all of the above people...and my mom---the matriarch of the fam....went on a cruise...we all flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico on Friday or Saturday and left on our cruise Sunday night....so we toured San Juan on Friday and Saturday...finished it up with a guided bus tour around Old San Juan right before we got on the boat (ship).
We stayed at a hotel about 2 blocks off the beach.
here are my impressions...some of which will totally out me as an ugly american....sorry.
there is a subway...sandwich shop---not train.... on every corner...and a walgreens just a block away.
san juan has beautiful beaches 1 block away from all those subways.
- san juan has narrow roads and crazy drivers...not a good combination.
- we were told that everyone has to take english classes in school---well---we were lucky to find the only people who didnt----our taxi drivers.
- no one really cares what the outside of their house/hotel/store looks like.
- taxi drivers dont have GPS ....or maps.
- easiest airport to negotiate EVER!
- STINKIN humid....but no worse than Houston or New Orleans or Orlando!
- lovely people....except for the taxi drivers.
- birds EVERYWHERE
This is my sister-in-law Shelley---we were sitting in a city-center type area when this man came up---handed her some birdseed---gestured to her to put her arms out---soon she was covered in bird!....as she tried to walk away, the birds followed her. creepy if you have seen Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds".
Puerto Rico has an amazing history of defending itself against foreign take-overs.... an incredible fortress that held back many an invasion...who knew? There is a 6 ft thick wall that nearly surrounds the island---built as a fortress to protect the citizens. OUTSIDE of this wall is a row of "squatters' houses"....essentially shacks that are owned by families---handed down from generation to generation...the minute any family doesnt have someone to inherit the house or wants to sell it...the government takes over possession...eventually allowing the island to tear down these hovels and rebuild better...these squatter's houses are right on the beach---open to every hurricane or storm that happens by. San Juan is trying to protect its historical buildings---but not the historical shacks!
- HUGE police presence in san juan---they were EVERYWHERE
this was a store labeled as "lingerie & booty parlor"....what the heck?
we saw the soccer stadium of the worst soccer team in the world.....really.....our tour guide told us that....
of course he also told us that the Equator runs right thru Puerto Rico.....yeah...no.
all in all...san juan gets a B....the beaches were great....hotels were inexpensive...but not as comfortable as we are used to for the price....walgreens is HORRIBLY expensive....roads are horrific and so is traffic.