Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Puerto Rico Adventure - Day 5

[Composed 11/24/2018]

Give me a chance to explore a historic fort and I'm a happy man. And Old San Juan, where we spent the day today, has not one, but two, massive forts that that cover nearly 400 years of history. From the elaborate carvings of a doomed captain in the dungeon, to shrapnel from the Spanish American War, to authentic signs indicating a tunnel containing explosive defenses, to dystopian looking WWII block style observation posts, these forts have it all. As if the history, architecture and amazing views weren't enough, the place is crawling with iguana and other types of lizards. They're so plentiful, that you'll often see one or two and then notice half a dozen more camouflaged in the area.

Between visits to the forts we stopped in on a small farmer's market and found a vendor serving up vegan food. I've got no idea what we had for lunch, but it was delish. The over-priced virgin pina colada from a street vendor was just the way to cool down on the perfectly sunny day. Price wise, it would have been smarter to stop into any small supermarket and pick up a cold drink there, though I do like the idea of supporting local entrepreneurs.

Speaking of drinks, I ordered a margarita to accompany the Mexican food we ordered for dinner. I quickly scanned the list of variations they offered and picked the 'peach' one. It showed up and I took my first sip: whoa, it had quite a kick. Apparently I hadn't read the fine print: also in the ingredient list were cilantro and cayenne pepper. That was unique.

One area in which Old San Juan didn't blow us away was the shopping department. Admittedly, one of the most unique items you can buy in Puerto Rico are carved religious statues, which we had no interest in purchasing (though they were fun to look at, I suppose).

As we walked back to our hotel we came across the San Juan Holocaust Memorial. We ended up spending a good 30 minutes carefully reading and digesting the memorial. I have to say, it's really well done. Shira and I have years of education about the Holocaust and had a teacher who had survived one of the death camps, so we have an appreciation for the scale and gravity of the topic. But how do you educate random passers-by? The memorial manages to do just this: the symbolism of the large metal-cut out is attention grabbing; the timeline breaks an unthinkable tragedy down into more digestible steps and the walk of the righteous shows the remarkable impact one can have in the face of evil. It's a truly wonderful memorial and worth taking the time to explore.

Tomorrow we hope to explore a hidden set of beaches. Wish us luck!

All of today's photos were taken by Shira. Great work, babe!

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