold (well, water is still cold, not chilly as you can tell from the number of people in there, but cold, even in PR).
The remaining day in San Juan was more walking, the other fort. A lot of food and fried plantain thingies and sea food and paellas.
The next day, now with S and L in the group, we went by ferry to Vieques. That last line is somewhat of a TLDR because Vin lost his wallet and he and I had to miss the ferry and we had to file a complaint and then get the next one in which also meant we missed pretty much our entire first day at Vieques. But in short, don’t lose your wallet in PR but if you do, realize it isnt a big deal except for the cash and the extra hour at TSA. You will still get back into mainland, if all goes well.
This is where we stayed. The house itself wasnt particularly pretty but you could see the sea from the balcony and it was big enough for all of us.
Here’s the only bit of advice in the entire post, and like all advice this stems from having made the mistake. Spend more time in the smaller islands (Culebra or Vieques) than in San Juan. Our second day we kayakd and snorkeled (and again, when I say we here, I mean the rest, Igi and I and Chakki too stayed back, Igi had fun floating on her back and saying she’s at daycare and taking a nap) and did the bio-lume tour (which was everything it was hyped to be, the part I enjoyed most was picking up pearls of water and dropping them on clothes seeing them glow. Also, yes how fish and oars and everything make designs in the water). We also spend the earlier part of the day lying on the beach and floating in the warm salty water. I just wish I had another day of that.
Account for a day each of flying time, pretty much anywhere you’re flying from the US. If it takes lesser time for you, you are close enough that you know more about the place than I do.