Friday, August 12, 2016

Adventure in Puerto Rico: Day 1

We decided to go on a grand adventure this summer.  After plotting and planning, we finally packed our bags and flew away to Puerto Rico!

We took a red-eye to Atlanta, then a morning flight to San Juan, and spent the afternoon settling into our apartment in Luquillo.  Zoom in on the northeast corner of the map, and you'll find it.
Here's a view of the complex from the beach.  Yes, we were that close.  We arranged our rental through VRBO, where you can find vacation rentals all around the world.  Besides price and number of beds, two of my main criteria were being very close to the beach and having a washer and dryer in the apartment.  Those categories aren't available in the initial search, but I quickly found the amenities list and map in each listing, and narrowed down the possibilities.  Each property is as individual as its owner, but we found one that was perfect for us.  Two air conditioned bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen, even a rooftop terrace.  The owners were nice, and it was just lovely.
See, even the parking lot was pretty.  We drove out to find lunch in the neighborhood and buy some groceries.  Lunch was at the Kioscos of Luquillo, just down the road.  Most of the kiosks featured the same assortment of rice and fried food, so we picked out a few to try.  The rice was good.  The fried things were not quite as good as they looked.  But it was interesting to try them.
Now that I've made the above map, I see that we didn't need to go as far as we did to find a grocery store.  But we found a good one.  And while cart corrals were few, far between, and neglected, we felt better knowing this safety officer was looking out for our car.
We picked out some exotic fruit to try, from left to right: sugar cane, mamey (I think), guanabana, starfruit, papaya, and coconut.  Over the next few days, David loved the starfruit.  I preferred the papaya, though no one else seemed to appreciate it much.  Dandelionslayer finally beat the coconut open, and it was good.  The mamey and guanabana were pretty sour.  Without internet access in the apartment, I never found out what to do with them.  We weren't sure how to approach the sugar cane until someone showed us.  Then we saved it for a souvenir, but weren't allowed to bring it home.  Oh, well.
 With the kitchen stocked, we headed for the beach.
 The water just outside the gate was warm and shallow, all the way out to where the waves were white.  Scoot and Rollo tried their snorkels and enjoyed looking at the weeds and rocks that tormented our feet as we walked along.  I was more comfortable doing a shallow swim.  The farther out we went, the farther out the waves seemed to be.  Eventually I backstroked back to the sand, and the others came along.
 I wonder what made these tracks.
 The sun is up from about seven in the morning until seven in the evening.  Kind of a short summer day for us northwesterners.
After our swim, some of us were more interested in showering and sleeping than cooking.  Not D2.  He took charge and fixed us some pasta with marinara sauce and sautéed Pavolami--an interesting turkey sausage, solid but not cured.  It was tasty.  Thanks, D2!

For more of the adventure, see:
Day 2 
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

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