va-cay date: October 11, 2109

For those of you who really don’t know me … I’m a collector. A collector of fine t-shirts. Keep in mind, fine is in the eye of the beholder. So I was REALLY Looking forward to our lay-over in JKF Airport (New York) so I could do a little replenishing of shirts I’ve worn-out over the years.

Unfortunately, with NYC being such a “fit” city, they didn’t have this in anything above a large … and being 100% cotton, I wasn’t about o throw my money away. We left the airport on our way to San Juan with only an addition of 3 new shirts.

We settled in for a 3hr flight (which goes by a whole lot faster when you have a few cocktails right away and catch a little nap on the way) … and when I opened my eyes we were already beginning our decent.

So many Spanish speaking people …

… but your know what? They go out of the way to accommodate we the English. I usually find it strange when travelling to a country where the language is different, and its the locals who go out of their way to make us feel at home. It’s us who chose to come to their home, so shouldn’t WE be the ones making them feel comfortable by learning their language … but at the same time, if I were constantly correcting a foreigner trying to speak English, I’d cut the chase too and speak their language if I knew it.

Our hotel is the Sheraton Old San Juan, located right on the bay and just blocks away from the Atlantic Ocean behind us. In all honesty, when I booked the room, I had no idea what I was getting …

The “Governor’s Suite”

It’s a nice “little” room, the Govenors Suite facing both the bay and the city with two balconies off the living area, and a bed with ensuite bath thats HUMUNGOUS!

Being later afternoon when we arrived, we unpacked a little (why unpack everything when we are leaving for the ship on Sunday?) and then decided to head out and grab some local grub.

I had been researching places to eat before coming and found a place not far from the hotel, specializing in Puerto Rican Comfort food “Riaces” — and to put it in a few words … OH MY GOD.

When we got there, we were given the last table, but people kept coming, and coming, and coming .. realizing there was a huge room and outdoor alley courtyard in the rear.

Researching on the web

For those of you on my facebook page, you seen the pictures of the food earlier … in person it is no different!

The Beef-stuffed Empanadas
Tom had the Mofongo stuffed with Octopus

Are you ready for this?

I had the Can-Can … but in the end, I couldn’t-couldn’t

What you cant see is the perspective of this dish … picture a PLATTER 16”x10” … and a “pork chop” over an inch thick with the outer fat fried deeply to make a crisp pork-rind (LITERALLY pig-heaven!)

So, being (1) on vacation, (2) in a strange place, and (3) surrounded with wonderful smells and great company … you have to save room for dessert.

Carmelized Flan

Like I said above, some GREAT company to dine with as well. Next to us was a couple from Chicago (who have obviously been here before) who were giving us the in’s and out’s. THEY were the couple who told us they had larger drinks than the ones we were ordering. I mean, why have a tea-cup of Sangria when you can have a tumbler?? ESPECIALLY, when the Sangria is mixed with a 151 Rum and going down so smooth! The table behind us were a group of ladies who spent the hours (we were there for 2 ourselves) enjoying appetizers, cocktails and friendship. And then to our left was a family who’se little boy in his stroller gave up on all the fun and curled up calling it a night.

Definitely a wonderful night to saunter the streets of the San Juan night-life. All the cafe’s and restaurants were bustling, vendors lined the streets, and music emanated from open windows all over the place. Heck … there was even a couple who should have gotten a room instead of displaying their affections on the second level of the parking garage — but hey … they were in the moment.

Even though the first day here was rather short, it was a GREAT way to start and can’t wait to explore more of OLD SAN JAUN tomorrow

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