Says who? Says their license plates! Don’t believe me? Check it out!
I arrived in Puerto Rico after a long day of travel on Sunday afternoon. I waited at the airport for my friend Shirin to pick me up and whisk me away on a tropical Caribbean vacation. Shirin and I spent a month last summer as au pairs for two families in Pisa, Italy. At long last we were reunited and free to hang out without any kiddos running around causing stress and throwing tantrums!
It was dinner time by the time we got to Shirin’s apartment, about 10 minutes away from downtown San Juan. We headed to a sandwich place called Pinky’s in Condado, the trendy neighborhood in San Juan, where I enjoyed my first sampling of one of the island’s signature foods; fried plantains. My plantains were layered onto a sandwich with meat and cheese… I know it sounds weird but it was actually pretty good! I enjoyed this unique new combo with a mango smoothie.
Shirin and I sat down by the ocean looking at the glow of the lights from San Juan and the dark waves crashing over some rocks. It was the middle of June, but I felt chilly in my tank top because of the breeze coming off the water! I was only able to visit for 1 week, so Shirin and I wanted to cram as many adventures and as much fun as possible into that short amount of time.
We headed to downtown San Juan so she could show me around. We walked up and down hills on old streets with colorful buildings and iron balconies. Downtown Puerto Rico has a lot in common with the French Quarter in New Orleans in terms of old architecture, absolutely no parking, and an abundance of bars.
We found one to pop into and I ordered a rum and coke… pretty much what I drank the entire week because Puerto Rico is infamous for great rum. I ordered a Bacardi and coke (hello, Bacardi is made in San Juan!) but the bartender just shook his head and pulled out a bottle of Don Q rum. Shirin explained that the majority of the locals prefer Don Q to Bacardi by a lot. This is because it is supposedly smoother and does not induce so much of a hangover. I gave it a shot and yeah! one should definitely order Don Q while in Puerto Rico. After leaving the bar, we went for a little walk along the old fortress walls overlooking the water. We drove past the bustling cruise ships in the harbor which were preparing to leave for the week, glowing bright in the cruise terminal. Then we got some sleep since the next morning was a 6am wake-up call so Shirin could attend a medical school meeting and I could be a tourist and explore downtown!