Monday, July 10, 2017

San Juan, Puerto Rico

 I arrived mid day at the San Juan airport for a conference, July 5th.  It was a hot day but not too muggy.  At the airport, I took a taxi to my hotel and I loved knowing exactly what it would cost before I headed out.

The driver gave us a tour on the way to the hotel.  He pointed out the huge shopping island, old town, places to eat, projects, everything.  He took great care to tell us repeatedly that this town is extremely safe.  It wasn't too long before we arrived at the Sheraton hotel and casino.

We stayed in the modern area filled with the usual hotels such as the Hyatt, Sheraton, and Hilton.  It's not far from the cruise ship docks, the Olive Garden, or Sizzler.  Just out of my window, I have a great view of the private airport for small private airplanes.

 That night we wondered out to explore town and find a place to eat.  As usual, I got lost but I saw some places I would not have found otherwise including the police station.

I had dinner at a Los Pino's Cafe.  It was not fancy but was a place which came highly recommended by one of the guys at the hotel.  The food was great but there was so much, I couldn't eat it all.  I tried to get a photo of the cafe but the lighting was bad.

On the way back I took photos of places along the route.  San Juan turns out to be a mix of colonial and modern with abandoned buildings covered in graffiti.

There is a church but based on what I could figure out from the Spanish language signs, it sounds like they are going to change it into a restaurant to go with the building just around the corner from it.

The side walks in this part of town were uneven and broken at places.  Most houses and apartments had iron gates, iron bars, iron fences and even some razor wire along the tops of the fencing. 

I loved the open arches surrounding many of the buildings.  They remind me of pictures of Spain, or certain places in South America.  This area does not have enough parking places.  People parked everywhere they could find a space.  Many of the parking lots associated with buildings had gated entries with the razor wire surrounding the parking lots.

Honestly, many of these buildings are absolutely beautiful.  The porches and patios filled with flowering plants.  Its like the residents wanted to make a small piece of paradise to live in.
 Some of the more modern buildings still had the colonial flavor which gave them character.  Among these buildings, one could see more modern square cement buildings shooting up, trying to touch the sky.

I saw very few buildings made of wood.  Most are made of cement or cement block.  I suspect this may be way to prevent insect infestation from termites, etc.

San Juan has a colonial flavor and reminds me of all the pictures I've seen of cities in Mexico and South America. 
 All around, I saw some great graffiti as you can see.  This is an abandoned building that is for sale.  All its windows are gone but the local artists had a great time decorating it.

There was a building across the street had some beautiful decorations drawn in various places across the building.  It was not totally clean.  I saw trash and leaves scattered around but it didn't make me feel out of place.

I felt perfectly safe.  Tomorrow, I'll share pictures from my tour of the Radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico.  You'll be as impressed as I was.

I plan to go back but next time, I'll go in the winter and stay in Old San Juan with all the character of the original part of the town.

Let me know what you think.  I head off later today for Washington State to visit family members.  I will not be back in Alaska till the 18th.  Have a good day.

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