of the Caribbean
Old San Juan
Saturday lunchtime sees us back at the airport for a flight
to an island with a different landscape, culture and language.
Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States of America,
with Spanish being the first language of most of its residents.
this flight we pass over islands that we identify as Martinique
and Dominica. As we come in to land in Puerto Rico, we pass
over the city of San Juan, and I am strangely glad to see
the built-up urban areas, with tower blocks and multi-lane
customs are a nightmare as usual, with long queues and less-than-friendly
officials. However this is made up for by the efficiency
and friendliness of the Tourist Information staff, who hand
us an abundance of brochures, and organise a taxi to our
hotel. We have splashed out a little on this trip, and the
hotel is very smart, with tanks of tropical fish in the
lobby and beautiful tiled floors. Our room has a sea view,
although I am more excited by the choice of more than 90
in Barbados, we only have one!
tourist information we were told that we could walk into
Old San Juan, the historic old town, in about twenty minutes.
Unfortunately, we only walk about hundred metres from the
hotel before it starts to rain. I discover that kitten heels
and wet pavements are a bad combination, and eventually
we hail a cab. Slightly bedraggled, we reach our destination,
a hip restaurant that serves modern variations on traditional
is a band playing, and the atmosphere in the restaurant
is vibrant, with a refreshing mix of locals and tourists.
The food is delicious and very filling. I am unable to identify
the vegetable served with my meal, and I am surprised when
the waiter tells me it is plantain, cooked and mashed with
garlic and herbs. In Barbados, plantain (a close relative
of the banana which is inedible raw) is often served fried
or roasted, but I have never heard of it being mashed.
Part 7: In
Case of Siege