We got up at 10 and had breakfast at our usual table, which was against the window so we could see the ocean. There were birds diving into the water, fishing, so we stood and watched them for a long time.
We sat out on the deck reading in the sun until it started to rain, then went to play canasta in the card room. There was a big group of old people from Long Island in there, arguing loudly. Since it was close enough to noon, we decided to have some drinks. Wendy set out on a mission to consume everything on the cocktail menu. It was substantial, so we all pitched in.
As we were eating lunch, we started to see land. We went up to the top deck to watch the approach to Puerto Rico, and then ran to our cabin to grab our things and line up for our first stop in San Juan. It was very exciting, and we were prepared.
san juan, puerto rico
We got off the boat around 4:30, after standing in line for almost half an hour. They were handing out ponchos as we left, even though it had stopped raining. In the customs building (where we expected to have to show our passports or something, but no), we were handed free samples of Bacardi, and a million flyers for local services.
We got our bearings and set off up the hill to San Cristobal. We couldn’t actually go into the fort, because there was a long line of army trucks exiting, but we walked around the back of it to overlook the ocean. It was gorgeous. I took approximately 10,000 photos.
We walked along Boulevard Del Valle toward El Morro, following my map. I loved the colors of the buildings, and the overlook from the city wall.
off boulevard del valle
We got to El Morro just as San Felipe castle was closing, but that was fine; we wanted to cover as much ground as possible before it got dark. We took seats on some rocks near the castle and watched the sun set over the ocean.
Grateful for the fact that domestic rates still applied in Puerto Rico, I called Matt. I missed him a lot. Also, I give props to Wendy and Stephanie, who had to hear about how much I missed him at least a million times over the course of that week. They were very nice about it.
We headed back toward old San Juan, stopping to see the city gate and the cathedral. There were wild cats wandering everywhere.
plazuela de rogativa
the moon and san juan cathedral
Once it got dark, we decided to find dinner. There were a couple recommendations in our guide, so we walked to both of them and found them closed. We wandered all over the place looking, and were kind of dying of hunger. Before stopping, we ran into a liquor store and I picked up a couple bottles of rum to bring home.
We decided on a place called Lupi’s, which had Mexican food and a sports-bar atmosphere. We had amazing margaritas and tostones (on the menu as ‘plantain nachos’). For dinner, I had enchiladas, and I asked the bartender what the best rum in Puerto Rico was. He said it was Don Q, and made me the best Cuba Libre ever. After eating, we scooted down the bar to play Naked Ladies (you may know this as ‘Erotic Photo Hunt’ on Megatouch machines). We couldn’t have been more excited to find it in a bar in the Caribbean, and the dudes sitting along the wall behind us were quite amused.
After dinner, we headed to the destination toward which we’re inexplicably drawn: Señor Frog’s. Wendy had never been there, after all.
They had a slightly different drink policy than other Señor Frog’s: instead of having a pre-set selection of drinks in yard glasses, you could get anything you wanted. Premium liquors ran $17.50 a yard. It was like Christmas!! We took full advantage; I had a Cuba Libre with Diet Coke, Stephanie had a Long Island, and Wendy had a scary-looking fruity thing. We had Frog Legs shots, then something blue. Behind the bar, they were having contests for free shots. It was typical Señor Frog’s, which is to say: awesome.
Debating whether to order another round, Wendy announced, “hey, we’re not driving! Captain Giuseppe is!” We ordered, then asked our server if it was ok to bring drinks outside in San Juan. She told us sure, that anything goes! I told her I loved her. On the way out, though, the doorman told us no, we had to drink them inside. We sat near the entrance finishing our yards as the DJ played Sexyback. We loved Puerto Rico a lot.
no black men in the water.
We headed back toward the ship, stopping at a mailbox to drop off postcards. I may have been somewhat drunk, as I kept asking Wendy if we’d mailed our postcards yet, even though we’d just done so. When we got near the dock, Stephanie said, “what’s that thing floating in the water?” I yelled, “THERE’S A BLACK MAN IN THE WATER???” I may never live that down.
We boarded the ship, and had to show our passports to the security guards. I was nervous because I had bottles of liquor in my bag, and they’re supposed to take them and keep them for us until we returned to the US. They didn’t say a thing while xraying our bags, though, and they were amused by our collection of yard glasses. We staggered to our cabin, and didn’t even hear the boat’s giant whistle leaving port.