Good Times in the Land of Coqui

I’m alive, contrary to blog posting evidence!  And I’m having a ball.  And I’m blogging in bed at 2:30 am–which would never happen back home where the bed is a computer exclusion zone, but which is kinda fun here because I doubt I’ll ever get to write a blog post again in a bunk bed with glow-in-the-dark stars belonging to a sixteen-year-old cousin who has kindly lent me  his room.

Anyway, I digress as usual. I’ve had a killer good time round these parts:

Saturday:

Since a stationary rain front had landed over the island, it was rain as far as the eye could see.  The sisters and I decided to make a shopping day of it until family-dinner-at-fancy-restaurant time later on.  We hit up  Comp USA for my new laptop and after going through all kinds of rigmarole to get it rung up and properly set up (it was a floor model and needed to have the silly promo stuff removed) had to leave it at the store until Sunday to have its techie stuff sorted out.  After that, we hightailed it to Plaza Las Americas (the biggest mall in the entire Caribbean and distinguished from all other malls by the fact that I actually LOVE it despite my mall phobia), where shorts aplenty were purchased and where I had the dubious honor of spending an hour in the largest Forever 21 store I’ve ever seen–three floors and two DJs?  Too too much:

The music was so loud that my ears are still ringing

After the shopping, we headed out for a lovely family dinner at Paya, where I split an amazing pastelon de pollo (Puerto Rican lasagna-like dish with layers of plantain and stewed chicken) and marinated pork with my cousin:

Pork, rice, beans

My half of the pastelon--not pretty to look at but most delightful to taste

Bellies exceedingly full, the cousins and I proceeded to Condado for a night of drinks and semi-debauchery, which led to much singing, dancing, jukebox loading, and telling off of naughty boys trying to get some spring break action:

The success of the night made me realize that this:

Dulce de leche-filled crepes

Plus this:

Medalla Light beer, waiting for its lucky recipient

Makes for a fine old time.

Sunday:

Given the very late 4:15 am bedtime the night before, Sunday started off VERY slow.  First, breakfast was had:

Coffee times three, acerola mimosa, French toast, and chorizo scrambled eggs

Thus fortified, we went back to Comp USA to pick up the computer–score!  The new Toshiba came home with me finally and needs to be named–any suggestions?

After the computer-fetching errand, we decided to go for a drive in Old San Juan to show adopted sister/best next door neighbor Lindz some of the sights that we’d be walking around to see, had it not been annoyingly raining for the last 48 hours:

Note the Old San Juan cat under the Old San Juan trendy moped

It was really eye-opening to see Old San Juan in the rain and mist.  I’d always seen it under sun and blue sky and I was completely taken aback at how atmospheric and beautiful it looked in the late afternoon and early evening light.  It made me wish I lived there in the times of oil-lamp street lights and ladies with swooshing gowns.

After the drive, we landed at my grandmother’s house for more family merriment–and dinner:

Pretty ladies of the younger set

Black beans and rice ("mamposteao" or all mixed up), bread, salad, garlic chicken

Chicken asopao for a cold (73 F) day

After dinner, I spent the night at my grandmother’s house, where we proceeded to gossip and chat and stay up well past our bedtimes–3:30 am bedtime for both of us!  Further (unnecessary) proof that my grandma rocks.

Monday:

My grandmother and I had some delightful breakfast:

Grapefruit with maraschino cherries styled by my grandma, pancake, toast, coffee, acerola juice

And then we picked up a bevvy of sisters, after which she dropped us off at the AcuaExpreso (express ferry) terminal so we could take advantage of the nice weather to explore Old San Juan for the afternoon.  All kinds of fun was had:

On the ferry to Old San Juan

El Morro fort

Feeding pigeons in the famous pigeon park

And good stuff eaten:

Lunchtime crowd at La Bombonera, one of the oldest establishments on the island

Beef pastelon--because there's no such thing as too much pastelon in my life--with rice and beans and mixed vegetables

Baby Bel's ham and potato croquetas

Guava pastry and milk (Baby Bel's)

Quesito (pastry with cheese) and guava pastry in the background

Acerola sorbet

After Old San Juan, a visit to my uncle was in order, and a blast was had there too, wouldn’t you know it:

A very tasty ham, crackers and dips spread

A very loved set of uncle and aunt

Proof that cousins who look alike when little will dress alike when older

And that, my dears, was that–after much ham, hummus, and hilarity, we drove ourselves home (without getting lost!) and hit the hay.

Speaking of bedtime, it may be just about THAT time for me, so with that I’ll leave you.  More updates are coming, more great delicacies await, and more reasons why I need to live here will be revealed…

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