Back in Brussels yesterday morning after quite a painless journey – i.e we were NOT nine hours delayed this time (only one hour from JFK). I’m not feeling the jetlag too bad either, but maybe it will hit me tomorrow? The plans are already in full swing for the next trips – Switzerland next week with my parents, and Sweden one week in August…
I thought that I would put down my last impressions from Puerto Rico in bullet points as some people (o brother where art thou?) have complained of too lengthy posts:
- Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan) was as beautiful as O had told me. We walked around in the early evening, along the small streets with pastel coloured buildings and shady squares – very Caribbean looking. Unfortunately not enough time to explore the old city, but I will have plenty of time for that later on.
- We were surprised to see that almost all the guests at the Marriott Resort were Puertoricans (we expected more Americans), not sure if local or from the US (New York) but they all looked like extras from a gangsta rap / r ‘n’ b video – baggy pants, baseball caps, lots of bling bling (diamond (?) crucifixes, big neck chains etc) and the girls were not wearing a lot at all! Imagine J Lo and 5o Cent…. Hm… Outside of the hotel people looked normal, so maybe it’s just a resort thing? Maybe I’m a snob but I thought that they looked ridiculous!
- On Thursday our real estate agent (I think maybe she’s more like a relocation agent because she acted like a tourist guide, supermarket adviser etc and she will keep in touch with us during our stay in Puerto Rico!) took us on a little tour of the area and showed us Los Piñones – a wild beach area just east of Isla Verde. The most surprising thing was that there were bike paths leading to this area along the beach! Bike paths in a Caribbean island called the 52nd state of the US – isn’t that incredible?? Anyway, the area has great beaches and the area is populated with the descendants of the freed slaves who were given the right to live there by the Spanish colonialists in the 1800’s. Unfortunately they were not given the ownership of the land and the government has been trying to kick them out in order to develop the land for tourism – which would be such a shame! First of all of course for the poor people who live there, and also to destroy more “wild” land to build the ugly high-rise condos of Condado and Isla Verde… It would be better to give them the legal rights to the land so that they have a real incentive to invest and improve their houses. They make a living out of running cafés and bars hosted in ramshackle beach sheds – where they cook over open fires and serve deep fried local food. For me it seemed more “Caribbean” than the condos and Marriott resorts, and something I would like to explore further on my bike! And I’m sure that our visitors will like this part of San Juan.
- Plaintains really just taste like green bananas, I have to admit that I prefer eating potatoes with my meal 😉 but who knows I might end up loving them?
- The mojitos were quite a disappointment, they are better in Brussels, but the piña coladas were great, both with and without alcohol!
- The song Que me des tu cariño by Juan Luis Guerra (singer from the Dominican Republic) that they played on the radio every day (O bought the album).
- It was strange to arrive back to JFK on Saturday and hear people speak American English again without the Puertorican accent!
- I have to post a footnote on my impressions of JFK – this time we arrived to a newer, cleaner part of the airport, which was not too bad and like I said, only one hour delayed going back east…
I like Puerto Rico, so far it has been great and I can’t wait until we move there… O is hoping to start working in a month’s time while I don’t think that I will move until September. I have already decided that I’m going back home to Sweden for one week in mid-August.