Part I: The Boring Part!
Most of these pictures are taken by me, but by no means all. Martin is an excellent photographer, and Karen and Michelle took
a lot of pictures as well. They both have a good eye and cameras that kick ours from
here to Arecibo.
Part II: The actual trip...
First, the plan. The plan was to take Karen's vehicle to Burbank airport and take off
for DFW (Dallas) in business class in the morning. This didn't happen.
Apparently the plane had brake problems. This seems relatively important. Since Burbank is a small airport,
they had no brakes around. In theory it would take an hour for some to get to Burbank
from LAX and another hour to replace them.
So therefore, you would think the flight would be delayed two hours. Not so. It was
cancelled. Even if it was two hours delayed we probably still would've made
our connecting flight to San Juan.
Instead, American Airlines switches us to a direct flight to San Juan out of LAX. They pay
for us to have transportation to LAX. So far so good. They only have cattle class, though.
I have back problems and 7 hours to San Juan is going to be hard enough on me, much
less cattle class. Michelle and Karen got business but we didn't. Karen spent
a lot of her miles to get us business class, but she got no refund on this. So after
spending about an hour waiting for our luggage to be returned to us, we were hauled
over to LAX and set about waiting for 11 pm to come.
Yes. Sitting in LAX for an entire day. Yay. Karen, bless her heart, knew what would
make it easier and here's a picture of the result of her generosity... (Yes, there will
eventually be pictures =\ )
The White Russian in the front is mine and the frou-frou thing in the back is Michelle's.
Photography helps the time pass. I still spent a lot of time on my Nintendo DS. I also
wandered around trying to find more stuff to take pictures of. The only other noteworthy
thing I found was this, which I thought was cool and thought postrophe might be interested
in a photo of.
On the bright side, American Airlines also gave us a comp for some food at the airport so
we had a decent dinner in Chiles, in which I officially tossed my diet out a window until
I set foot back in Los Angeles again. Despite things sucking for us, we would still
eventually get to San Juan and AA tried to make it better. No ill will was seriously
harbored towards them. Yet.
Eventually we got on the red eye to San Juan and got to see The Astronaut Farmer for free. The sound
was iffy, but all in all a good movie, I recommend it. The flight over was hard on me, I
started crying several times over, but I hate flying and expected as much, so I won't
We land in PR, we get our luggage, everything is fine, enough people speak English for us to
get everything accomplished and then we head out of the airport. And get our first
real experience of the true PR.
As we left the dry, air-conditioned comfort on the airport to the outside world, my glasses
fogged up. I kid you not. **WHOOSH** Step outside and I'm blinded. It was that humid and
it stayed that way the entire trip. Eventually they cleared, but from now on, I will always
be that person who when their friends complain about the weather I'll be saying "Yeah, but it's
a dry heat." Now I Seriously Know the Difference and what a difference it makes!
We picked up our Jeep from the Thrifty rental doohickey place. It was red and Martin liked it.
He made sure to remind us several times how he'd love to own one. The others of us in the
less comfortable chairs didn't respond. Apparently, it's fun to drive. In any case, we headed out for the two hour drive to Arecibo to meet up with Lillian, who would give
us the keys and take us to the Rented Beach House. (woot!)
Let me give you a quick update on my impression of Puerto Rico at this point. It is really green. I
mean REALLY green. I suppose any place with that much rain and humidity will be that green, but wow.
I thought Canada was really green, which it is, but this is a much more bright vibrant green. You will
see a pale imitation of it in our photos and it will still be green enough to impress you. This
is a green that I believe probably actually burned itself on the back of my retinas. We came to
the conclusion that in PR you can plant hen's teeth and they will not only grow, they will flourish
and you will end with an annoyed hen coming out of the ground. You can plant a ROCK there and it
will probably grow.
Before we met up with Lillian, though, we wanted to get some provisions. We stopped at an eency tiny place
that I totally failed to photograph. Karen got some real provisions and I made sure to get the
traditional Caribbean staples. Cheese, bread and rum. Between Karen and myself we made sure
to always have rum in the house for the entire trip.
