Adios puertorriqueño Day 4

Published: June 24th 2017
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You spend days, weeks, months and sometimes years planning a vacation then like that it's over. Today is that day for me and Alonzo, our last day to enjoy in Puerto Rico, so we're heading to Viejo San Juan or Old San Juan which it is more commonly known as. Puerto Rico has amazing food, beaches, people, so much culture to soak up but when I visit a place I like to learn about the history. So on this day we will learn about the history of Old San Juan which is the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico.

Today is just like every other day we've been in Puerto Rico I head down to the street to Espana to get us some breakfast and you know Alonzo is still sleep, so I get breakfast and come back, watch a little tv while I eat, today I had pancakes and got Alonzo some French toast. It's about 10, I go ask Alonzo if he is going to get up, he tells me I was waiting on you to wake up, this kid but ok he finally gets up and eats his breakfast then he gets dressed so we can head out. Isla Verde to Old San Juan is only about 5 miles away so getting there is no problem but the issue is trying to park, if you ever go to Puerto Rico their are really no parking rules, if you can find a spot just park your car there. I've seen people just stop their cars in the middle of the street to hold a conversation with someone and people just go around like it's no big deal. If they happened in the United States it would cause a major road rage incident but again island life, people are a lot more laid back about simple things like obeying traffic laws, so I've adapted to driving on the island. Another thing I've learned is people just pull out in front of you while your driving, hoping that you stop and let them out, so far I haven't seen any accidents and I pulled off this feat a few times myself, have to adapt to your surroundings, don't be the arrogant American complaining that it's not like that at home, okay enough about that and back to the story. We get down to Old San Juan traffic isn't too bad, so we drive down near the museum which is near the end of Old San Juan cause our first stop is Castillo San Felipe del Morro and luckily someone leaves so we find a spot in no time.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro is named after King Phillip II of Spain, construction began in 1539 with it's main objective to defend the port of San Juan by controlling who came through the harbor, it was used until 1961 when the United States Army retired it and declared it a museum. It's a beautiful day, the sun it out and nice breeze coming off the water, plenty of people are out and about, kids flying kites. San Felipe is an enormous structure, even from a distance you can see that, so we pay the entrance fee and decide to have a look on the inside. The fort has many levels to explore, officer quarters, weapon rooms, jails, towers, everything you need to defend a port from enemies which at the time it was built were the British and Dutch. The fort provides fantastic views of the water, their are boats out on the water, people on jet skis and everyone seems to be having a good time. We decide to leave the fort and next stop is La Puerta de San Juan but before we get there we stop to get some snowballs or pirogue as their called in Puerto Rico, I get mango and Alonzo gets blueberry, on a hot June day they hit the spot. La Puerta de San Juan or San Juan Gate is not far from the fort maybe a 5 minute walk, initially there was six gates built to enter San Juan but this is the last one remaining making it a historic landmark. This gate was San Juan's formal entrance to the city, people on official business from other countries, traders and sellers from the sea would enter through this gate and it is fortified to protect the city from attacks. The gate was named in honor of Saint John the Baptist, once you walk through you can see how thick the wall is used to enter, their is a park outside the gate along the water and goes around the wall. Me and Alonzo walk around for a while soaking in the history before we walk back through the gate entering the city again and find some shade with a few park benches, that's where we take a break.

Next stop for us is Castillo de San Cristobal or Fort San Cristobal, it was built in 1765 to protect San Juan against land attacks it also was retired in 1961 by the US Army and turned into a historic site. I visited this fort on my first visit to Puerto Rico, it's not as big as San Felipe but still definitely worth a visit if your in Old San Juan. They have a lot of historical artifacts at the fort, things like Spanish armor, uniforms and weapons not to mention great views of Old San Juan. Now it's time to take a stroll thru Old San Juan, I grew up in New Orleans so Old San Juan reminds me of the French Quarter with the architecture and the cobbled streets. We walk around for a while but it's time to eat, so many places to choose from but we see a place that has a sign that says best mufungo in Puerto Rico, that's pretty bold claim like saying you have the best pizza in New York or best cheesesteak in Philly, you get my point but we stop here and of course I'm going to order the mufungo, they said it's the best in Puerto Rico. Alonzo orders a chicken skewer with plantains, my mufungo comes with chicken and I get a rum punch too. I'll admit it wasn't the best mufungo I've ever had but it was really good, come to think about I don't think I've ever had any bad mufungo I hope that streak keeps going. So once we're done we head out and decide to roam the streets of Old San Juan some more, we've been out here just about all day so I asked Alonzo if he's ready to go he said yes so we make our way back to the car and off to the condo in Isla Verde.

The sun is still out so I decide to head to the beach one more time since we leave in the morning, I changed into my swim trunks slide on my flip flops and walk across the overpass to the Isla Verde beach, Alonzo decides to take a nap. It's a small crowd out enjoying the beach so I find me a spot and get into the water, the waves are pretty strong today with the wind but I soak it all in and enjoy the beautiful sunset. I finally decide to get out and dry off then I say goodbye to the beach, heading back to the condo I see a crab climbing up the steps to the overpass guess he has somewhere he needs to be. I get back to the room, shower and change clothes, decide to get my suitcase packed and take out the trash. I don't want to be a bad guest so I make sure things are the way we found them when we got to the condo, I head down to Espana for one last meal, it's late so all they are serving are cubanos and medianoche, I had a cubano a few days ago so I'll get the medianoche which is a sandwich consisting on roast beef, ham, swiss cheese and sweet pickles, it's similar to a cubano just on a different type of bread. So I finished my meal, watch some of the NBA draft, found out Jimmy Butler got traded, yes I'm a Bulls fan and the Bulls front office is trying to ruin my vacation. So once I decide that my new trip shouldn't be to Chicago to find Gar Foreman and John Paxson, which are the Bulls Front Office who made this horrible trade. I watch tv for a little bit longer then I decide it's time to go to bed cause we have a 6am flight back to Houston.

Alarm goes off at 4am, I hear DNA by Kendrick Lamar that means it's time to get up, and get myself ready to go, I already filled up the gas tank to the car the night before. I get dressed then I wake Alonzo up, I get an alert on my phone that our flight is delayed but only until 6:30 so no big deal. I head back to the rental car dealership to drop the car off, it's people already there waiting on cars, I feel bad for them cause they just don't know what their about to go through. I turn in the car and the clerk gives me my paperwork, amazingly their is a shuttle waiting on us to take us back to the airport. it's early so we check in quickly and go thru TSA, get some breakfast and wait on our flight. We board the flight and time to head back to Houston, get my usual window seat and I sleep most of the flight, I did some reading but most of the flight I was in dreamland. We make it safely to Houston about 9:45, pick up our luggage and off to the car then to drop Alonzo off. I would have to say this trip was a big success got to spend some time with my son before he heads off to college and his journey into becoming an adult. On the way back I asked where he would like to go next summer and he said London, so I guess next summer we'll be eating fish and chips across the pond. I just got my new passport back that I had renewed a few days before I left for this trip which is a good thing cause I have a big milestone coming up in a few months and if things go to plan I'll be blogging about that trip but I hope you enjoyed me and Alonzo's journey to Puerto Rico, until next time take care.

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