Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Typical Puerto Rican Sunday ~ Other People's Vacation Pics

Estadio Marcelino Blondet
After yesterday (and the rest of our whirlwind week) we took it easy and had a nice, relaxing - very typical - Puerto Rican Sunday.  Our morning was chill, did some laundry and had a leisurely breakfast... then we loaded up and went to neighboring Guayama for our first ever Puerto Rican Baseball game!  This was June's idea as she is something of a sports fan back in Canada, but we were happy to comply! We're always on the lookout for new ways to engage in local island activities.  And while we've passed this stadium MANY times before, we have never seen it busy.

Sort of winging it, we found the place (which I didn't know was the place) parked in the wide open parking lot and made easy entrance to the game.  No lines, no waiting, just folks outside selling raffle tickets, of which we bought 1, and general admission seating only.

We looked around as we figured out how to get into the stadium, noting that there was a full bar, already open at 10am, and food vendors, as well as team shirts and hats available for sale.

Walking into the seating area, we were a little surprised to see that the primo seating right behind the plate was mostly unoccupied.  We walked brazenly down front to get a seat, and then noticed two things. One, that is was very hot here in the only sunny place in the stadium.  And two, lots of pigeons evidently roost right above these seats.

For those reasons, we abandoned the primo seating and moved to the second set of seating up, and off to our left for more chance of shade.  This had us right near the entryway where a lovely breeze kept us much more cool than I had anticipated. SCORE!  We settled in just before the game began, amazed really that it was actually starting on time!

When June mentioned that she would like to see a ballgame during her visit, a quick search told me that the regular season was over, and the Spring season had yet to begin.  But a deeper search revealed that the Double A season was just beginning, and they play on Sundays all over the island.  We have two neighboring towns with teams, the Guayama Brujos and Patillas Leons and the not too distant, Salinas Peces!  These are three teams we can get behind and maybe become regular game goers!  Who knew???

We settled into our seats to watch for a little while, before sending out for refreshments. It didn't take long for us to look around and realize that we had inadvertently seated ourselves on the away team side.  Whoops!  Thinking we would move quietly during the next inning change, and before the game got too wound up (for our own protection), we were a little quiet when our team did something good...

That's our boys!  The Brujos!
This is where we SHOULD have been sitting...
Well, we got involved in the game, and it was actually a good one.  I say that as if I hadn't really expected it to be, but, well... I didn't!  But who am I kidding?  I only barely know what's going on down there on the field, so no matter how it went, I was entertained.  But Bruce and June knew what was going on, and it was a close game in the end.

We thoroughly enjoyed the game, and afterwards, Bruce and I even purchased team fan shirts to wear at our next game! Oh, and did I fail to mention... WE WON!

Throughout the game, we watched people come and go with delicious looking goodies from the food vendors down below.  We did not buy any of it because we wanted to save our appetites for our next Sunday treat.  A trip down the "Pork Highway" should be on any visitor's hit list!  By the time we made it from the game, to Guavate we were ravenous!

Our first stop was a little place that we've been waiting to try called El Chinchorro Sabor Boricua. We got a drink from this little bar on our last visit to Guavate, and the owner was very nice.  He tried to get us to eat here, saying that his food is always made fresh, and not sitting in the buffet line like the other, larger chinchorros... but we were swayed by the better facilities of the other places that day.  Today, we would give his little place a chance.  Our plan was to eat a little bit at each place!

We ordered Pastelillos and waited in the bar where we could almost hear ourselves think, but not quite.  There was live music right outside and they were LOUD!  The bar was curiously decorated, so we entertained ourselves by examining the stuff hanging everywhere!  The Pastelillos were delicious, as were the Mojitos de coco.  What?  YES!  Coconut Mojitos.  This is the second one I've had, and this is by far the best... although the first one was pretty darned good!  It is a creamy, delicious, slightly minty elixir of the gods, yes it is!

We enjoyed our appetizers and strolled on down the street to see what was next.  That was my only drink, because I was our designated driver for the return home, and I wanted our guest to enjoy her visit to the fullest.  And that includes sampling as many of the delicious frappes our island has to offer.

Re-fortified, we visited the many curio vendors, but didn't really see anything we needed to drag home with us.  I often wonder with as much as this is an Islander's thing, how are they selling enough tourist trinkets to make it worthwhile to set up shop?  Must be doing some business or they wouldn't be here!
The Lechon
We tried the pork and the chicken sausage!  BRAVE!
We meandered down to the end of the main street and decided to sample two more chinchorros, first of which was LechoneraLos Pinos.  We've eaten here before, and the meat is always great.  We peered at the menu overhead, and at the items laid out on the buffet service, and picked out some things we'd never tried before, as well as the Ribs, which are always delicious.

This guy was hacking ribs with a cleaver!  
The three meat items we chose, totaled one pound of meat.  Even though the ribs consisted of a lot of bone, our plans to eat more at another place down the road weren't sounding as good to us anymore.  That's a lot of heavy food!  The sausages turned out to be super delicious, by the way.  Add this to our favorites list for next time!

We sat and listened to the live music that was just beginning to wind up as we sat down with our food.  So much for finding a peaceful place to eat... but it was festive, and we got to watch come couples dance.

Once we finished off the meat and cleaned ourselves up, we wandered back out onto the street.  We decided that there was no way we could eat again, but I wanted to show June the other venue, where there is a nice bridge over a stream and seating further from the music in a beautiful, natural setting.  Maybe a small dessert would suffice, just so we didn't feel like mooches sitting at their tables.

On the way there, I stopped to get a coffee.  For $2.25, I got a very intentionally made latte, with a pretty flower in the foam, that took fully ten minutes to produce from start to finish.  I don't know how this guy makes any money.  He's making these coffees, One. At. A. Time.

So we finished our day off with a couple of flans, and a tres leches, sitting in the relative peace by the side of a small stream.  This is Guavate!  This is what Puerto Ricans do on a Sunday... although I have to admit, the real fun doesn't begin until closer to sundown.  This place gets cranked up and the crowds come out.  I can't handle that, so this will have to suffice!

Mountain rainbow snippet on our way home!
It was an easy day that allowed us to regain our energy for the next segment of June's visit ~ Old San Juan~  Stay tuned!

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