Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico 2008

Having studied Spanish for a few semesters and still being amped from my trip to Costa Rica last summer, my ex girlfriend, her vegetarian friend and I set off for The US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Where we stayed in Carolina

These are just the memories that have withstood time and were not recorded anywhere besides in my brain.

The blue, grey  tower in the back ground of the picture above is one of a few government housing projects which have become homes to many drug dealers. Every night we would get a visit from the police helicopter just checking in on things; after circling around for about 15 minutes they would disappear. A few nights into the trip i was trying to fall asleep in the miserable heat and changed locations for the couch in the living room since there was a fan and windows. Around 1am one after the next f 5 or six rounds were fired. I dropped to the floor and crawled back to the bedroom to put at least a few extra bricks between me and the bullets’s origin; eventually I made it to sleep. Bibi later told me not to worry that that was normal and that they only shoot one another.

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Crystal found a place that looked pretty cool and was really cheap in a neighborhood outside of San Juan, called Carolina. The owners, Bibi and her husband or maybe he was Bibi… either way they live down stairs and have three attached apartments. Only the master bedroom had an Ac unit and May was a hot one.

The husband agreed to pick us up from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport and showed up just like planned. I was slightly sketched out but we all piled in and headed off. They were so hospitable offering beers and some snacks and being just plain nice.

For the first few days of our trip we had no car so we resorted to the public bus system. waiting in the mugginess with little old ladies. Again Costa Rica had a big effect on my expectations; the bus system in PR is nothing like it was in CR. It’s less frequent, less connected and more expensive. Either way it served us for getting to and from San Juan.

A mexican guy was staying in the downstairs rental apartment and we ended up hanging out. His girlfriend was studying in Puerto Rico to become a nurse or was working as a nurse. on her off day they took us to a place called Pinones which is an outside waterfront dirt road lined with several bars.

We toured the Bacardi factory… originally a Cuban company.

A few days in we scoured the phonebooks, calling every car rental place we could find, looking for one that would rent a car to a person [me] under 24, without a credit card. Eventually we found one but with a catch; we had to put down 500 dollars cash. everyone pitched in what they could.

Colorful Colonial Streets of San Juan

we packed up the car and headed off to Aguadilla, where we had reserved a place in the country but near the beach. I went to a famous surfing beach called Rincon and rented a board and paddled out but when I saw the reef I chickened out even though the waves were only about waist-high.

We ended up spending most of the time at Playa Crash Boat relaxing and eating pinchos, basically kebabs of various meat grilled by locals on the beach. When we parked the car at the beach in a free and public lot there was a guy asking for money. He said he was security but looked like a beach bum; we gave him 5 bucks rather than have someone break into the car.

Julie’s then boyfriend, flew out to meet us so we crossed back to the east side of the island to pick him up from the airport and crossed back to the West side; a 6 hour trip in total. For the majority of the trip there had been some tension which seemed to be escalating. While I was showering one evening i heard someone or thing solid thud against the bathroom wall. thinking it was Crystal I literally jumped out of the shower with water still going and without drying off, flung the door open to some argument about just wanting to go back home. I may have by this time grabbed a towel and went into my suitcase and offered money to fly the dissatisfied party home.

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