Things are finally slowing down here so I’ll have more time to blog. I threw up some Puerto Rico photos the other day but didn’t have time to write anything. San Juan is a beautiful city, with narrow cobbled streets, old forts, and Spanish architecture. One thing we did that was off the beaten path was follow directions in a guidebook to find a place that sells limbers. Limbers are a frozen juice, like a popsicle. They come in plastic cups and are sold from a window inside a hallway in a residential building. You wouldn’t have a clue it’s there unless you knew to look for it. In the photo, Mr. MarthaAndMe is standing outside the building. You have to go in a doorway and then go up to a barred window to order. They have a list of flavors, but seemed to be out of most of them. We ended up with passion fruit, grape, pina colada and one other I can’t remember. You aren’t given a spoon or straw and have this cup full of frozen juice. We sat across the street with a view of the harbor and tried to eat them. Mr. MarthaAndMe suggested squeezing the cup to get the juice to pop up a bit. Great idea – until we realized it made the cups crack and soon we had juice dripping everywhere. It was a complete disaster. It tasted great though!
We drove through El Yunque, the rainforest and it was beautiful. The other very special thing we did was kayak in the bioluminescent bay at night. We went to Fajardo (there are two others in PR as well). I don’t have any photos yet – we took some with a waterproof disposable camera that I haven’t had developed yet. We arrived at 8 when it was getting dark. We didn’t shove off until about 8:30 or so. You have to walk through the water to get to about knee high water then they have you climb into sea kayaks (2-person). You kayak through a mangrove forest for about half an hour (quite an adventure in the dark!) and come out into a bay. As you turn into the bay, you notice that when you dip your oars in the water, the water seems to glow an eerie blue. We paddled out to the middle of the bay and the guide tied all of our kayaks together and tried to talk about the phenomenon but one of the other guides was intent on squirting Teen Martha with a water gun and getting the other teens involved so we ended up not hearing much. You could put your hand in the water and swirl it and the water was electric blue when you moved it. They then put a tarp over our kayak and encouraged us to splash water on our legs. The droplets glowed like blue diamonds. It was absolutely amazing. It was really the highlight of our trip.
In the photos I posted earlier, I showed paella we enjoyed as well as a photo of Teen Martha with a pina colada. These were both taken at Barrachina, the place that claims to have invented the pina colada. The night we were there, they had flamenco dancers performing.
As for the shopping, it wasn’t great. Most of San Juan had tacky souvenir shops. There was one fantastic place that sold hats, but Mr. MarthaAndMe did not buy one. We found some galleries and some artisan shops, but I really didn’t buy much. There were two nice shops by El Yunque where I bought some things. When I got home, I realized nothing I bought cost over $12 which is incredible.
In photo #1 you’ll see a shell bracelet, a bar of soap, a leather case with leather dominoes, and a three dimensional sculpture of a San Juan scene. Photo #2 shows a little painting that has some shells glued on it and a watercolor print of a San Juan scene. You’ll also see a bowl with a basket edging, a bookmark and a Christmas tree ornament. The kids and Mr. MarthaAndMe got t-shirts. Teen Martha bought a tshirt dress and a beautiful white cotton embroidered top that was made in Ecuador. Dude Martha also bought a hat. One strange note is that all of the women’s clothes were tiny. Teen Martha could not find much that fit. Even an XL looked like a small to us. I did not understand it at all.
Photo #3 is a piece of aluminum that has been etched and painted and mounted on wood. We saw a lot of these, but almost all had the 3 kings in them and I’m not big on religious icons. We finally found this one.