Puerto Rican food staples And exploring the Capitol

When Shirin picked me up from downtown, we headed for a quick stop at the Puerto Rico Capitol Building, where all of the legislative assemblies are housed. The massive building was completed in the 1920s, and no expense was spared in terms of opulence and architectural design. The building feels like the interior of an old church on the inside, with the massive central dome which is decorated with designs from the history of Puerto Rico.

dome

Grand staircases lead to the higher levels of the building and sprawling wings lead away from the main entry room. We took a quick peek at the legislative meeting rooms which featured expansive sky lights.

stairs

From the outside, the Capitol building looks like it might fit in amongst ancient Athens or Rome, the gigantic columns are around three stories high! The building is worth a visit when in San Juan because of the grandiosity of the exterior and interior design.

columns

After visiting the Capitol, I was ready to try some Puerto Rican staples for a late lunch. Shirin took me to a seafood restaurant close to the Condado district, where I proceeded to order fried turnovers as an appetizer and mofongo for my main course. There are many varieties of these fried turnovers which are sold all over the place in many Puerto Rican restaurants. I found mine to be okay, but it wasn’t my favorite dish, so I didn’t order these anymore.

turnover

The mofongo was quite delicious, consisting of mashed up plantains with boiled shrimp on top, served with a small side salad. This is a must try dish in Puerto Rico, and is quite tasty!

mofongo

After lunch, we headed to the grocery store to buy some food and drinks for the week. I stopped up on guava, passionfruit, and mango juice, which is not at all expensive there and really delicious and refreshing. I was surprised to see a stand which looked like a lifeguard stand in the parking lot. Shirin explained that these parking lot guard stands are popular, and supposed to help cut down on burglaries and violence in the parking lots. I had never seen one of these before so I found it quite interesting!

We were going to try to take an afternoon nap, but it turned out we wouldn’t have time if we wanted to make it to the bioluminescent bay in time for our tour reservation that evening. So we got into the car and drove to Fajardo, which is about an hour drive from San Juan. Once there, we checked into ferry tickets for our upcoming trip to the island of Culebra, which were not available. Then we drove to the bioluminescent bay meetup point and checked in for our tour. While we waited, I drank some Don Q Limon with coke and ate the Puerto Rican version of fried rice with peas and ham, yum!

Our bioluminescent bay tour was from like 8 to 10pm, so it was very dark by the time we got into the kayaks. I was expecting to see something straight out of Avatar! In my next post, I’ll tell you all about what I found.

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