Puerto Rico!

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
Trip End Apr 28, 2006

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Flag of Puerto Rico  ,
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Puerto Rico! So my first impression of Puerto Rico was a more American Mexico. But now I really see it for the beautiful country that it is. It actually wasn't that bad getting off the boat (ship!). Customs here is suppose to be the worst because it's American customs. So of course they wanted to see all of us with our passports and make sure that we were who we say we are. Then they had practice with their drug dogs since, of course, we are a little bit more of your stereotypical drug users. But it wasn't all that bad. There was a pretty long line to get off but thankfully I was busy trying to nap at that point. I had a field trip to El Yunque Rainforest at 1pm so there wasn't really any point to getting off the ship before that. The Rainforest was beautiful. It reminded me a lot of our day off in Guatemala. There was a big waterfall down at the bottom of one of the mountains so several of us got in and swam. I had on jeans so I did not participate. It was beautiful though and we had quite a while to just sit around at the bottom and take pictures and talk. (I took 144 pictures just of that trip so I'm guessing I will have well over 1,000 by the time I'm done) I was going to try to go to a welcome reception at a local university when I got back but unfortunately we got back an hour and a half late so I was unable to attend. Instead I had dinner with a girl from Montana (Aubrey) and then did some homework before I went to bed at like 10. Almost everyone else on the ship was out at the clubs until 3 or 4am but I opted to catch up on some sleep instead. The next day I got up rather early and headed into Old San Juan with Katina and Kaylee. They really weren't all that interested in partaking in the actual Puerto Rican atmosphere so we ended up going to several American stores and then to subway for lunch. I was all for authentic food but they didn't want to try it. Then we headed back to the ship so that Kaylee could catch her kayaking trip and we could meet up with Jessica, one of the girls from Katina's class. Fortunately for me the girl from Katina's class never showed up so we got to hit the town again. It was a lot more fun this time. We shared the crazy cab with two other SASers and took off. We hit up a lot of awesome shops. Most of the shops here are actually trying to sell things from India, Africa, and China. Most of the actual Puerto Rican stuff is Bacardi or cheesy souvenirs. I did get a pair of glass blown earrings though and a yard of fabric for the blanket(apparently the bible study is having everyone get a yard of fabric in every country then cutting it up and making it into a blanket at the end) We also got a few other odds and ends. Then we headed out to try and find the authentic music festival at some fort. We thought we were there but when I asked a local he said it was on the other side of town, then I ran into some SASers and they said we were in the right place. Unfortunately we are a little directionally challenged and ended up taking a very scenic but very out of the way route. We walked probably a mile out of the way. It was worth it though. The fort was breathtaking and you could see so many sights from the top. We ran into heather, the girl from the plane who also has the same computer, and she saved us seats while we ran around the fort. The show was awesome! (I got some video footage but I shot it sideways for a better angle and now I don't know how to turn it, haha) Then after it was over we went out with a huge group of SASers to try to find some authentic cuisine. We were told be some Puerto Ricans students that it was on St Sabastian street but apparently that was all closed due to some festival. So we ended up walking down this scary part of town where there weren't stray dogs but stray cats. It was really weird. We did have our token male, grant, who we aren't suppose to travel without so it was all good. He took the back so he could "defend" us. Then we finally stopped at this seedy little local bar and asked a local where some restaurants were. They pointed us back down a few streets and so we finally found a little place where some of my group had gotten drinks earlier. It was nice. We opted to eat outside until it started raining and then moved back indoors. After that we all decided it was best just to head back and so we all got in a cab(all nine of us!) and went back to the ship. Once we were back at the ship we set a time and place to meet and go back out but unfortunately I mixed up where we were suppose to meet and missed both groups. So I got to get a little more organized in my cabin which I needed. My roommate got back around 1:30 from the bioluminescent bay which she loved. I was so jealous. If anyone ever goes to Puerto Rico you have to go. Apparently it is one of the best things that she has ever done. On Wednesday (happy birthday Joi) we decided that it was a good day to sleep in and just kinda chill. We (Jessica, Nicole, E, Jane, and I) went to Plaza De Americas which is this awesome mall. It has tons of shops from North America. It had everything from local shops and old navy to Armani. Amazing! It was honestly better than any mall I've ever gone to in the states and I only saw maybe a forth of it. Of course I felt really stupid actually buying something that I could buy in the states and it was all the same prices so I ended up not getting anything. They had a lot of stuff from India which we all really like but decided maybe we should actually buy the real thing in India. We also hit up Kmart which was right outside and I did end up buying some food there since it is crazy expensive to buy food on the ship and you have to unless you go to the dining room during the right hours. After that we caught another taxi ($3 per person normally) and headed back to the ship. We had about a half hour break before we had all agreed to meet to go out for our final Puerto Rican dinner. At dinner we (Jeff and Joe came with us girls) went to a local restaurant on St. Sebastian st. which had several interesting dishes. It was actually really good and we all passed our dishes around to try. It didn't take too long to eat so afterwards we all went and walked around Old San Juan trying to find stickers and shot glasses. (for our laptops and water bottles and the shot glasses to start a collection) Then we all walked around the square before catching a cab back to the ship and officially ending our trip to Puerto Rico. Looking back PR was so much better than I had anticipated and actually set the bar somewhat high for our next ports. It was a great experience!
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