Tuesday, September 6, 2011


On the list of “things I never thought I’d experience but I somehow was able to and now I’ll never forget,” watching the sun rise over Old San Juan while sitting in a hot tub on the roof of my hotel currently tops the list. 

Needless to say, my weekend in Old San Juan was memorable. 
It’s hard to put into words, actually, just what made my weekend so enjoyable.  But I’m going to try.

The original plan was this:
All 7 US teachers from Guamani, along with Danielle’s boyfriend and Kelsey’s brother, who both arrived in PR on Saturday to visit for the week, would go to San Juan (the capitol, and biggest city on the island), staying in a hotel Saturday night and going to a club, then going to the beach on Sunday and coming home. 

Things didn’t go quite according to plan, however…

First, we got a late start to dinner on Saturday night, making our time to get ready to leave a little tight.  Our aim was to arrive at the club before 11pm, because it was lady’s night, and we ladies would get in for free (avoiding the $20 cover) if we entered before 11pm.  As we were not ready to leave the hotel by 10:30, we relaxed until around midnight, then set out. 

We got to the club, found a long line, and discovered that one of our boys didn’t meet dress code (no collared shirt).  We accepted defeat, and got a recommendation for a cheaper—but supposedly just as fun—club very near our hotel.  We back-tracked to the same parking garage we’d just left to check it out.  We walked back past our hotel.  We continued on, hiking up several Old San Juan cobblestone hills.  We found the club to be closed. 

Unsure of where to try next, we progressed to the bar literally right next to our hotel.  Talk about returning to where we started. 

Around 4am, after an unsuccessful venture to find an open eatery, we returned to the hotel and went up to the rooftop hot tub. 

And the night completely redeemed itself. 

As we sat staring out over the Caribbean Sea at around 5:30am, I sighed, “It’s too bad we’re facing west…it would be great to watch the sun rise from up here.” 
Hmm…check out those lightening clouds over El Morro… yeah.  Definitely facing east.
Decision made.
Four of the nine of us made it up till the sunrise…and it was well worth it.  Watching the sun come up over the city was one of the most memorable events of my lifetime.  I felt so lucky to be sitting where I was, seeing what I was seeing.

I didn't have my camera at sunrise...but imagine this view with the sky a rosy pink,
and a cruise ship rolling in off to the right (but not obstructing this view)

After a few short hours of sleep, we rose, checked out of the hotel, and went to Cafeteria Mallorca for breakfast.  Perfection.   (Sidenote: Cafeteria Mallorca was featured on a Travel Channel episode, so I’m told.  I want to find the clip…but it’s a big search.)  

Then, on to El Morro (the fort in San Juan).  Full of history and breathtaking views of the sea.  The water was so blue!  

Next stop: the beach at Isla Verde.  We finished out the evening at a restaurant right on the beach  after swimming a bit, then headed home—the windows rolled down, drinking in the cool night air as we cruised down the autopista, mountains looming in the distance and (for at least part of the drive) visions of pterodactyls swooping above us peacefully (thank you to Rachel’s imagination). 

I haven’t laughed as hard or as often as I did this past weekend in a long time.  Even though I was running on approximately 3 hours of sleep, I couldn’t fall asleep at home Sunday night because my mind kept turning over the wonderful events of the past 36 hours.

No one can tell me I’m not living my life to the fullest at this moment.  

Standing on the roof in daylight

Rachel testing the waters of our hot tub in the daylight.
Hot hot hot!

1 comment:

  1. I swear those pterodactyls are out there just waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce on the unsuspecting tourist! :)