Our first day gave us exactly what we needed: heat & sunshine! All Luis wanted to do was stand in the sun, as he is so awkwardly doing here.
We drove an hour or so from San Juan to Cialis, where Al, my father-in-law, grew up. We made a little photo stop on our way to get some shots overlooking his little town. Gorgeous!
We couldn't resist reliving our monkey bar days.
Al relived a bit of his own childhood with a visit to his elementary school. Here he is with Angel, my brother-in-law, and two of his friends whom he has known since the first grade!
Leo and his wife took us up the mountain to a restaurant overlooking Cialis for a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal: lechón and rice. This is lechón aka giant roasted pig.
Later that night, we went to Christmas Eve service where we really felt God move...literally, in the form of an earthquake. This was certainly a Christmas of many firsts for me!
After church, we had dinner with Luis' half-brother and sisters. They cooked us pasteles (the Puerto Rican version of tamales made with plantains instead of masa) and *surprise* more Puerto Rican rice.
Christmas Day started on the beach followed by a walk around old San Juan and a tour of Castillo de San Cristóbal, the old Spanish fort built to protect the island from English and Dutch attacks.
It was a fun but looong day of walking that left us tired and hungry.
And, what do you think we ate? That's right, pork and Puerto Rican rice. Oh, and fried plantains and bananas.
In case you haven't noticed the trend of meal choices, I'll let you in on the secrets of the Puerto Rican diet:
- Pork, pork, and more pork
- Rice, but only prepared traditional style with pigeon peas, oil and fat
- Plantains, mashed, sliced, whole, doesn't matter, just as long as it's fried. My favorite version was Mofongo, I think cause I just liked to say Mofongo. Muh-fong-goh. haha
- Fatty fat fat
Our last day was spent in the El Yunque rainforest, which, interesting fact, is the only tropical forest in the US. We all hiked, 80-year-old Al included, an hour or so to the waterfall.
Luis, Angel, and I, along with their niece and nephews, braved the cold and decided that water slamming down on our heads sounded like fun.
As cold and painful as it was, we had a blast slipping and falling on the rocks in attempts to get under the pounding falls for this photo-op.
The trip, full of pork, fun and adventure, went by much faster than we would have liked. However, our vacation isn't over as we are getting to enjoy a wonderful week at home with our families in the big SV.
Now, if only the sun would come out once more before poor Luis has to fly back to snow and clouds. That would certainly be the perfect ending to a wonderful Christmas vacation. Well, at least for him it would be since I get to drag my vacation out another week. Oh the wonderful blessings of being unemployed! :)