San Juan from the Air
Our first view of Puerto Rico.
The morning of departure, Coop our fearless leader scheduled our team to meet at the Walmart off the University Exit (where I79 and I68 meet) parking lot at 7:00am. Many of us were quite frantic and worn out from preparations and last minute details. Everyone did their best to pack light and the team loaded into Coop's car driven by his brother Mike and Ben's truck. Mike would have brought the Denali if he knew Coop was traveling with ladies and not just "a bunch of dudes".
Even after we reached the airport, we still could not quite believe we were there. We ate at the Irish Restaurant O'Briens but Amanda broke out her own breakfast burrito which she made for Jake. Jake apparently couldn't eat it because she was driving too crazy down the Kingwood Pike to Walmart. We were craving airport bloody marys but evidently the airport doesn't sell alcohol on Easter Sunday before 11am.
The flight to Philly was on a small, old plane. The landing gear 'KLUNK' made Josh, who was a little nervous, jump. We quickly switched planes and were on our way to San Juan!
When we arrived, we
were greeted by a lovely group of 12 Rotarians! We were famous--everyone already knew who we were because of the bio photos sent earlier. Fortunate for us everyones' luggage arrived safely including the two large boxes of gifts we brought along. The District Governor, Juan, and his beautiful wife Carmencita, were so welcoming! After various pictures and people grabbing for our luggage and offering to help, we were ushered into various cars and hit the road to PONCE. We drove from San Juan through Caguas and on to Ponce, our first Puerto Rican city- the pearl of the south.
The mountains were amazing--the highest peak in Puerto Rico is Cerro de Punto at 4,350 ft. There was a lot of traffic coming from the opposite direction as everyone was traveling home from the beach. The drive was about 1 1/2 hours to PDG Candido Rivera's home.
Following a briefing of our Ponce itinerary by Luis Sepulveda (club President of El Senorial), we had a lovely dinner including some tasty sweetened plantains and flan. Coop first heard his beloved coqui on Candido's patio. The coqui is a native tree frog who chirps its name "koh-kee". By the end of the night Coop investigating the area trying to find the elusive little tan frog with big eyes.
The group parted ways and headed to thhost families for a much needed night's rest.
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