Puerto Rico Day 1, Part 1
The interesting part of my trip to Puerto Rico started at our layover in Florida with a space shuttle launch that we could see out of the plane window, and continued from there. It was a clear day and I had never seen water like that from a plane before. It was all kinds of colors–turquoise, cerulean, pale green–and kept washing up on little islands, like so:
We stayed in Old San Juan. It is the original city that was built off a Spanish fort that sits on the top of the island. Houses can be purple and green or peach and navy blue and just blend in with the background, which was a mess of brightly colored plants and a turquoise sea.
(Street scene of Old San Juan)
Plus, the bricks on the street were blue.
Our hotel was El Convento in Old San Juan, a former convent that has been converted to a hotel. I was going to write a rave review about the hotel except that at the end of the trip we discovered they are the type of place that adds $80/night in taxes, parking, and “gratuity” onto your bill. So I have mixed feelings about the hotel. It was a charming place and in the end it was worth the extra $80 a night, but I was angry that they were not more upfront about the fees and thought they were a bit scammy.
However, El Convento is a lovely place to stay. It’s a Spanish-style building with a giant Nassau tree growing in the center courtyard, so at night you can hear birds singing and see fruit bats flying around. There’s charming balconies, a tiny pool and hot tub, complimentary wine and cheese tastings every night, and a couple of decent restaurants. Our room had a balcony with a view of the ocean and a red Spanish tiles floor.
(Kyle in our hotel room)
The first day, we explored Old San Juan. Everyone there speaks English and the people were super friendly. I like places where people are open and friendly, so I liked seeing Puerto Ricans singing to themselves as they walked along or standing in a big group talking.
The kids would shout and scream as they walk along the street in their Catholic-school uniforms. The loudest group we saw were these kids playing in a fountain near the fort. They reminded me of when birds get together and start chattering in a tree.
And then, the fountain went off and the kids started shouting, “La Vida! La Vida!” until the water went on again. I got the sense this went on all the time.
In the afternoon, we went to the fort (coming soon!).