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

I have always been a fan of Old San Juan’s beauty.

I woke up feeling pretty good despite still being on medications and with a little bit of something going on in the nasals. Room service would be coming soon, as I had set the request out the night before (this trip had a lot of room service breakfasts). About roughly a half hour later, it arrived. Because I couldn’t really do dairy with the Cipro and I wasn’t supposed to have fruit juice with the Allegra, the only things I could eat off the menu were the oatmeal, toast, and tea. Not appetizing you say? Well, it was the opposite. The oatmeal was awesome! probably the best I’ve ever had! It was topped with a little bit of cinnamon and already sweetened a little. The toast and tea cancelled it out though, as the tea was especially nasty. I could never finish a cup of it. I may as well have been drinking toilet water.

After breakfast, I decided to spend my morning walking along the Paseo de la Princesa for some nice photos. I had always wanted to see what It was like walking outside the fort area. I made my way out of the hotel around what I think was 8 and noticed a few things immediately. First off, Norwegian Gem was still in port. Secondly, Seven Seas Mariner was in port as well. Walking along the waterfront, I noticed that many of the vendors hadn’t set up their shops yet. I was also pleased as the sun was mostly covered and I could walk around a little more, without the worry of how badly Cipro was going to make me burn if I was in it for too long. I still put on sunscreen, deet bug spray, and used my cap anyways.

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If you have never been along this path, you’re missing out because it is beautiful. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t ventured there the previous times (granted, my last visit, it rained the whole time). There were the feral cats, the beautiful trees, calm water, and picturesque structures. And then, there was the sun. It had started to come out. As concerned as I was about sunburn, I was pleased to see it. Walking further, Paseo de la Princesa turned into the Paseo Del Morro, which worked around the old fort.

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With all the clouds disappearing, I needed to get out of the sunlight for a little while before lunch. I headed back to the Sheraton and instead of staying inside for a bit, headed up to the rooftop pool terrace which was empty. I had not been up here the previous visit or the previous day and actually enjoyed it there more than I thought I would. While not large by any means, it was comfortable. Especially in the shaded are where I had found a seat with a nice view.

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I spend some time up there catching up on Facebook and emails. Janet found me up there a short while later. We sat there and chilled. More people from the Facebook group were there and recognized me by my sunglasses. We had some conversation for a while and just enjoyed hanging out there. It was peaceful.

As the morning starting rolling into the afternoon, I made it back inside for a brief nap before deciding to wander around again. I had no idea what to do for lunch when the time came because I really had no trust in any of the establishments there. Aside from Barrachina the previous trip and Chicago Burger Company the night before, I hadn’t had good experiences with outside the hotel. Bearing that in mind, I decided to scope out a tapas cafe located inside a museum. While in route, Janet sent me a text telling me her and her friend (that had just arrived) would be going to have lunch at Barrachina. Quickly scoping out the tapas cafe (which was empty), I turned around and made my way back to Fortaleza St.

Barrachina was just as good as I remembered. When I walked in, I immediately recognized Jose, who had been our waiter last year. I walked around a little, looking for Janet and Sherry. In the courtyard inside the restaurant, I looked up and noticed it had started to cloud up again. I then looked over to the side where I saw Janet and Sherry waving at me from a table inside. I walked over and took a seat while they were enjoying their first cocktails. Janet had a pina colada which the place was known for and Sherry was having a frozen mojito. My arm was then twisted into having my first drink of the trip, a pina colada. It was delicious as to be expected. We then placed orders for our food and all of us chose one form or another of mofongo. Mine was chicken and it was also awesome. As we sat and enjoyed our time there, the skies opened up and it poured down rain into the courtyard/outside bar area. We chucked a little bit at those still sitting out there but dreaded what it would do when we decided to leave. Fortunately it didn’t last too long.

After enjoying a ridiculously good lunch, it was time to walk around a little more. For a short while, we walked around Old San Juan. I started to feel sleepy again, so I made my way back to the hotel. It was brief though as I had been notified that those who were in the Facebook group were now at Barrachina and wanted me to return. Taking the opportunity to make new friends, I made my back onto Fortaleza st and back into the restaurant. The folks called to me from the bar. I walked over, joined them, and decided “hell, why not another pina colada.” I met Suzette, Carol, Keith, and Bob. All were great people and easy to talk to. We enjoyed each other’s company and time rolled by. After a while we left Barrachina and walked down towards the Sheraton. They continued on once near the plaza and I peeled off to catch up on some more sleep. It was Halloween, and I was thinking of heading out later in the evening if I felt up to it.

Early evening, I woke up and decided to go to the fort one last time. I made my way over and relaxed for a while. Afterwards I headed to another tapas cafe and bar to see if others were there. They were not. I decided to text Janet to see if they wouldn’t mind another odd wheel. Fortunately, they had room and we all met at the bar on the top of Hotel Milano. Feeling a little funny, I stuck to water and kept low-key. We asked for a table for 5 and were seated in a decent amount of time on the outside deck. There were others out there from the Facebook group who had already been there for a little while and we were seated nearby.

Ordering food was a task. The night was dark and the tables were very poorly lit with battery-powered “candles” that only put out enough light to illuminate the edges of the menu. We had to use our camera phone lights to read them. We all placed our orders and I wanted a chicken platter. Everyone but me, started receiving their orders a short while later. Mine was late arriving almost 10 minutes after. Once food was in front of me, I still could barely see it with the poor lighting. I shrugged and bit into my chicken and immediately had to start pulling bones from my mouth. The platter wasn’t boneless. This would not have been a big deal if I was able to see what I was eating. Making the best of it, I ate the remaining chicken and sides slowly and only what felt soft with my utensils. One of us was using the phone to light up their food while eating, but I wasn’t feeling that inspired as I was still feeling a little “off.”

After dinner I made my way over to the other tables, meeting those I hadn’t yet, and then downstairs where I met Rhonda, Gerri, and their gang. Afterwards I stepped out and though I wasn’t feeling terrific decided to walk the Paseo de la Princesa one more time at night. It was beautiful.

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After a fairly brief walk along the path, I turned back into the hotel. I had a busy day tomorrow and needed some good sleep. I wanted to wake up to take photos of the ship coming into port. I was also looking forward to Kim being in town. I feel asleep pretty quick that night after a nice shower.

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