I’m back on an airplane again, internet. We left Puerto Rico at 7 in the morning (ish) and it is currently 9:28, somewhere over the Atlantic. Current soundtrack? Tales of Girls and Boys and Marsupials, by arguably the best band of all time (if not, certainly my favorite band of all time) The Wombats. Current occupation? Not reading the crappy book I picked up at the drugstore the other day. You’d think 9 books would be sufficient for a 12-day vacation. Apparently not. Yet I digress (is still my favorite English idiom).
It is extremely hard to wax romantic about the intense beauty of Puerto Rico on a dingy grey airplane whilst listening to energetic English pop-punk boys sing-scream about female doctors, but I suspect it’ll be worse sitting at home with my two golden retrievers constantly head-butting me in the thigh. So here we go, the grand takeaway, the end-all-be-all, the moral of the story. The list of the absolute must-do’s in Puerto Rico, speaking as someone who has been to the island thrice and knows more of the layout of the place then I know about my home state.
To the engaged couple stumbling upon this page looking for honeymoon tips, the eager traveler, or the businessman with refined tastes and people to impress, welcome to hnw cassandra. Sit down and stay a while, why don’t you.
The Top Expensive Restaurants in San Juan/ Condado.
1. Budatai for the pork belly profiteroles and the harame.
2. Trois Cent Onze for the duck and the dirty martinis.
3. La Pearla for the lobster bisque.
4. Il Bacaro Venezia for the pasta and the awesome service!
The Top Inexpensive Restaurants in San Juan/ Condado.
1. Inaru for the ceviches and the sangria.
3. Ceviche House for the fried snapper.
4. Mojitos, for the mofongo.
The Best Breakfast Spots in San Juan / Condado
1. Café Saint Germaine for the Sunday Brunch.
2. La Bombanera for the mallorcas and the fresh pineapple (but it’s being renovated, so make sure it’s open).
3. Di Zucchero for the coffee.
4. Punk for the acai bowls.
The Best Adventure-y Things to Do
1. A combined trip to El Yunque and the Bio-Bay – or at least the Bio Bay! It’s stunning.
2. El Toro – Unless you have a serious fear of heights. But the views can’t be beat and neither can the adrenaline rush.
3. Go snorkeling. Just do it. You won’t be sorry.
Things That Are Over-Hyped
1. Marmalade – expensive, snobby, and they tend to drench everything in truffle oil. I’ve been twice and it’s just not worth the price tag.
2. The Bacardi Factory Tour – there’s just not a ton to see.
3. Flamenco Beach on Culebra – pretty, but crowded. Go to Playa Sucia near the south- east tip of the mainland or Playa Pieta on Vieques instead.
Things That Are Under-Hyped
1. The taxi services and police are very friendly and generally willing to offer directions or advice. English speaking abilities vary, but the taxi drivers are very knowable and organized.
2. Pinones is a boardwalk that you can wander or bike with beautiful beaches and a bunch of kioskos selling cheap local food. Definitely make sure you have the number of a taxi service with you to call for a pickup, however! They’re a little out of town, but well worth it.
3. Wandering around Old San Juan is breathtaking, especially during the morning or at night when it’s not too hot. Sundays are a little sleepy, but it’s still worth getting there to meander the perimeter along the wall.
4. There are multiple vendors wandering around with carts of ice-cream. It is absolutely worth getting a cup. I had the coconut and it was unbelievably fresh!
If You’re in Town Around
1. The first Sunday of the Month, go to the local market in Condado, next to the La Concha hotel.
2. If you are in San Juan while they are running the Saborea Food Festival, definitely check it out.
3. Ask your concierge when the cruise ships will be docking in Old San Juan – there are generally sales going on in town.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not you should go to one of the little islands off the coast, definitely go for Vieques. There’s a lot to do and see and the beaches are extremely beautiful. Culebra is idyllic, but there’s not a ton of food options and the beaches can be crowded.
Friendship has been somewhat of a recurring theme in my yoga classes lately for reasons that I have yet to determine. I spoke yesterday morning about expectations you can have of people that may preclude you from ever forming a relationship with them, and how that’s just silly, because people are constantly surprising. However, in thinking about this friendship theme pre-yoga class, I was struck by how I seem to have somewhat of a theme of picking my closest friends- my inner circle, if you will- and it got me to thinking about whether or not we have “friend types” in the same way that we might have a “relationship type”. And that got me thinking about friend dating.
I have this weird theory about friend dating. Friend dating is NOT to be confused with dating friends. Friend dating is the art or practice of wooing a stranger into becoming close friends with you. It is almost exactly like dating in many details, expect at no point will you be expected to perform the horizontal tango with this person.
STAGE ONE- THE WOO- So you’ve just met someone that’s captured your attention. Maybe she also happens to enjoy watching Disney movies at odd hours, or playing Man Safari at a local bar. She seems like a strong, independent, capable woman, and you’re intrigued. You casually mention that you also enjoy doing that thing she’s talking about together and ask if she’d like to do that thing with you sometime this week. She smiles and slips you her phone number. Score.
STAGE TWO- THE FRIEND DATE- You’ve watched Sex and the City. You know how this works. You’ve planning on meeting her for lunch at a casual diner somewhere so you can trade witty repartee about how stupid boys are for an hour or so. This is the crucial moment where you need to charm her, but don’t overdo it. Tell her a funny story about your asshole ex boyfriend, but don’t get too caught up in the dramatic, gory details- there’s plenty of time for that later. Mention something about feminism or politics so she knows what a well-rounded individual you are. If it seems right, you should invite her to your weekly girl’s night at the local club, just to dance. If you don’t have a weekly girls night, then I guess your life isn’t based on a sitcom, either.
STAGE THREE- THE FINAL TEST- You’ve succeeded in making a friend, you crazy devil you! She’s been a hit with your old friends, all of whom are secretly a little jealous over the attention you’re lavishing on new girl. You know her shoe size, her dating history and her weird habits. All that’s left is the final test (it’s a woman, of course there’s a test, dummy), and if you pass it, she’s going to be your new bestie until petty drama do us part. This could be anything- a favor, an invitation to a party, meeting the significant other- but her aim is to see whether or not you’re really got her back in a pinch or whether you’ve just been hanging around for the juicy gossip.
See? Getting a friend is just like dating. The jealousy, the novelty, hiding all your weird secrets until it’s too late, all there. So next time you need a gal pal to drag to a football game, follow these handy steps, internet, and you’ll have a well round group of sassy gurlfrands in no time.