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Adi and James’s Travel Diary

Friday, 20 Apr 2007

Location: Puerto Rico

MapWe just got back from Puerto Rico this week and we really enjoyed the laidback and relaxed island culture of the place. All the houses are painted bright colors and of course they have all these gorgeous big bright hibiscus and other tropical flowers everywhere.

I thoroughly recommend living in PR if you want the party lifestyle. You can buy alcohol in the gas station and it is as cheap as chips. These people LOVE to party. In fact, believe it or not, Sunday is the big party day of the week. Kind of a Ďlast hurrahí attitude we were told. We walked through the rainforest feeling all healthy with our big bottles of water and trail mix and the Puerto Ricans are walking through with a six-pack of beer and its about 9:30am. Why not? The rainforest there is like the New Zealand bush with a few boa constrictors thrown in. There was even a tree which looked freakishly similar to a punga tree fern.

Its funny because its an island measuring only 100 miles by 30 miles and it has about the same population size as NZ and absolutely everyone has a car and most people have big SUVís while the roads in the towns and villages have these itty bitty lanes that can barely fit one car let alone a stinking big SUV. James and I rented a car which allowed us to get off beaten track a bit though the traffic is heavy for all the above reasons.

We just really enjoyed spending time at the beaches dotted around the island. Its was sunny and around 30 celsius/90 fahrenheit everyday. We spent a lot of time at gorgeous beaches with clear blue water and white sand and palm trees.
One key highlight was the old section of the capital, San Juan, with its cobble-stoned lanes made of blue marble. San Juan was settled by Spanish in 1500ís and 1600ís and this is reflected in the architecture. They built a huge fort in the town because PR was strategically placed to help them hold power in the Caribbean over the British and Dutch who also wanted in for the gold. The other interesting aspect of Puerto Rican history were the pirates; frequent visitors back in the day.
Another highlight was kayaking in a lagoon which has enough natural phosphorus in the algae to glow at night when you move your hands through the water. That was pretty awesome. And there was a nun kayaking along with us in her nun habit. I swear I did not make that up.
In fact I would live there alone for the colorful characters. There was a guy on the beach who dressed up like a lifeguard and waved his hands and barked at the ocean.
We had one tour guide who was an American and bit of a self-styled Don Juan thrown in with a touch of Magnum P.I. He told us the weather brought him there, but the woman kept him. Pretty smooth, huh. We loved the Hawaiian shirt and gold chain and hearing about all his girlfriends. He was good fun.

We have both become huge fans of plantains- think a potato crossed with a banana. Sounds weird but all good. Itís a huge part of the diet.

I hope everyone is well and good
Love Adi & James