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Merry Christmas Etc. Etc.


Noting that the War on Christmas has failed once again, I am forced to “enjoy” the “holiday” from sunny San Juan. Some observations from Puerto Rico:

  • Freeway driving is surprisingly pleasant in PR, in no small part because of the lack of semi-trucks. I am curious, though, as to why exit numbers and distances are given in “kilometers” (a local term, apparently deriving from the Taino Indian word “kilometer”) while speed limits are given in miles per hour. This proved confusing the first day or two, when I was genuinely concerned that we were regularly exceeding the limit by 25mph.
  • In addition to its lovely freeways, Puerto Rico’s interior also has many tiny, windy mountain roads sporting an average of 1.25 car widths. It took us four hours to travel the roughly 40 miles from the south coast to the north coast, and another hour to pry my fingers out of the steering wheel.
  • The Arecibo Observatory is a very large dish, and its otherwise lovely museum features what was probably the most boring museum movie I’ve ever seen.
  • We highly recommend Casa Flamboyant, a lovely little B&B in the El Yunque rain forest, but beware; it rains in the rain forest, even while you’re hiking.
  • Scratching mosquito bites can give intense, but ephemeral, pleasure.

The plan for today is to call the relevant relatives, eat a steak, sit on the beach, drink mojitos, and gamble away the revenue generated by pawning wedding gifts at the casino. Enjoy your holiday in your own way, but if you have a chance read PTJ’s constructivist case for the existence of Santa Claus.

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  • Kent

    Enjoy Puerto Rico on the (probably) one day of non-violence for the year. Careful if you’re there New Year’s as the bullets fly into the sky like Baghdad’s air defenses 1991…seriously…living their five years never had less than 10 people hit by falling bullets. Nonetheless, enjoy the Isla del (Des)Encanto.

  • Kent

    P.S. If you make it to Guaynabo–no reason you would–I have a great dive bar to visit. Best restaurant on the island IMO is Dragonfly (or it’s sister Aquaviva) in Old San Juan.

  • It’s touristy, I imagine, but El Morro is worth the walkabout.
    I lived in San Juan 50+ years ago.

  • PhoenixRising

    If you want a good movie featuring the Areceibo dish, ask Netflix to bring you ‘Contact’, starring Jodie Foster.
    Back at the beach, my unsolicited advice is: Don’t step on an urchin, as they can ruin your whole damn vacation. To avoid stepping on an urchin, wear reef shoes in the tide or float above them. Don’t call it too close in settings of unfamiliar tideline, as I did, or you can get urchined in a nipple instead of between the toes, which puts a whole new spin on ‘discomfort’. My favorite part was in the clinica, where I discovered that had I ever known the Spanish word for ‘nipple’, the pain had knocked it right out of my mind.
    Have fun in the dangerous, scary ocean!

  • How is the coqui frog situation there? They arrived in Hawaii a few years ago and they are driving us crazy with their shrieking, which goes on all night.

  • Kent

    The Puerto Ricans were up in arms that Hawaii was allowed to use caffeine to kill the pests. A thousand murders a year and Coqui in Hawaii made the newspapers.

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