Tracking back a couple months:
Spring break this year bore the traits of classic spring break. Tropical weather, beaches, palm trees, good food, sweat, some tromping in the rain forest, and complete removal from the daily grind. It was amazing. I love San Juan.
The old town was perhaps more picturesque than I even imagined it would be. Near to the center was this sort of drug-infested yet colorful neighborhood called, I believe, La Perla. We were about to descend into it when a very tall, very conscientious and possibly very high man muttered something about "only drugs down there" and we decided to change direction. It was quite lovely from afar, however.
It was bordered on one side by this extraordinarily pristine cemetery, in which I took many, many pictures. I've never seen a cemetery right on the sea like this, let alone one that sparkled with such marble and melancholy. Imagine stifling heat as you look at these, because it heightens the surreal quality of the scene.
The old town was very small, but we spent much time there. The people were friendly (and surprisingly good-looking! Seriously, there was an extraordinarily high percentage of attractive folks), the streets were sweet and enticing, and there were little squares and markets everywhere that made dawdling not only easy but practically necessary. However:
Yeesh! I don't think I've ever noticed how scary-big cruise ships are. They're like little cities on the water that could be disbursed to troubled islands in need but instead are full of masseuses and comedians and yoga teachers and I don't know what else. (I am referring, of course, to the ship on the right). I am serious about these ships going on rescue missions. Do they do that already and I have simply not noticed?
We spent some time outside of the city, as well, most notably on the eastern edge of the island. There we found a national park and even embarked on a fantastically magical nighttime kayak trip through a mangrove channel that ended in a lagoon full of bioluminescent water. The rain forest, true to its name, was rainy for much of the day, but it wasn't much of a deterrent.
It did, however, make the rocks a bit slippery.
I was quite unhappy to leave San Juan, honestly. I have been practicing my vacation state of mind in my more everyday and humdrum life, however, and it has been going swimmingly. Without the balmy and unscheduled days it's a bit of a strain, but I've averted quite a bit of stress just by willing it away, which has been somewhat miraculous. I highly recommend it.
Next up: my midwestern vacation!