On our first day in Puerto Rico, we had lunch at a rooftop restaurant in the heart of Old San Juan. The view was amazing; rows of houses standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the shape of Castillo de San Cristobal in the distance and, beyond that, the glittering blue sea. There was the crisp music of the restaurant but the whispers of another song, less polished but as energetic, wafted from somewhere down below.
Our server was a kind young man who walked us through the menu. We had a list of Puerto Rican food that our friend gave us (we must try out everything on that list) and he helped us pick two of his favorite dishes: pork mofongo and shrimp with rice and beans.
The young man took a moment before leaving to ask about our drinks. He said that we should look at the Happy Hour options. We laughed and told him no, it was only two in the afternoon.
His response was amazing. He said: “It’s always happy hour in Puerto Rico.”
His statement rang true for us. We stayed for five days – and it was five days of great fun. Over the course of our stay, people said many things: “Latin music is always playing somewhere”, “There is no food like Puerto Rican food”, “We have the best beaches in the world.” Little by little we found that they weren’t exaggerating.
And there were the unexpected things: the cats, the rich history and the periodic bursts of courage that coaxed us to dance in the middle of the night among strangers and foreign music, or to wander the streets of Old San Juan following the advice of a fish-seller, or to try snorkeling for the first time off the coast of Culebra.
Over the next few weeks, we will focus on Puerto Rico and our experience there. Keep an eye out for new posts!
Alysta and Athena