We got an early start Friday morning. Like, 3am early. Since it was the middle of winter, I was dressed in my finest convertible clothing: lightweight hoodie, pants with capri-straps, and wool socks under Keen water shoes. We left our jackets at home, of course!
Our cab arrived at 3:45, which put us at the airport before check-in opened at 4am. There was a long line, but they were efficient. We were able to board our flight right away, and I fell asleep right after take-off. I woke to the beverage cart, and did some knitting on the way to Atlanta.
We arrived in the ATL early (around 8:45am), and watched the ground crew dealing with an overturned baggage cart on the tarmac. We had brunch at the Sam Adams Brewpub, and got on our flight to San Juan a little after 11:00. Our awesome captain, Steve, announced that we had several returning vets from Iraq, which got them a round of applause and free drinks.
It was overcast til we reached the Bahamas, and then it was all ocean and islands and me dying of excitement. After which I fell asleep again, and napped til Turks and Caicos. Really, how often can you say that?
Our plane also had the back-of-seat display. Matt watched ESPN and played video games and trivia (with other people on the plane!), while I contented myself with my knitting and the map that shows you things like altitude, distance to San Juan, and air speed, in both English and Spanish.
We landed early again, got our bags, and hopped in a cab to the Sheraton Old San Juan. We dropped our bags off in the room and took off to see the city. Matt had never been there, and I was very excited to show him around!
I’m not sure how it’s possible to forget how gorgeous San Juan is.
We walked down toward El Morro and the city gate, following the long path around the outside of the island. The feral cats were everywhere, being cute.
I have several pictures of Isla De Cabras from our last visit, just because it’s amazing. What I learned from a very informative plaque is that it used to be a leper colony, too.
San Juan was decorated for Christmas. It was completely incongruous. We kept forgetting about the upcoming holidays!
We wandered up to La Barrachina for dinner, because we needed to visit the place that claims to have invented the pina colada.
I don’t even care if they invented them or not: they were fantastic. As was my mofongo with vegetables.
After dinner, we went to check out El Batey. We knew it was a favorite local dive, known for having the best jukebox on earth. It did not disappoint.
The bartender, Felipe, introduced us to the local rum: Ron de Barrilotos. You can drink it up or on the rocks, but at El Batey, it’s served in small plastic Dixie cups. We met Nicky and her cousin at the bar. Nicky had lived in New England for a long time, but her cousin seemed to not speak much English. He gave Matt a cigar, and the business card of the guy who sold them. Nicky also got us to write our names on the newly-repainted wall, so hopefully they’ll still be there next time we go!
We stayed far too late, of course, because El Batey was our newest favorite bar in the entire universe. Really. And then we made the decision to stop into Senor Frogs, because it was right by our hotel, and of course we had to. Plus they had food.
Two yards and two shots? A terrible idea, and yet that’s just how you do at Senor Frogs. I set myself up for a pretty epic hangover!