We were supposed to go to Chicago on Friday. It was a spontaneous thing. We went to Komnata interactive puzzle escape room — our second one — and decided that we should go to Chicago because I had never been there.
In preparation, she booked the tickets and I booked the hotel. We were going from Friday until Sunday afternoon. A nice weekend trip to the Windy City. I was excited. She was excited to show me around.
Then on Friday, we get a series of notifications from American Airlines.
The flight was delayed from 7:50 to 8:30. Then it was delayed from 8:30 to 9:50. Then when I was in front of her building to pick her up, the final notification: The flight was cancelled.
We took a car to LaGuardia anyway in hopes that we would find a flight out there. We had a list of places to check out!
LaGuardia was practically empty. It was just about 8PM. We asked every single airline in the terminal if they had a flight going out. Nope.
(I got to meet Cardi B, who was also stranded at LaGuardia!)
I didn’t want to turn back and go home. She didn’t either. So we did the next best logical thing: Look at the departures and see what flight we wanted to take.
We didn’t see anything, so I suggested we fly to Puerto Rico. San Juan. I’d never been. She went there once, but with her family when she was 16. Almost a toddler ago.
While I was in line to see if JetBlue had a flight out anywhere, she went and booked us a flight out to San Juan from JFK. The flight was to depart at 11:50. It was around 10PM. I called an Uber.
While in the car, we both got a notification. The flight was delayed to 1AM. The thunderstorm was really ruining our plans.
Then at JFK, the flight was delayed again to 3:20AM.
We finally boarded around 2:50AM and arrived in San Juan around 6:50AM.
With basically two hours of sleep — thanks for the free Jack Daniels and wine, JetBlue! Really appreciate it and for the free upgrade! 🙂 — we checked into our hotel and took a quick shower.
And out to Condado we went!
After our lunch — that mofongo was pretty good. (I went to Barrachina with her later and had the best mofongo of my life!) — we hit up a beach.
I learned later that most of Puerto Rico is limestone, which is why you have rocky beaches, like what you see on the left side of the photo.
Then we went to Old San Juan to see San Cristobal and El Morro.
The castle was beautiful, to say the least.
The military barracks.
The views were breathtaking.
Just admiring the view.
I’m not sure why I don’t have any edited photos from El Morro.
The next day, we took a tour out to Cueva del Indio in Arecibo. It was an amazing place and we were fortunate to have an incredible tour guide, Jesús, show us around.
There were petroglyphs that were left by the Taino. After centuries, vandals had carved graffiti and names next to the irreplaceable art, which is probably why the ladder to the cave was removed.
The entrance. The rocks were razor sharp, so if you take a tumble you’re going to get hurt.
The view. The waves were incredibly powerful!
The beach where Hollywood usually films on!
A natural pool. I got to dunk my hand in a different one and the water was so warm. I wanted to jump into it.
We were slated to go visit Cueva Ventana, but unfortunately, a severe rainstorm trapped us under a tent for a good hour and flooded the cave. We got a refund.
Here’s the storm ⛈ pic.twitter.com/lWxpSOeDCu
— michael 🐿 koh (@ughHugs) August 22, 2017
It was an epic rainstorm. THANKFULLY, it didn’t rain on our tour of El Yunque.
For those of you who don’t know, El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the national forest system! It’s also one of the smallest, but most diverse in terms of biology.
It was around 45 minutes from our hotel in San Juan. Not a bad ride out there. We were treated to a short film about the rainforest and its ecology.
I took this from top of the Yokahu Tower. The view was amazing. From what I remember, there are two towers. The Yokahu was built in 1963 and it has the best view out of the two.
And we hiked into the rainforest!
And arrived at a waterfall where I managed to hyperextend my thumb thanks to the rocks and the current.
Here I am just before I got submerged in fresh, cold, fast-moving water.
After this exciting ordeal, we were taken to an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant and ate some delicious empanadas.
Then we were herded back into the van and taken to the beach for our bioluminescent tour.
(For the bioluminescent tour, you should have on a swimming suit, quick-drying shirt, water shoes, and a whole lot of mosquito repellant. Trust me. Seriously.)
Puerto Rico is home to a couple of sites where these tiny dinoflagellates give off light when you disturb them in the water. We were taken to Las Croabas and put on kayaks and rowed into Laguna Grande where I was proceeded to be eaten alive by mosquitoes and whatever likes the taste of my blood. I have about 20 bites. I counted.
It was all worth it, though, since I got to see these little creatures give of light as I moved my hand through the water.
Our kayak had a glass bottom, so we were able to see them underneath us, as well. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos because I was afraid of dropping my phone.
We had to kayak back at night with zero visibility. That was fun, at least, until other kayakers started bumping into us. That was not fun. It was frustrating.
Our flight was at 5am the next day, so we couldn’t do much except order room service and take a short nap.
I wish we had stayed an extra day or two to experience the nightlife in full and to visit museums. Puerto Rico might be small, but it is packed with history and extremely friendly people who are very proud of their heritage. And that should be respected.