Sunday, January 30, 2005

Taste of the normal

Well, I awoke early this morning to head down to the beach (stake an early claim on my patch of sand) only to find the rain coming down in sheets. My hope is that it will be a fast tropical storm that will move through quickly, allowing me beach time later today. So, in order to ride out the rain near a window, why not update you on my yesterday.

Yesterday, a sunny, beautiful day I might add, I decided to partake in a normal weekend ritual caribbean style...the biggest mall in the caribbean...Plaza Las Americas. say. Yes, I was looking to get a little local flavor and perhaps some early summer finds. My day began in true (from what I hear) Puerto Rican fashion by waiting almost an hour for the bus to arrive. Evidently public transportation in San Juan is notoriously unreliable. I was to the point of giving up my wait when the B21 came rattling around the corner (and I do mean rattling). Once aboard the bus, it was a 30 minute ride through parts of San Juan I had yet to explore. We passed many cute apartments and condos I'm resisting looking into.

The mall was a typical large mall with a mix of Puerto Rico and the Americanization of the world. After an Argentinian meal, I did manage some great finds. The sauciest little salsa top that looked pretty hot, if I do say so myself. I also managed a black pashmina wrap and a smashing crock clutch in my favorite turquoise color. All my finds came to roughly $28.

As I was smugly basking in the glow of my purchases, I stumbled upon a Borders. Hmmm...must resist putting in an application and moving to the islands. Only the thought that a real job would be hard to find is holding me back. Across from Borders was a movie theater, so I decided to see Coach Carter. How great to see an American movie with Spanish subtitles.

After waiting another 30 minutes (listening to the local lowdown on taxis and the public transportation system from two great women) to catch the last bus back to my hotel, I finally made it back. One thing that struck me all day was how I was continually taken for a native (there are really pale Puerto Ricans and red is the hair color of choice). People would come up and just start speaking Spanish to me. How sad is it that I adored this? It, of course, was less cute and more challenging when I was the last person the bus and trying to convey which stop I needed to a driver anxious to get home.

Perhaps I'll scrounge up some breakfast while I wait for the rain to break.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Day 2

Today was amazing. I slept late...which I felt a little guilty about, but hey, that's what vacations are for, right? After finally rousing myself, I hopped a bus near the hotel and ventured into old San Juan. Scarlet, you were so right. It was amazing. The narrow streets and rolling hills. All or the shops, each painted a different, vibrant color with amazing ironwork on their balconies. I wandered the narrow streets peeping in on interesting shops for a few hours. I even managed to find Butterfly People, a unique gallery that was on my list. Hopefully, I'll the time and money to stop back by before I leave and buy one of their butterfly sculptures. After having a chimichanga for lunch at Lupe's, I went in search of the Nuyorican Cafe, so I'll have a better idea of where to go tomorrow night. Actually searching for an address is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It took me a good 30 minutes just to realize that the street names are actually on the sides of the building. Well, I never found the Nuyorican Cafe, but I did stumble onto the San Cristobal and the ocean. If I were more lyric, I could describe how it took my breath away. I also found a terribly cute house for sale facing that fab ocean. This little fuschia house could be mine, if I knew how to save money. I actually had to check myself from actually writing down the realtors number. I wanted that little fuschia house.

After I got back to the hotel, I decided a dip in the pool was in order (prepping myself for tomorrow's beach time). The water was freezing, but it was nice to have it to myself. Have I mentioned that it has been extremely cloudy since I arrived. Maybe Sara was right...I do bring bad weather. Hopefully, it will be sunny tomorrow as I'm looking to get a little color.

My hotel is almost smack dab between old San Juan and the Condado district. In other words, it's not by much except the public beach and a nice park. I mention this because I wasn't sure what to do about dinner. I still don't feel entirely comfortable walking the streets at night by myself, so I ended up over at Morton's (in the Hilton Caribe next door). What a swank dinner. Allie, I had two of possibly the best cosmos in celebration of your birthday and had to stop myself from hitting on the cute waiters. I'm not really a red meat eater, so perhaps I should blame it on the cosmos, but eating steak was a really sensual experience. It could have also been sensory overload for the day. Anyway, it was a fab meal, and I probably won't be able to afford anything at Butterfly People now. Cie la vie.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

They've got a business center...

