We began our weekend away with some delicious Mexican Food at Chido's in Isla Verde. It's a relaxed place with sort of a "Spring Break" attitude. Since leaving Texas so many years ago, we are constantly on the lookout for some good Tex-Mex. While the food here is more of a Mexican-with-a-Puerto-Rican-flare... I can say that the frijoles refritos are the best we've had in Puerto Rico and the prices are good... so we'll go back!
|Lovely art in the lobby|
We arrived at about 2:30 pm with a 3:00 check-in time, but I was at the desk waiting with my backpack and my credit card... AND my Puerto Rican ID! I still love whipping that baby out!
|Looking up through the stairwell, there's a nice skylight to brighten the interior.|
|The artwork here is very vivid!|
|No that isn't a stain on the bed. The ruff is just pushed the wrong way!|
|Bruce moved his clothes into the antique armoire immediately!|
|Our checkered stairwell|
|Our unobtrusive doorway|
|You wouldn't even know that this was an hotel!|
|We were happy to see more people wandering around here than there were during our previous visit.|
|I LOVE these old buildings!|
|Vendors set up and tourists strolling the Paseo de la Princessa|
|Just the right amount of crowd!|
|Night falls, and the lights transform the city!|
We strolled along in the moist, cool Caribbean air, drinking in the beauty of the lights all around us. The streets are tastefully decorated for the Christmas Holidays, with an orderly line forming for photos beneath this sparkling tree. Being here just makes my heart feel light and there is no way to squelch the feeling of happiness that this is our home... but then, I'm not trying to squelch it at all!
The scents of delicious, Puerto Rican favorites tantalise our senses as we stroll past the vendor's trucks. If we didn't have dinner reservations, we would surely have sampled a little from each vendor! But we are saving our appetites for later!
There was a truly festive atmosphere in the streets closer to the cruise ship dock. Everywhere we looked, there was joy!
|Lighted balloons! I couldn't think of a reason to have one... but I wanted it!|
|Soon, we hope to be setting sail on one of these!|
|YES we ARE pretty much always smiling here in Puerto Rico!|
Silent sailboats ghosted along slowly in the light breeze just beyond the reach reach of the lights on shore. A wisp of melancholy assailed us for a moment as we wished we were taking that night sail on our boat. If only we could keep our faithful Dos Libras... We even discussed briefly, getting a smaller, more simplified sailboat to keep in San Juan for nights just such as this. While that may be in our future, right now we just can't commit to taking on another responsibility... and boats are a HUGE responsibility, especially here in Hurricane Alley! Maybe we'll just charter or take evening sails to support the local economy! It sure looked like fun as we watched the boats loom close, then turn at the absolute last second before hitting the wall!
|Last minute tack! We sure wanted to be out there on that boat!|
Tonight's party was a surprise for April's Birthday! She is leaving Puerto Rico for a while, and it might be some time until we see her again, so we pretended to say our See-You-Soon's yesterday as we headed home from a lovely happy hour on the dock. I couldn't wait to see her face when she realized that we were all here for one more night of laughs!
|I think they were having a lesson! I want a frilly skirt!!!|
Liz and Emily, the daughters who had arranged tonight's festivities, ordered for the table and the Tapas began to arrive by the plateful. So. Many. Plates!
As we passed the delicious treats around, the lights went down and an old dude with a guitar took the stage. His face was passive and maybe even a little grumpy... but what he lacked in facial expression, he made up for with his magical fingers on that simple guitar! He began to strum and all attention turned his way. Perhaps his visage was a ploy to lull us into low expectations, but very soon we were simply blown away by the showmanship of the famous Flamenco Guitarist, Juan Carlos Romero!
|The energy! The frills!|
|The lighting made the skirts seem to GLOW!|
One after another, he played songs from many latin countries, while in Spanish, English and even a little French, he regaled us with stories of the songs and of his life. He's had a long and adventurous life in which he has performed for some very famous people! And just imagine... here he is playing for US! What a stunning stroke of good fortune, indeed!
|Impossible to choose...|
|Not the same demeanour as it was at the beginning!|
|The lovely birthday girl blowing out the candle as the staff sang to her!|
|Never miss an opportunity to be cheesie!|
|The wild streets of Old San Juan at night!|
Finally we said our farewells, but this was not the final goodbye. Everyone made their way back to their respective hotels, with plans to meet up again tomorrow for a tour of some of the highlights of Old San Juan! Will the fun never stop??? I hope not!