Yesterday evening O, C and I took a taxi to the Old San Juan to experience the fiesta de San Sebastián and hoping to catch a glimpse of Ricky Martin. The old parts of the city were steaming from the crowds and the humidity – the rain was hanging in the air…
We started with a mojito from a student bar / mini-supermarket that we drank while walking towards Calle San Sebastián (I was wondering if you are actually allowed to drink in the streets as it’s illegal in the US, isn’t it?)… The others asked me if I knew exactly where the street was, and I replied that no, but let’s just follow the flow – sooner or later we will end up there! (I had kind of a notion of what direction we should go) The police presence was higher than usual and paper carton garbage bins had been placed in strategic places – very well organised.
Of course, we found the street party without any problem, it was impossible to miss – the street was packed with people and the bars had all moved outside! The crowds became too much after a while and we headed to the Plaza San José where we found food stands and artists showing off their pieces in a covered market place. Below on the Plaza del Quinto Centenario (Square of the 500 years – built in 1992 to celebrate the “discovery” of Puerto Rico) a big stage had been set up and different bands were playing traditional music. We settled down on a low stone wall and listened to the music and tried some arepas con queso*. A quick but intense rain shower forced us to seek temporary shelter, but fortunately you dry quickly in the Caribbean!
*) Corn pancakes with cheese, according to Wikipedia part of the traditional cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela, and spread to Panama and Puerto Rico, as well as other Latin American countries. Also common in the Canary Islands where they were introduced by Venezuelan immigrants (don’t you just love Wikipedia, ha ha!).