Visiting San Juan Puerto Rico

 If we had to put into a few words the most appealing feature for us about Puerto Rico, it would have to be the cleanliness coupled with the pride shown by all who live in this beautiful country. Even in the midst of the busy cities, the streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks – everything is clean. There is a quality to life here that makes you want to linger. Wherever we found ourselves, even in those places that seemed somewhat distant or remote, we really hated to leave. 

Walking to El Morro
Walking to El Morro

Old Town and San Juan Harbor
Old Town and San Juan Harbor

As we ambled back into Old San Juan, the sky opened up and the rain poured down in buckets. We dodged the worst of the showers stopping along the way under porticos and covered walkways like the one above, and as we walked I remembered a small sidewalk cafe we’d passed on the way to the fort. We decided to stop there for lunch and hoped that taking a brief break might allow the rain to taper off. We scooted down the cobblestone covered Calle Forteleza and luckily came upon a handicap ramp near the cafe. Lunch was pizza for two with a salad and locally brewed beer for me, lemonade for Joy. This arcade contained several restaurants, one of which had a gorgeous formal dining room on the lower level off the hall behind Joy. Another was a wine and tapas bar up the steps to the left; yet a fourth was a sandwich shop close to the street. There was no lack of choices. 
We enjoyed our late lunch watching the rest of the world slosh through the puddles in the street just a few steps away. By the time lunch was over, the sky had cleared just enough that we could scamper back to the garage where we left the car. Now, where was that alley anyways?
Lunch at Restaurant Pizza e Birra
Lunch at Restaurant Pizza e Birra

Our first day in San Juan had gone by all too quickly. We’d stopped wherever we wanted; we hadn’t rushed around never stopping to smell the roses in our path; we felt refreshed from our day just enjoying these moments together. We talked to people along the way as we waited out a little rain shower in one place or another. A man helped me get Joy off and back onto the scooter at one particularly high curb at a street corner. He apologized that his city had such poor access for people with special needs and wanted to be sure we were OK. What could you say? There are many moments like this one when we have opportunities to interact with the people of a country that others, whose lives seem so perfect, never could imagine. Those moments are uplifting – special.
All too soon we had to think about heading back to Salinas because rush hour traffic was beginning to build, the rain was pouring down, and I thought driving up and over the mountains would probably be a challenge. But as we drove along, traffic flowed easily, no horn honking, just a smooth swing to things.  
I have to relate one funny incident that took place on the way into the city. I had to put gas in the car for the trip, and after passing through a toll booth, we spied a sign for gas at the exit immediately after the toll. We topped up the tank, bought a snack or two, and found the ramp back onto the highway, just back down the road from the toll booth. I drove up to the toll lady and said “Remember me? I just paid the toll and had to get off for gas. Now I have to pay again?” She smiled and shrugged her shoulders. I suppose she was laughing at us, but who knows. Somehow we guessed the locals didn’t make that mistake! 

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