Monday, July 19, 2010

Stories from Puerto Rico

I really thought that I would be able to post more often than I have, but the internet in house that we are staying in hasn’t been working!  Honestly, the woman who we rented this house ought to be slapped in the face by every person in this house and then she needs to rewrite the description for the house.  Hell, I’ll rewrite the description for her!  Here it is:
Beautifully structured house on the beach.  The inside isn’t bad looking either, but that’s about it.  The toilet leaks, EVERYTHING is damp 24/7 and the bottom of your feet will be dirty from the moment you turn the shower off until the time you get back in.  The windows don’t shut all the way in most of the rooms in the house and one of the bedrooms is a rainforest with exotic bugs living in there.  Please don’t count on the air conditioning to work all of the time.  The kitchen may or may not have a light in there…I seemed to have forgotten if there is a light switch in there.  Let me know if you find it!  On the plus side, the view of the beach is absolutely breathtaking!  It doesn’t matter the time of day with three balconies to enjoy the view.  You may even catch a worker or two taking a bath in the ocean while you are eating your breakfast! 
Please know that I have not exaggerated one bit!  Okay, I will leave the owner alone, but not until I say this one last thing:  If you are renting your house out, please CLEAN IT!  Your tenants don’t need to find bloodstains on their bed. 
Moving on…
After realizing that there wasn’t much going on in Hatillo on Saturday, we wandered over to Old San Juan, which is about an hour east.  We made it in time to do a little bit of shopping before the shops closed and make a note to self to come back and see some of the historical spots.  We decided to have dinner here and try a popular dish out here called mofongo, which is mashed plantains with almost any kind of meat that you could want covered with a garlic sauce.  So we checked out this restaurant call Lupis and I swear every person we asked swore that the mofongo was great here.  Let me just tell you now: THEY LIED!  I ordered mine with chicken and it wasn’t too bad.  My sister and her mini me said the grouper and shrimp one was as close to good as this place could get.  $150 later, all seven of us walked out feeling almost disappointed.  Maybe that was our fault.  Maybe we should have stuck to the small roadside carts or shops for these kinds of dishes.  Or maybe we shouldn’t have trusted the word of a kid who was allergic to half of the menu.  Again, maybe it’s just me!
Sunday, we attempted to find the Rio Camuy Caves, which turned out to be 20 minutes away from us, but were turned away because the tours had ended for the day.  We were told to come back on Monday so we went home to relax and plan the next day.  While the rest of the family played in the water, I went back to reading the latest Jeffrey Deaver book, The Burning Wire, which is pretty much brilliant.  Later, Jay and I took the giggling duo to Subway to grab dinner for the family and can I just say that it is almost amusing to see the look on people’s faces when we say that we need seven sandwiches?!  I will say that this girl handled herself extremely well, especially since English wasn’t her first language and she was running the store alone!
Monday seemed to go a little better mainly because we had the day planned out.  We got up and went to the caves, which were amazing!  As city folks, I don’t think we really take the time to check out the natural wonders around us.  The cave that we toured was huge and other than the walkway, was completely untouched by man.  I think since I was so awestruck, the idea that there were bats, no matter how harmless they were, were flying around over my head didn’t faze me.  On our way back, we stopped at this restaurant that one of the guys from the caves told us about and tried the mofongo again and it was WAAYYYYYY better!  

Pork Mofongo
Also, another thing that we noticed is that that people in the smaller towns were a lot nicer and had a bit more patience for us ignorant English speakers.  (How dare we come to Puerto Rico and not speak Spanish?!)  A couple in there came over and chatted with us and told us about different places to visit while we were here before helping the kid take our orders.  This alone slightly changed our, well my, view of the people here.   I think Mom said it the best.  Here people aren’t judged by their skin color like they are in the U.S., but by whether or not they can speak the language.  I can’t even tell you how many times we have been laughed at when we say that we don’t speak a lot of Spanish.
Anyways, on our way back to the house, we passed a stand that sold pig roasted on a spit and Jay practically made Mom turn the car around.  While he, Tim, Jazmone and Hillary were waiting for the guy to cut off portions of the pig off, a car pulled up next to us and a couple got out and started talking to Mom and Dad while we were in the car!  Again, the people in the smaller towns are definitely friendlier than in the larger cities!  They stood there for a while just talking and when they finally left, we couldn’t believe how friendly they were. 
Instead of staying home we decided to head to Condado Beach and drop off the four younger ones while Mom, Dad and I went to San Cristobal in San Juan…at least that was the plan.  The closer we got toward the area, the harder it rained.  Instead, Mom and Dad walked around while the rest of us sat in the car.  Hillary was the only one awake and was looking around when the guy in the car next to us got out and started jacking off!  Hillary started waking the rest of us up and that is what we saw right before he sat down and whipped it out!  Before things got ridiculously out of hand, Jay got up out of his seat and scared the guy off.  Right around the time Mom and Dad came back, the guy did too.  SERIOUSLY though?!  I will never understand why people do the things that they do and maybe it’s not meant for me to and I can accept that!
San Cristobol was amazing!  It was an old fort built and rebuilt over the past several hundred years to defend San Juan, which was considered the gateway to Caribbean.  Whomever controlled Puerto Rico controlled most of the trade in this area.  This fort was definitely ahead of its time and the fact that it’s still standing is…wow!  From the top of this fort were amazing views of Old San Juan and the port.

 Views of Old San Juan
Tomorrow, the plan is to check out the rain forest...eeks!  That should be interesting!

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