Well, the hotel has a computer with internet access, so it looks like just may do a bit of blogging at night. Today was a long day, what with the flight and all, but the ocean is beautiful. After I got settled into the hotel, I went out back to watch the sun set and waves roll in. I've always said I'm not much of a beach girl, but I may have to amend that. I am so going surfing before I leave...believe that : )

On a lighter note...two things one should avoid before leaving on a beach vacation.

(1) Only getting 2 hours sleep - Somehow I got it in my head that it would be a good idea to make a meal and do some cleaning around midnight. I was so knocked out on the plane that I started snoring. How embarassing!

(2) Go crazy with Nair - I got a little overzealous with the Nair trying to take care of the bikini line and am now as bald as a baby. Perhaps this is too much information, but blogs are for sharing, right?

Monday, January 24, 2005

Evil bitch from hell resurfaces

A few years ago my roommate and I worked for the same company. It was hear I began to learn the subtle lessons of covert workplace racism. Maybe I was a bit pollyanna, but I believed we had put most of this behind us. Little did I know. It was here I got my first peek at huge pay discrepencies...promotions being withheld...even senior vice presidents making up complete lies people to hold them back. They even promoted an underling (to a VP position) who had made overt racist comments that everyone knew about. My roommate's boss did all of this and more. If it had been me, I don't know how I would have kept from slapping the bitch. My roommate, however, was the picture of calm to their face and stealthily plotted her departure. Some four years later my roommate is at a job she loves with pretty decent people. Her boss recently got promoted, so they've been interviewing people to replace her, and guess who comes in to interview for the position. The bitch who was her boss at the old place. Seeing this evil piece of slime literally caused my roommate to get physically ill. She (who doesn't drink) actually had 3 drinks at happy hour because she was so torn up about it. I truly wish I had the time and vocabulary to paint a true portrait of how fucked up this woman is. Well...what's done in the dark shall be revealed in the light, so hopefully she will get hers someday.

He's just not that into you...hmmm

I broke down and bought the latest get a clue book, "He's Just Not That Into You", because a book group I'm a member of but have never attended is having a discussion on it at my apartment. Why not, I thought. I can use some enlightening.

I've only read the first few pages, so I haven't been fully enlightened yet, but already I'm getting mixed vibes about the book.

(1) Duh. Isn't it only common sense that a man who doesn't call you and doesn't ask you out isn't that into you? Of course, now that I've gotten all snooty on you, I do have to admit that I've fallen victim to my own demented mind and have created elaborate fantasies based on the fact that he touched my shoulder or he sure does flirt a lot...thinking to myself that he must be into me. Guess I should continue telling myself to get a clue : )

(2) Antiquated. A girl should never ask a guy out? Never? Men were born to play the hunter/gatherer role and we just can't take that away from them. I'm not sure I buy it. I'm not saying asking a guy out is the preferred alternative (trust me...I have no desire to do this) but to say it will never work out seems a bit over the top.

Who knows...I've put the book to the side for the moment but maybe I'll pick it back up in Puerto Rico...along with what Ravena calls my intellectual smut.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I found a hotel...I found a hotel...

Finding a hotel in San Juan proved a challenge only in that I wanted something charming, cheap and near the beach. It's so hard to tell from travel books what is really going on. One hotel I was eyeing that got good reviews in Let's Go! got horrible reviews from guests online. As a single woman traveling alone, I also wanted something where I felt safe and would be comfortable if the weather turned out to be rotten. So enter the Normandie Hotel...not bad, eh?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Chantico the fantico drinko

I'm a girl who can rough it with the best of them. I've eaten bugs, used the forest as my bathroom and slept on the floor of a bamboo hut with no electricity. But, this girl was also made to experience a little luxury every once in a while. Enter Chantico, Starbuck's new "drinking chocolate". Warm, rich, and caffeinated...I felt like I could be sipping it on my balcony in Andalucia watching the crowds stroll by. Heavenly. It made getting to work at 6:45 am a little more bearable.