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Published: February 24th 2012
Looking out from the hotel
Pool down below, then Puente Dos Hermanos connecting Condado to Puerta de Tierra and Old San Juan
Our final full day started off late and slow on account of having gone out the night before. We thought it a perfect late morning to spend poolside, so we put on our suits and headed on down. We grabbed a table and ordered a couple frozen drinks - a marg and a piña colada- along with tostones (fried plantains) and little mofongos stuffed with chicken a la criolla and guacamole. Nothing like fried food and alcohol to get the day going! Afterwards we lay out in the sun for a while before heading back up to change and shower.
Next stop was back to Old San Juan for the last time to clean up shop there. We waited some half an hour for the stupid bus, but still, I'd much rather wait than drown in my own sweat. In no time we were there and began our perusing of various shops in search of art. First stop was the Plaza de Colón, where we had previously seen the best deal on these small painted wooden planks. After 20 minutes of deliberation we ended up with a framed painting of some brightly colored houses in Old San Juan - success!
Little fried plantain fritters with creole chicken and a dash of guacamole
We next headed up toward the Atlantic-side in search of the Museo de las Américas and in a nutshell totally failed. We found the barracks building it was supposedly inside of but could not figure out how to get in. Oh well! It was still nice to look out over the ocean and toward the fort. There was also an interesting cemetery right alongside the water, Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis. It's apparently a known site for drug deals and muggings, so we passed on entering. Instead, we decided to have a seat and cool down and ordered a couple of piraguas, Puerto Rico's version of the snow cone, from a little cart. Ice is shaved from a block on the cart, then doused in a syrup of your choice. We had both tamarind and raspberry, and unlike with snow cones, they don't skimp on the syrup.
We then passed through the Quincentennial Plaza, constructed in the early 90's for the 500th Anniversary of the Discovery of the New World. There were some scary lamb statues as well as a giant totem pole representing Puerto Rico's roots. Fun stuff. Heading back into the city we continued our shopping,
Plaza where we purchased our art.
albeit unsuccessfully, and eventually settled down at a patio to relax with some Magna, a Puerto Rican beer. We were tired and hungry so we figured we might as well just get dinner. It was almost 5:30, so not too early, especially considering we hadn't eaten since 11.
Our dinner choice that night was Dragonfly, a Latino-Asian fusion restaurant that was supposedly outstanding. It took a bit to get seated since they weren't quite ready to open, but soon enough we had a nice table on the patio. Next came the psycho waitress, who became weirder and weirder and more drug-addict-like as the meal went on. She went through every section of the menu telling us what she liked, at one point moved onto discussing veterinary bills, asked us 10x if we were sure we could use chopsticks, and told me I needed to jump off this one bridge to feel "free". Gracias!
We started with a couple cocktails - Chris had the Magic Mojotini - basically a mojito in a martini glass, and I had the Dragonfire Martini -vodka with lemon-lime juice and jalapeño peppers. Both were really tasty. Next were Peking duck nachos with wasabi sour
cream. Served with crispy taco shell chips these were outstanding. For the main couse we split Korean BBQ grilled short rib lettuce wraps and pork and plantain dumplings steamed with a citrus dipping sauce. Not amazing by any means, but everything definitely hit the spot and we left full and satisfied. To entertain us while we waited for the bill was a cute little lizard hopping along the palm leaves and rope lighting.
Despite having not done too much all day, we were exhausted and headed back to Condado, but not before what seemed like an eternity waiting for a bus. San Juan's bus system makes the MBTA look moderately functional. Literally there is no schedule, and the bus drivers, not unlike the police officers we see everywhere, congregate to stand and do nothing. **sigh...**
Back at the hotel we did most of our packing and eventually called it a night after relaxing a bit. Our flight back to Boston would leave at 8am. ¡Adios, San Juan, ha sido un placer!
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