Holly and I left Ft. Lauderdale at 7AM for Puerto Rico. The flight was good, only two hours, but the airplane was SO cold. We arrived in San Juan at 9AM. We were met at the airport and driven to the Marriott Hotel. This beautiful hotel is right on the beach and will be our home for the next six days. Tiffany got in San Juan at 1:30 because she was on a different flight. What a beautiful place! If Puerto Rico truly had any damage from the hurricane, Irene, there is no evidence of it now. I don’t think it will be possible to go and see all the attractions we wanted to see in just six days. We went out on our balcony and drank in the view….blue ocean water, coconut palms, and the beach dotted with blue umbrellas with people under them.
While waiting for Tiffany, Holly and I went walking and looking for a restaurant where we could find authentic Puerto Rican food. I couldn’t help but notice the sidewalks were in excellent condition: no cracks or pot holes. You see very little litter on the streets and sidewalk. There are many cabs around, and these are new looking white vans, not the usual yellow cabs we see in other cities. We decided on a place called Café Del Angel: “real Puerto Rican food,” the sign said. I’ve heard so much about Mofongo; I just had to try that. We also ordered Canoa. I took one bite of the Mofongo, and decided I didn’t like that at all. Tried two or three more bites to make sure I gave it enough time to make a decision. Now, I was sure I didn’t like it! Now to try the Canoa: I can’t begin to describe this dish. It was like Taco filling like we’re accustomed to, with sour cream (and I don’t know what else) inside a plantain. That was pretty bad, too. Holly liked the Canoa, I did not. From where I was sitting, I could see a guy eating the most delicious looking sandwich: it made my mouth water. I was ready to ask him where he got that lovely sandwich when I saw the Subway wrapper! On the walk back to the hotel, I stopped at Walgreen’s and got a Butterfinger and called that lunch.After Tiffany arrived at the hotel, we went to Old San Juan by bus. It was standing room only. I stood and held on for dear life. The driver asked me how old I was. I thought he was being fresh until he told me I rode free. Seniors ride the busses free! They also get discounts on other things, I’m told. It pays to be old in Puerto Rico.Old San Juan was founded in 1521. It has the beauty of a centuries’ old walled city with cobblestone streets, two fortresses, historic buildings, a unique mix of shops, restaurants (some very familiar: Pizza Hut, Subway, and many others), and museums. The main fort is called El Morro. It was built to protect San Juan Bay’s deep harbor from attack by sea. We stayed there for about two hours. I enjoyed watching everyone playing in the big grassy area in front of the fort. There were kites flying, people laying on blankets, and lots of dogs. Some of the dogs ran free, a few on leashes.We returned to the hotel by bus. Since it was dark by this time, I suggested we eat dinner in the Marriott. I didn’t want to walk the streets after dark, because I’ve been told that’s a no-no. The restaurant was very expensive, and the food very fancy. It was a waste because I couldn’t eat mine! I ordered crab meat wrapped in God only knows what. Awful! I nibbled on the crab meat, but was still hungry. Poor Tiffany was starved by now, and she couldn’t eat her dinner either. She got shrimp in coconut milk. I couldn’t eat it either. Again, Holly ate her food with no problem. Tiffany ordered a chocolate dessert and ate that. I think tomorrow I’ll find the Wendy’s so I can get some edible food!We were in bed by 11.