well this picture pretty much sums up the trip to Puerto Rico....no not really. But imagine my surprise to find "Frank" on the patio of my room. Let me set the scene...2nd story with a large patio and I have the door wide open. Just back from site inspections and hot, cranky and tired. Trying to motivate myself to change and go for a run. Am laying in the bed and I look outside and there he is. Cruising across my patio. I screamed, only like a girl can scream....housekeeping was outside my room and immediately knocked and asked if all was okay. I throw open the door and exclaim "hell no" and usher him in. He as great and picked him up and off he went. There goes the fresh ocean breezes... could not imagine if "Frank" cruised in my room.
So glad to be home and am really enjoying the rain and cold. It was hot, "Africa hot" as we use to say in Louisiana. Hot and humid but a beautiful place. Puerto Rico is very diverse....I saw beautiful resorts on the beach, the rain forest, hotels cascading down a cliff...
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El Conquistador Resort, old San Juan with Fort San Cristobal which is the biggest fortification build by the Spanish in the Americas- it is 150 years old. In San Juan you go from ruins and history to Miami Beach like shopping and resorts to quite water front beach resorts. There truly is something for everyone and I saw most of it.
Okay not most, but a lot of it. We had one day with a lot of downtime and I worked, slept - the 4 hour time change was a killer- up until 3am and then dragging myself out of bed at 10am. The day we left the hotel was a killer- up and out by 7:30- it was bright and sunny but felt like 3:30.
There were about 20 of us and after 3 days of seeing hotels, touring hotels and off site venues in the heat, we became punchy and quite irritable at times. The last few hours were amusing - people asking (what appeared to many of us) stupid questions which only delayed the time we were there, sales people telling us every micro detail about a property to the point the group was in a coma of boredom and the driving in the mini buses. It was not all bad....we ate very well- wonderful seafood at all meals, well lunches and dinners, so many terrific local fares- mofongo , lots of creole flavoring and cooking, alcapurria, tostones and of course the Coquito (Puerto Rican egg nog) - after getting the recipe and seeing it has about 1000 calories a glass I am glad I did not know when we were there because it was delicious.
Met some great people, some very interesting ones and well some down right irritating ones- probably a good cross sampling of the population. Always great to be with people from all over the US (few of us from CA, Michigan, Chicago, Denver, Providence, NCarolina, SCarolina, NY and of course the locals) Holiday decor is 85 degrees is always a bit funny- especially the Christmas Trees at the hotel with huge feathers on top instead of a star or some other topper.
Some different traditions....Holidays do not end at Christmas. Three Kings Day is January 6 and is when the children receive most gifts. This is celebrated as the day the 3 Kings visited Christ and delivered gifts. Another popular tradition is a parranda- when a small group of friends gather to surprise another with musical instruments and caroling. The parranda start around 10pm and go from house to house until early hours on the morning. They gather on the doorstep quietly and they begin singing and playing music until their sleeping friends wake up and invite them in for good and drinks (usually rum of some kind), the host then joins the group and they to to the next place. The receipts are usually given "hints" so they are prepared to receive the feed the well wishers. Good thing that has not taken off here.....people singing and playing instruments on my doorstep at 2am would not go over well :)
And 17 hours from when I left beautiful Puerto Rico I made it home last night.....Arrived home to company for dinner. Some Australian friends of Johns. I was late, cranky and not much of a host, but he had it under control. Kids and he survived the weekend- manged to make all the practices, games and the like for the most part. Thankfully he will willingly be the chauffeur when I have to travel. JD was as tired as I...after soccer Mon- Friday and lacrosse on the weekends he is tired but Sunday night.