Puerto Rico

Here we are in the warmth.  Starting the day with temperatures in the 20’s, ending it in the 80’s.  A boost of 60 degrees: definitely an improvement.

We’re in Puerto Rico for the week, all five of us.  Flew in this morning (and boy are our arms tired, nyuck nyuck nyuck), direct flight from Dulles to San Juan, then way too much time getting a rental car (but they gave us a 10% discount for our troubles, so all is forgiven), then an hour and a half drive to our resort.  A quick dip in the ocean (refreshing but not cold, fairly rough water, not too much sealife but a few fish, clownfish mostly but some others too).  Then dinner, and a brief adventure finding a grocery store.  (But more on that in a later post.)

My opinion on Puerto Rico, based on a full ten hours of mostly driving around in it: over the years we’ve visited several destinations in the Caribbean, including Mexico, Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos, and Grand Cayman.  Each has its own distinct feel, and often it seems that the only things they have in common are warmth and beaches (which is okay, because that’s what we keep coming here for).

Puerto Rico is similar in its uniqueness.  In the case of Puerto Rico, though, it’s an interesting mix of the US and a Spanish island.  It’s a US territory, of course, so US law and customs apply, and US corporations abound.  Everywhere you look there’s an American brand name, including McDonalds, KFC, Walmart, and even an outlet mall with brands you’d see throughout the US.  The post offices are US post offices, indistinguishable from the ones at home.  All prices are in dollars.  And the highway system feels an awful lot like the US highway system, largely because it is the US highway system.

But the signs are in Spanish, and some of the mileposts are actually kilometer-posts (though the speed limits are still in MPH, not KPH).  And there’s something about a lot of the houses and small shops that remind me a lot of Mexico, and I’m pretty sure that the free-range chicken on the menu is really free-range, given that we saw several roosters roaming around by the side of the highways.  (This place even reminds a little of India, which is strange.  Especially this resort, which is a wilderness resort similar to several that I stayed at in Rajiv Gandhi National Park far away in Nagarhole.)

No real conclusions on all of that yet.  But it’s always interesting to go somewhere else, because it’s always a bit different than you expect.  And a bit more similar too.

Anyway, we’re here now, and we’re tired (got up at 4:00 AM this morning, and it was an active week with too little sleep as it was).  So good night!

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2 Responses to Puerto Rico

  1. bopone says:

    I’d always wondered if Puerto Rico was about as you describe it–a strong mix of Spanish & American. Sounds like it is more Americanized than I’d thought though.

    Sure sounds nice. I guess this is not an all-inclusive resort since you were rounding up groceries.

  2. steph says:

    great assessment of PR so far. One tiny correction: PR is not a territory as many believe. It is a commonwealth, with Congressional representation. For the purposes of my agency’s work we recognize PR the same way we’d recognize a state (so I’m glad to hear you noticed that the highway system there is basically the same as ours here). The US has four territories, none of which are PR: The US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas Islands. There’s been a lot of controversy brewing over the past several years about PR statehood, but they acutally don’t want to become a state.

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