I originally started this site as a travel blog but it has since taken on a life of its own and I write about whatever comes to mind. Politics, culture, my experiences around the world and in my own country. Feel free to follow me and leave comments!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Island in the Sun

Back in the Christmas of 2009 I went to Puerto Rico with my two bfffs(best f*ckin friends forever). Aaron is a guy I met in 9th grade and we've been cool ever since. Now me and Gerardo aka "Jerry" have been bros since 6th grade. That's a super long time. That's almost half my life! Anyway, Jerry invited us to join his family on their Puerto Rico trip to visit some relatives. Before the trip I knew next to nothing about Puerto Rico except that people there just absolutely love cocaine. And when we got there I was expecting to see a bunch of dirt roads and banana plantations. When we landed in San Juan this is what we saw.

Not a dirt road.

We stayed with Jerry's aunt who lives in a style of concrete house typically found in the Caribbean because of the frequent hurricanes. One thing that I noticed was all the gated communities on the island. The crime rate is very high but most of it is petty stuff like car break-ins or gang on gang violence. So just keep your nose clean and your powder dry and you should be okay. Another thing is that Puerto Ricans seem to have an aversion to air conditioning. It was December when we went but the temperature was still in the 80's and low 90's and all we had was a busted ass window unit that would shut down the neighborhood power grid if you set it on high. No joke there. It happened like, five times. The power grid in general just sucked. There were blackouts everyday. And I still have no idea why that is. I figured that with Puerto Rico being a territory of the US it would have pretty decent infrastructure but I guess not. They should hurry up and apply for statehood so they can pay taxes and get some federal dollars. How am I supposed to thrash dudes on Xbox Live if the power goes out every two hours? For real?

Now let's talk about the beaches. You can't talk about the Caribbean without talking about the beaches. We went to three beaches. Two of which are local secrets that tourists don't know about yet. The first was like a little bay surrounded by volcanic rock or something and the second we had to hike down a trail in the jungle to get to. And the touristy beach was great because we went before school got out so there weren't a bunch of tweens walking around trying to look hot. The water was bluer than back home and I could see about 10 feet or so in.

Notice the shark nets.

And how about all the sites to see? Puerto Rico has a rich history. Christopher Columbus himself landed on the island and soon preceeded to rape and murder the native inhabitants(Sarcasm. Kind of). The name Puerto Rico means "rich port" and it became a center of trade during the Colonial Period. Few centuries down the road, Spain pissed of the US and lost the Spanish-American War in 1898 and Puerto Rico became a territory of the US, along with the Philippines. Along the coast you find some old Spanish forts turned into museums that are pretty awesome. And unless my memory is starting to go from all the Pomtinis I've been knocking back, I believe one of the guides said that in five hundred years none of the forts had ever fallen to enemy forces.

This fort is the best fort ever.

Aside from the big fancy hotels in the tourist district of San Juan, pastel colored houses in the suburbs and the plantain plantations there is the only tropical forest preserve of the US in the interier of the island up in the mountains. Just be careful though. There's spiders the size of your head. We went to the summit of one of, if not the tallest mountain of the island where their was a three hundred year old observation tower. From the top we could see several of the islands cities.

Proper tower protocol is to see spit over the side and see who's hits the ground first.

How about some of that awesome Puerto Rican culture? Let's start with the food. It was fantastic overall. I wasn't too fond of some of the plantain dishes. For those of you who don't know a plantain is like a banana if the banana tasted like a sweaty foot and it's used extensively in Central and South American cooking. One of the most popular local dishes is called Mofongo which is made from crushed up plantains and mixed with butter and spices to have the taste and consistency of mashed potatos.

It also looks like hammered shit. I had it twice. Once with fried pork and then with diced conch. Freakin' delicious. Moving on from food. Puerto Rico has some of the best cigars I've ever had. Freshly made and treated with tender loving care. Mmmmmmm. And fairly cheap as well!

If you're planning on going there are some things you should be aware of.

1. Don't assume people know English. Just because it is a territory of the US English is not widely spoken. They teach it in schools but it's kind of like how they teach Spanish in American schools. Most people don't pay attention. Learn Spanish to get around.

2. Be aware of risks. Puerto Rico has a high crime rate. Don't look like a chump and you should be fine.

3. DON'T GO TO THE MOVIES. Puerto Ricans are worse than black people in the movies. I saw "Avatar" for the first time there and barely sat through it. I was about to get into a fight. They're loud as shit, always talking and walking around. If you want to see a movie just get it on bootleg around the corner.

4. Don't just hang around the toursist spots. Seriously. It's lame.

5. Don't neglect the tourist spots either! There's some interesting stuff to be seen!

6. Watch out for the Chupacabra!

Apparently they're attracted to rock hard abs and ladies who look suspiciously man-like.

More pics:

Check it out if you get the opportunity!

Travel in China,

No comments:

Post a Comment