Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cruising Through San Juan

Since yesterday's breakfast was so hectic, we decided to order room service this morning. I had this great plan; we'd have fruit and croissants in the room and be up on the deck early enough to get a decent lounge chair, where we could listen to the steel drum band and sip Mojitos all day until we pulled into port. Well, we waited and waited for breakfast and it never showed up...because I forgot to put our stateroom number on the request form! So we just went right up to the deck, but the winds were almost gale force so every lounge chair was empty! But we grabbed a couple anyway, and within 30 minutes, the skies were sunny and clear and the winds had died down and it was perfect and we sipped Mojitos all day! We met this great gal named Cora from Indiana who was scoping out some guy; she had our waiter buy him an anonymous drink, but the waiter came back and told her that the guy said he was gay! But he still accepted the drink! I told her it could have been worse; he could have bought one for his boyfriend, too, and charged it to her room.

San Juan was really fun; there is a Honda Gold Wing Club on board (30+ bikes) and we watched them all disembark from the ship which was very fun, except for that one guy who couldn't get his bike to start and the rest of the group left without him. Bummer. Here's a picture of Robin, with San Juan coming into view behind her. Here's another picture of the two of us standing in front of this pretty walled park.

So we really got a feel for San Juan (cough, cough); we bought souveniers and safety pins at Walgreen's; shoes at Payless Shoes; and at the local grocery store, Robin bought Pringles chips and Dentine gum! (Oh, and we saw the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, otherwise known as the Castle of St. Phillip of the Headsland). There were a lot of homeless people, and little alleyways that reeked of something foul and rotten, but also pretty courtyards overflowing with flowers and vegetation, and the pastel housefronts and wrought iron balconies were beautiful. The people were all really friendly. I bought some little green, glass frogs for the girls since that's the national symbol (who knew?), and some pretty Caribbean-style coverups.

The entire harbor and shopping district were swarming with police, and I'm not talking your local rent-a-cops! These guys look like Delta Force operators, with flack jackets and ear-pieces, and deadly serious expressions. I took a covert photo of this one cop (his bulging muscles had nothing to do with it). I was hiding in the doorway of a shop across the street, but enlarged and cropped the photo to what you see here. You really have to see him to--ahem--appreciate him! Then on the way back to the ship, we bought a couple of pocketbooks -- inexpensive knockoffs of Coach and Kate Spade brands (although they looked real enough to me!). Here's a picture of the cruise ship from the shopping district -- we were actually hanging over this stoned wall, and behind us the houses were vacant and boarded up, probably from damage incurred during last year's hurricanes.

Not sure what we'll do tonight. Probably go up on deck when we leave so we can see San Juan by night, and maybe get a bite to eat since we skipped supper.

1 comment:

Cathryn Parry said...

Aw, sea days are the worst for getting deck chairs, Karen, I'm sorry you had to go through that! I'm glad you enjoyed San Juan--can't wait to see the photos!