The first excursion during Thanksgiving

26 11 2007

So, I finally have some time to sit down and write about our Thanksgiving weekend so far…

On Thursday we decided to go south – to the Caribbean coast of the island. We drove through green mountains and beautiful landscapes in the centre of the island, and there wasn’t too much traffic for once. You should know that the island has at least as many cars as inhabitants and its roads are congested most of the time.

We arrived to the south coast, which is quite flat compared to the Atlantic coast in the north and the climate is much drier, hot still but not as heavy as San Juan where the level of humidity is high. We drove past cute, pastel coloured houses to the Marina de Salinas which is situated in a mangrove forest, it is a so-called hurricane hole where yachts and sail boats hide when hurricanes are approaching. Apparently it is one of the most important harbours for cruising sailors in the northern Caribbean. It was a quiet day due to Thanksgiving and we only met the harbour guard who was very friendly (and probably quite bored!).

We continued our drive along the south coast westwards. We stopped to take photos of some palm trees (!!) and O checked for coconuts – the beach wasn’t very clean though and the proximity of a group of wild dogs made our stay short. In almost every small town we drove through there were police men standing on the main plazas (helpful when we got lost) but the places were completely dead, I guess everybody was at home eating turkey with their families…

The colonial town of Ponce, which used to be Puerto Rico’s 2nd biggest town and has as motto “Ponce is Ponce, and the rest is parking” – enough said😉 (they also call it La Perla del sur – the Pearl of the South). It has a beautiful centre filled with colonial buildings and a funny red/black striped building for the fire brigade! The christmas decorations were up everywhere and gave the town an extra atmosphere which was very cute. However, everything was closed (including Burger King), except for one souvenir shop (O wanted to buy instruments such as marracas and tambourines for christmas! I didn’t really support him as I didn’t understand why we should form some kind of noise-making family band for the holidays!?) and a bakery where all the Lonely Planet-reading tourists ended up (it’s not even mentioned in the guide book, ha ha), among them – the three Swedes and a Spaniard!

After a simple lunch, we wanted to find la playa de Ponce – according to the LP not very nice but still a beach… In our search for El Paseo tablado la Guancha (the Ponce boardwalk and marina) we ended up in the Ponce Hilton and despite LP’s statement that there is no beach, there was one – almost completely hidden as you have to walk through the hotel lobby, restaurant and pool area to get there (there are no private beaches in Puerto Rico so I guess that they can’t ban you from accessing it and if you ask (like we did) where the beach is, they have to point it out!!)… We had a nice rest on the beach under the palm trees (watched out for falling coconuts!) and even got to see four riders on horse back – which you wouldn’t see in Sweden where you are not even allowed to bring your dog to the beach during summer…

The Ponce boardwalk and marina were eventually found and visited, after getting a bit lost in a residential area, which was quite interesting to see – all the houses were already decorated for christmas – American style with brightly coloured lights and big ornaments up on the roofs! In the Ponce marina we saw lots of big fish, apparently the fishing club is not very successful at actually catching the fish!

On our way back to San Juan we stopped by the small, former smuggling port of Arroyo to look at the wooden old houses, unfortunately the sun set really fast and we didn’t see much…

The soundtrack of the day was Puertorican christmas songs, Caribbean style – the words navidad, noche buena (Christmas eve) and Puerto Rico were repeated in every song that were played on the radio…

Check out some of the photos on flickr… link below on the right-hand side.


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8 responses

26 11 2007
Desiree

Jättekul att få se kort. Otroligt fina kort och vilken utsikt ni har från lägenheten! PR ser väldigt vackert ut. Låter som ni fick en trevlig thanksgivning med ert besök. Hoppas du har landat lite mer i din nya tillvaro. Det blir ju otroligt mycket nytt som man ska vänja sig vid på en gång. Mycket härlig lägenhet som sagt.

26 11 2007
Anne

Vilka fantastiska bilder! Du är en bra fotogtaf. Inte bara de från Puerto Rico utan alla samlade foton du tagit. Du vet säkert man kan göra snygga fotoböcker online(t.ex. snapfish) och få hem med läderpärmar. Man klickar bara de bilder man vill ha, enkelt och smidigt. Du har ju väldigt vackra bilder på massor av intressanta saker!
Grytlapparna din svärmor (det var väl svärmor? blev osäker om jag kommer ihåg fel) gjort var väldigt gulliga och speciella. Utsikten från er lägenhet är ju oslagbar. Slår mig hela tiden också vilka klara och fina färger havet skiftar i.

26 11 2007
petchie

Desiree, visst är det en fin utsikt – jag kan inte fatta att jag bor så nära havet!
Thanksgiving var väldigt trevlig, vi hann med tre utfärder – ska fortsätta skriva om de andra två snart.
Tycker att jag har hunnit landa lite iaf redan, men jag har ju bara varit här i en vecka så det är mycket kvar att lära sig och upptäcka!

Anne, vad kul att du gillade mina foton och tack för komplimangen. Nej, jag har inte kollat upp det där med fotoböcker som kan beställas online, det tål att tänkas på! Jag tycker att du är en jättebra fotograf du också🙂
Det är min mormor som har virkat grytlapparna, hon gjorde först ett par som var blå & gula som jag fick första julen jag bodde i Bryssel. Det roliga var att min bästa kompis Ås mormor hade gjort exakt samma till henne, samma jul, samma färger (Å är min kompis som bor i Köpenhamn) – vi kunde inte förstå hur mormödrarna hade fått SAMMA idé samtidigt!

27 11 2007
Annika

Ja, jag tycker också att bilderna är helt underbara! Er lgh ser så fin ut!! verkligen! Vilken lycka att få bo sådär nära havet!
Låter som er Thanksgiving var bra. Vet du hur den firas där? Är det med kalkon och alltihopa? Eller äter man annorlunda?

27 11 2007
petchie

Annika, tack för de fina orden.
Thanksgiving firas med kalkon i vanlig ordning men till den äts “rice & beans”, vilket puertoricanerna äter ALLTID! Ibland är det typ bruna bönor och ris, och ibland äter de andra sorters bönor men alltid med ris😉 (även till jul och till vardags).

27 11 2007
saltistjejen

Vad roligt med utflykt!🙂
Så himla spännande när allt fortfarande är “nytt” så att man känner att man har tusen saker att upptäcka!
Låter som haft en bra Thanksgiving helg.

27 11 2007
petchie

Saltistjejen, precis – det är jättekul att upptäcka alla nya ställen! Jag kan tänka mig att om nga månader tar jag inte fortfarande foton på palmer.. eller vem vet!?

7 01 2008
South coast excursion: Ponce « Petchie’s adventures

[…] coast of Puerto Rico. O and I already visited the south together with our first visitors during Thanksgiving. Once again we headed straight south from San Juan across the mountains via Caguas, and without […]

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