San Juan, Puerto Rico

I really didn’t think I’d have much to write about San Juan, as Michael and I were here about a month ago. I guess we’ll know soon if I was right. The transatlantic blog has details of our previous trip.


First we had to pass immigration to get off the ship. It’s hard to think in terms of being in the US, but for all intents and purposes we are.img_2908.JPG There’s a ton of construction here; new condos, new hotels, vacant land disappearing quickly.


When we debarked at the entrance to the Cruise Terminal, while asking directions from a policewoman, a tall Puerto Rican came up and said, “Welcome to my country.”


“It’s my country too.” I said, but he was too interested in getting us on a one hour tour than to acknowledge my lack of diplomacy.


“Take my one hour tour” he said. “If you don’t like it, it’s free.”


“Good, I said, “I don’t like it, so let’s go.”


He ha ha’ed and said $20 each for an hour. This was the first time in Puerto Rico for our friends Jerry and Donna, so we decided to do the tour. One caveat, we, correction Michael and Donna, had to spend 15 minutes of that time at the Coach outlet.


We headed to his van, which turned out to be some one else’s cab.


“Too small,” I said, “We are four.”


“So,” he said, three in the back and one in front.” and started to herd us toward the cab, the driver of which had, for some reason, opened the trunk.


“No,” I said, “this is not going to work.”


“Then what about this van?” he said, speaking rapid Spanish to another driver down the line. At that, I realized that he was a taxi pimp; just grabbing what was in line to get us going, and his commission coming.


We walked away, he followed, and this time I was emphatic.




We continued walking and moments later a driver with a van made a deal with us for $10 per person. He spoke English well, and there was lots of room for us all.


We drove up towards Old Town and once again were reminded of the horrible traffic. Most everyone drives large cars on cobblestone streets built for a horse and carriage. Stop signs mean nothing, because if you strictly obeyed them you would sit for hours before an opening appeared. So the unwritten rule is every other car as if they were 4-way stop streets. Police are on most corners and direct traffic by talking to each other as they drink coffee. Those who are alone stand on the sidewalk and kind of zone out. By the way, sidewalks are built for one person only.


The traffic was especially heavy as preparations were being made for the festival of San Sebastian, a 4 day celebration that started that night. Most of the streets in Old Town would be jammed with people.


We finally got to Coach, and I went across the street to Polo. It seems they had the only men’s room within blocks. Oops, look at that jacket. Oops, it fits perfectly. Oops, it cost $350. Wait there’s a sign that says sale. Be careful, Geoff.

Yes, it’s now hanging in the closet. I got it for $79.99…all by myself. I ran back across the street to grab Michael before she bought anything.



Traffic and Coach had taken up some time so we asked Jose, our driver, for another hour. It was a great tour. at the fort Michael saw two Iguanas. They were one on top of the other. That would not do for a photo, so she yelled at them and interrupted them.


We saw Ocean Park, “where the rich people live”. Jose told us there was no crime in Ocean Park. Maybe because any thief would rip his pants on the barbed wire, be uncomfortable sitting atop the spiked walls, and then have to deal with the barred windows. The beaches were lovely.


We also took a look at the Four Seasons Hotel.


 And then went to the place known as a family outing on weekends.


It cost $14 entrance fee, and the minimum bet is $100. A $10,000 loss is uncommon, but happens. As you have beer, sodas and food, you’ll see 25 to 30 fights. I couldn’t help but wonder if they served chicken sandwiches. Jose’s brother owned a bunch of roosters and was a regular.


Michael and I have been to Puerto Rico a number of times, but this is the first time we’ve seen this much of the area. We all agreed it was a perfect day. If you are going to be in San Juan you can reach Jose in his van at 1 787 923 7335


The ship hosted a sail away party on deck with complimentary Margaritas. Then, on to dinner and caviar. I might be the only person in the modern world who piled both turkey and frog’s legs on the same plate.


By Crepe Suzette time, it was non fat yogurt for me.


Michael expected the “Suzettes” to be made at our table. But, no. insurance regulations now call for them to be made, not table to table, but in a separate area. The head waiter, our waiter, and his assistant all showed up, pulled out her chair, and escorted her to the bubbling liquid floating the crepes.img_2950.JPG


Next, at sea heading for Miami.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: