PR Campaign

SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST**

Cati and I went on vacation to Puerto Rico in February.  We noted that it was the best place we had ever been together* without having to brandish our passports and deal with customs.  We are fortunate to have a good friend who grew up in San Juan, so we met with her (and her family) down there for some fun ‘n’ sun in paradise.  

Some of the more noteworthy highlights are (mouse over photos for brief descriptions):

The coquis:  Holy smokes they’re loud.  We wondered if there were some loud night birds in the garden our first night there; by our third night they were serenading us to sleep. 

Little but loud.

The iguanas: They’re like squirrels down there.  You can spot them running around in the sun, hanging out in trees, or eating leaves from bushes. 

They would just hang out.

The beaches:  Sandy beaches, blue skies, big waves, and stunning sunsets.  They are perfect for snorkeling, surfing, kite-surfing, and just chillin’.  This was the ideal break from the Albany winter. 

The view from our cottage.

Some guy kite-surfing near our place.

This is the beach where we stayed in Isabella.  The beach is called jobos in the North of the island.

My view at breakfast.

One of the best things about renting a cottage was that we all cooked for each other at night.  My buddy and I manned the grill (pork ribs), and the ladies made the rice and various sides (mmm).

Old San Juan was fun too. 

On the streets of Old San Juan.

My friend, taking in the view; always searching for that cursed white whale who destroyed his ship; or something like that.

El Yunque National Forest:  Nice little rain forest.  It’s actually part of the United States National Forest System.  It had some picturesque waterfalls and beautiful views.  Disappointingly, there wasn’t much wildlife of which to speak (other than large snails), but it was full of thick and luxuriant greenery.  I even climbed into one of the waterfalls for a photo; it was cold. 

The low flying clouds in the rain forest.

Inside the rain forest.

Me and a waterfall.

Me in a waterfall.  C-c-c-cold.

El Morro:  I was impressed with the all the interesting history of the place.  It was the site of some pretty serious fighting between the U.S. and Spain, so really, it was like I never left the house [rimshot].  I kid, it was really interesting, and a beautiful place to enjoy the weather, eat sno-cones, fly kites, and take in the views.  The pics say it all. 

The grassy knoll in front of the fort was popular with the locals (and tourists) for just spending the day in the sun.  It really was beautiful.

Exploring the old fort.  This photo reminds me of Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.”

Fire when ready.

The view from the fort.

Another photo in the fort.

Some local kids playing in a fountain.

The food:  We ate a lot of different and delicious things.  If I had to generalize about the food in PR, I’d have to say they know their starch and meat.  We had yuca, tostones, mofongo (shouldn’t that be a swear word?), rice, and beans.  We also had an excellent dish made with green bananas.  It wasn’t sweet at all.  They were more like potatoes boiled in salt and garlic, it was very foreign to me, but excellent.  As for the meat, we had beef, chicken, fish, pork, pork, and pork. 
We even went to a fun little fiesta in the mountains called a lechona.  It’s basically a townie pig-roast with music and good times for all.  From the looks of it, the three “PR gringos” in our group were the only ones there.  That’s one of the benefits of knowing a local (thanks, D).  It was great, food-centric, fun. 

 Arriving at the lechona.

The spit roasted pig.

We all got our trays and took a seat.  I was glad we had out local friend with us, or we would have been lost.  She ordered everything and paid like a pro.

There was a relaxed authentic vibe to the party that made it a lot of fun.  It was all about enjoying good food and music from the local band.

During the entire trip, we had a great time.  The fact that everyone there speaks English as readily as they do Spanish might make it easy for any monolingual Americans who might struggle with another language.  We split our time between our friends’ place in San Juan and a cottage on the beach.  There was a lot of lounging around in San Juan. 

Yeah, this pretty much sums it up.  I read Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene; very engaging book.

The view from the roof of the house we stayed in while we were in San Juan.

The ladies did wonderful things in the kitchen.

The fellows did wonderful things at the grill.

Tostones with chicken.

Mofongo:  What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Some more misc. highlights (mouse over for descriptions):

We went to the house of one of our host’s friends, nice eh?

We picked up some green bananas while there.  They don’t look edible, right?  But they came out delicious (see next photo).

That’s them on the left.  They were so good, although they tasted nothing like what you might think.  They were more like potatos.  The rice and beans were out-of-this-world too.

On the way home from the beach, we stopped by these roadside food vendors for lunch.

They had a lot of unremarkable fried foods at this place, but this rice dish (with some fried plantains) was I-can’t-believe-I-ate-it-all good.

The weather and relaxation went hand in hand.

The view from our bed.

I did also run a few times while there, and the heat was overwhelming (it was ~77F).  That’s good for sitting around and drinking a Medalla Light; but running– not so much.  I guess it a sure sign I am acclimating to the Northeast when I think 35F is ideal running weather, eh?

I failed to raise the ransom money for Nacho by ~$300, and regretably, we had to flush him.  Happy now?  Hm?  (see bottom of this post)  If you should feel guilty about it, I encourage you to expunge your contrition by donating anything you can to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on my behalf by clicking HERE.  I know you’re a good person (you must be if you come to this website, right?), so don’t be shy.  Donate online, it’s safe, it’s easy, and it’s sublimely philanthropic.  Many have already done it; more have not.  Doing good feels good; give it a try. 

What can/should I do to compel all the good people that visit this website to donate (even a little)?  Suggestions are welcome. 

*Cati went to Hawaii before we were a couple.  I suppose her convent went on a missionary trip to feed coconuts to orphans, er sumthin’.  Yeah, that must be it.  [shrug]

**We recieved an email from a friend after she read about our trip to PR.  She asked if we saw many of the neglected street-dogs while we were down there.  Unfortunatley, we did.  They were living on the beach, and you could tell by the various domestic breeds that they were not “wild,” just abandoned, and left to fend for themselves.  All they wanted was a little food and attention.  Here’s an excerpt from her note with information on adoption or contributing: 

“…there is a spectacular animal shelter down there that saves hundreds of dogs every year but they are in desperate need of funding as well as adoptive homes.  I was wondering if you might consider posting a link to their website online for your friends and family to view. 

Pokey, is a puppy my mom rescued – he’s a real cutie and very sweet – and he’s featured online.  I met Suzie as well and seriously considered taking her home myself.  ;)

Every dog we’ve ever rescued has been super sweet, gentle, well behaved and virtually housebroken despite having lived on the street for most, if not all, of their lives.”

http://www.boxer.dreamhost.com/

3 Responses to “PR Campaign”

  1. Lydia says:

    What beautiful pictures! The scenery, the food and the little animals. It surely makes me want to visit PR.

  2. jess says:

    You two are everywhere this week. Well, everywhere being Celinabean and the Times Union. Hope you got to chat with my friend Mary at the pesto tasting – she’s great!

  3. alex|dimitri says:

    Ha! That’s right. Move over Marylou Whitney, Alex and Cati have arrived!