While at the store, I took photos of the first two real Puerto Ricans I was to encounter.
There will be a lot more photos like this. The silly part is there's no way I could've taken a picture
of every bit of fauna I met, they were EVERYWHERE. Every place we went to had a cow across the street or
a horse next door, or a cat in the yard, or dogs hanging out at the restaurant or chickens crossing
the street or a lizard on the wall. I hated the Omnipresent Bugs but the Omnipresent Critters made it
worth it ^_^
So. We head to the house and find out the place we were supposed to check into last night still isn't
completely ready. Karen paid for use of both floors, top and bottom, and the place we were
supposed to sleep was upstairs having the roof worked on. We were unpleased. They promised to have
it ready for the next night, though. None of us were happy with the idea of the four of us in
one bathroom, but I made the most of it in a way that Jason would be pleased with. Within half an
hour of arriving, I was standing in the ocean with rum in my hand. I wasted no time in that. I'd
been awake since my three hours of sleep Wednesday night non-stop up until then (this is Saturday afternoon we're
talking about now) and getting slightly
sozzled in the Atlantic was a very nice way of taking the edge off.
At this point you are glad to finally see some ocean in this little travelogue, but by the time
it's over you will wonder if I took pictures of anything else and want them all to go away. Mwahahahaha.
There were stairs that led right down to it and I adored having the ocean outside
my door in ways I will only cheapen by trying to put into words. So here's a flower growing
at the bottom of the aforementioned steps.
Here's the view from the top of the steps that lead up to the upper apartment where Martin and
To put my feelings into words on this view... "Gah..."
Remember this link from up above? Notice where it says "linens provided"?
Apparently that only meant the sheets. It had nothing to do with towels. So Martin and I were sent out
to find the Closest Local Mall and purchase towels (Thanks, Karen!!). We found a K-Mart and each of
us got a hand towel and a bath towel, as well as a few more provisions such as drinking water that
didn't taste weird and suchlike. On the way back, I snapped this shot.
You're beginning to understand how it is just between the two of us we got 4.75 gig of photos now, aren't you?
Everything was photogenic.
After we got back, Martin got these two lovely sunset shots back at the house. The first one is
through the front window over the house's logbook and the other is a traditional sunset shot.
So we got everything all sorted out, showered, got dressed, checked the place out, etc. and decided for
the first night to try the restaurant we saw up the block, Salitre. We
almost didn't stay there, it was loud as heck and the wait for the patio was long. The owner, Luis,
who repeatedly proved himself an utter sweetheart, gave us all a special room away from the noise.
Here's a shot of the restaurant, the best I got, unfortunately.
There's an awesome gallery of much better shots of the place over
here. If you want to you can also plug in the actual address of http://www.salitre.com into
babelfish, which I'm linking here. I want
y'all to know the restaurant as well as possible, that's why all the linking. If anyone ever
offers to take me to my favorite restaurant my first response to them will be to ask if
they can afford the airfare. Everything from that night forward will pale in comparison to it.
Best Restaurant Ever.
Salitre has a fish tank. See??
Here's a shot of Michelle, Martin and Karen looking like they've just had an excruciatingly
long day, which they have.
Michelle and I got frou-frou drinks.
Apparently, Salitre has a set of animals that always hang out there. There's an orange cat and
several dogs. This was my favorite dog, a sweet little girly that set her head on my lap
several times. Here she is out on the area behind the back patio.
I tried to get a shot of how close the water was from the back patio. There are much better shots
at the gallery I linked to earlier, but this is the best I got. I think Martin
got better shots later, though.
One last pointless shot, of the water bottles they had at Salitre, because I want to remember EVERYTHING.
This was the first night I made a point of eating the most traditional local food I thought
I might like. I had mofongo filled with conch that night and something like fried plantains or
such for my side. (Scroll down about two-thirds of the way to where it says "staples")
Then we went back to the beach house and started our tradition of Martin, Karen and I having a drink
on the back patio overlooking the ocean while Michelle sat inside watching the Anime Network. It's
quite pleasant to drink overlooking the ocean under the stars.
Comments on my livejournal, or you can continue on to see how our Sunday went...