El Morro

I was recently blessed with the chance to visit Puerto Rico – the birthplace of Hubby. After being together for over 10 years, and Hubby not getting to visit with his family very much over those years because of finances, we decided it was well past time that we tighten our belts, bite the financial bullet, and just do it, even if it was just for an extended weekend. We were able to do it by purchasing our flights months ago, and getting them paid off well in advance, and then the hotel bill would come in later. Sort of like buying your vacation in an installment plan. I guess you could say it was part of my own, personal bucket list – to see the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.

There’s a reason why it’s called La Isla del Encanto (the Island of Enchantment).

Beyond the incredible beauty, the palm trees, the azure blue of the ocean, the white sandy beaches, and the hot latin men, I was indeed enchanted by some other things to which most people probably never would have given a second thought. And that is the kindness of the people, and the crazy way they drive!

No, I’m serious! These people are positively nuts on the road, and they’re all so very polite about it!

The first thing I noticed right out of the gate, is that stop signs, and traffic lights are merely suggestions. I kid you not! When we were driving from the airport to the hotel, drivers were just going through stop signs like they didn’t exist. When I mentioned this to my sister-in-law’s boyfriend, he told me when he first moved back to the island from New York, he was driving with a friend and stopped at a stop sign. His friend told him, “No! Don’t stop! People will know you’re not from here!”

The one day that we drove across the island to Mayaguez, I marveled at the way people switched lanes like their pants were on fire. No turn signals, no hand signs, just *shoomp* *shoomp* from lane to lane cutting people off – and nary a horn blow or a finger in salute! It was unreal! It’s like everyone else expected it and planned ahead! I thought to myself “Wow, this really IS paradise!

And driving over to Mayaguez, through the winding (WINDING) single lane roads up the mountains with 180 degree turns, cars were in opposite lanes nearly missing each other. We were following my sister-in-law around the turns when another car would zoom around the turn in the other direction, and the exclamations coming out of my mouth were blue in nature!

And in around another turn we wound around not only another car, but horses (HORSES) roaming free along the side of the road! (Not to mention the chickens and roosters along the side of the highways).

In the city (San Juan), the cross-walks are elevated bumps in the road so that the people don’t have to step down into the streets – they just walk across the road in a type of speed bump. There are no signs stating “Pedestrian Crossing” or “Holy Shit Look Out!” yet as soon as someone steps foot on one of those crossings, all the cars come to a complete stop while they stroll along.

The one morning, when we were supposed to meet my sister-in-law, her boyfriend and her son outside of the hotel, we walked outside and started walking across the cross-walk to the parking lot across the street where our car was. As soon as we stepped onto the cross-walk, a small green car screeched to a halt to let us pass. In the passenger’s seat was a was a latin lady yelling at us (not the normal thing to see in San Juan) gesticulating … what the hell were we doing?? On closer look, it was my sister-in-law wondering why we were crossing the street, and not waiting for them!

That day, we followed them to Old San Juan for an incredible day winding through the streets with pedestrians walking in front of us, cars turning in front of us and cutting us off, and everyone was just so damned wonderful with each other! You cut me off? Fine! I’ll just go behind you and continue driving!

I love this island. We’ve been thinking of moving here when we retire. And now that I’ve experienced it first-hand for the first time, I’m truly enchanted. We’ll definitely be coming back here more often. But even more than for the kindness of the people and the truly crazy driving; it’ll be for the wonderful family that hugged me and kissed me like I was their long-lost relative they’ve never met. I love my Hubby’s family. They are truly my own, and I can’t wait to see them again … and soon!

And the hotel with the bar in the middle of the pool doesn’t hurt, either! WAITER!!!