Sickness, Salvation, and Splendor – Part 2, San Juan

Sorry for the lack of photos this day. It was really a day for me to get settled in. I GUARANTEE that It’ll be made-up for. Trust me.

Did I mention I was refreshed to feel the warm tropical air of Puerto Rico? I loved being back.

Once I retrieved my suitcase, off I went to the taxi stand. I was met by a gentleman asking how many in my party and how many bags. “One and one!” He handed me a sheet with the pre-calculated cab fees and I hopped, by myself, into a van that could have easily handled 10 people. The driver was a quiet guy and remained so after asking me “where to?” His driving was quite the opposite though as once we left the airport, we were speeding along the highways and cutting through traffic on our way to Old San Juan. I wasn’t much phased by it though as I was busy getting cash ready to pay for the ride and tip, when I wasn’t just sitting there stewing in my satisfaction of being there.

I had once again chosen the Sheraton in Old San Juan for its awesome location. The specific reason so that I could be one of the first on the ship, which I’ll get more into later. On the way to the hotel we turned out onto the main strip that bordered the bay and port. Looming before me was the cruise terminal and dwarfing it, was Carnival Conquest. The ship was there while on it’s 7-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary out of Miami. As we drove by, we had to slow down for it’s passengers crossing the street. Shortly after, we arrived at the hotel. I paid and tipped the driver, grabbed my luggage, and made my way inside to check in. For some reason there were a lot of people checking out. Thankfully the line for check in was short. I had been worried about my booking as I had made it through Travelocity and at some point had accidentally deleted the email. My concern was relieved though as the booking was kept and I was given the keys to room #735. This was an interior room with a window overlooking a courtyard and into your neighbor’s rooms. It was a nice king-size bed and had a massive bathroom. After turning the AC up from the chilly 65 degrees it was set at, I unpacked a tiny bit and took a shower. Good God, maybe it was just me or the shower was awesome. The pattern and pressure were perfect. The best I’ve had of any hotel I’ve seen. The temperature, not so much, but it was not cold and mostly hot so I was fine with that. After that relaxing shower, I took a short nap. My friend, Janet would be arriving soon and I wanted to get a little more rest before having lunch with her and walking around.

About an hour later, Janet texted me she had arrived and was getting ready. A little tired from a red-eye and then connecting flights in Atlanta, she was also hungry. Last year I decided I wanted to try Fattie’s after reading some glowing reviews of the food and service on several sites. After patiently waiting for Janet to get ready, we met, hugged, and then stepped back out into the tropical sunshine. Fatties was a few blocks away uphill. Both of us being tired, we took our time getting there. Finally walking in the door just before 2. Now, I’m sure you’re expecting me to have a glowing review of Fattie’s too, but well, It just wasn’t that good for us. Let me explain.

Fattie’s is up at the top of a hill on a street name I forget on the corner of another street I forget. I knew it was small but was still a little surprised. Seating was borderline awkward as the tables were almost on top of the benches that sat tall behind them. The plastic chairs were easier to sit in. There was no air conditioning, which was only uncomfortable at first, before we got used to it. I already knew what this place was about though and was fine with the lack of traditional dining/cafe experience. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed though when Fattie herself, told us there was no jerk chicken. She had pointed to the sign near the door with specials and from there, both of us decided on the fried chicken instead. Once served, the fried chicken itself wasn’t too bad, but wasn’t really great either. The rice, beans, salad, and plantain however, were disappointing. I finished my plate, but Janet didn’t finish hers. I didn’t ask why, but the look on her face and way she ate give me the thought that she didn’t care that much for it either. While sitting there some locals came in and were a little loud. Not usually an issue, but in a place that small, it was a little hard for us to hold a conversation without raising our voices as well. Both of us were still tired and I didn’t feel like competing for volume.

There was a moment though were we did hear the Carnival Conquest sounding it’s horns for guests that were late. Wrapping up our late lunch, we paid the bill and headed back down to the waterfront to watch Conquest sail away. Along the way, we passed some stores that displayed touristy stuff, “local” art, and wood carvings. One store had this massive wooden spider for sale in the window. I still have no idea why anyone would desire one in their home, but thought briefly about buying it as a joke to play on somebody else. We continued down to the waterfront. We noticed another ship had joined Conquest, the Norwegian Gem.

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We caught Conquest, as it was backing out. I had not seen this particular ship before and took a few photos with my phone as the DSLR was still packed.

conquestSJ (1 of 1)

After watching the ship leave, we walked to the forts and took some photos. After the forts, we made our way along the streets looking for a t-shirt she wanted that would match her friend’s. I wound up buying a tacky button-up that had sunglasses on it.

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After a long day of walking around, we wound up going back to Chicago Burger Company at the Sheraton. There we bumped into Angela and Lester who headed-up a Facebook group for the cruise we were on. We sat there for a few minutes and then had some dinner after they departed. Janet ordered a burger and I ordered a chicken sandwich. Mine was pretty good and Janet seemed to enjoy her burger. With the heavy food in our guts, we made our way to our rooms and I passed-out for the night.

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