Voyage to the Caribbean Part 2 (Fatty should lose some weight)

While we left off on the last post I had arrived to San Juan but had no luggage as at this point it was still in Toronto. I got up later about 8am showered and went to the free continental breakfast buffet at the San Juan Airport Hotel. It was not the greatest of breakfasts but it was typical of other hotels I have previously stayed at. Before leaving the hotel I made a call to American Airlines to see if my bag was on its way on the flight I was explained last night. I was assured it was scanned and was in the air on its way to Miami. Since the bag was going to be delivered to the ship there was no point in waiting around the airport on a beautiful sunny winter’s day.

I decided to go catch the bus but when I got to the bus stop I seen some people walking so I decided to as well. I was not sure which way I was headed from the airport as many of the signs were in a language I would later learn was Spanish. I had a map on a brochure that had only 7 roads and 2 dots to go off of but I know if I could find the coast that I could follow it to the cruise port. Since the sun was behind me I knew that had to be east and since tall hotels are usually built along a coastline I figured the tall buildings on the other side of the airport had to be north. With that in mind I followed the side-walk around the airport until it ended then to the dirt trail along the fence until that ended too. I ran across the exit ramp and under the over pass then I ran out of places to walk. In hindsight that could have been the reason all the cabs had honked and gesture if I needed a cab. From there I climbed a grassy knoll and jumped a concrete barrier and ran across a busy off-ramp.

As I emerged beyond the highway to Pueblo Supermarket in the very Spanish town of Carolina neighbouring San Juan. I decided to go to the supermarket because I decided that I needed water in the heat. While walking across the parking lot some random guy started to yell at me in Spanish. I said that I did not understand Spanish and only spoke English. Then he said “I’m sorry. I said that Fatty should lose some weight.” That caught me first by surprise that someone would say that and secondly, what neighbour hood did I get myself into? I then sold him about my recent weight loss, and he gave me some more tips before we pith went on our way. When I entered the grocery store I was grateful for the air conditioning and then picket up a fresh local tangerine then noticed how processed and fake most of the other food actually was compared to what I am used to then I also picked up a litre bottle of water and proceeded to walk along the was westward bound to the cruise terminal.

As I proceeded along Avenida Isla Verde and found impressive the resorts and hotels on one side and the bars and restaurants on the other side. When I got to the end of this street I came across a stretch of  gated neighbourhoods keeping me from the coast until I came across Barbosa Park that was the 1st time I got to see Caribbean waters even though it was technically still the Atlantic Ocean. It was here that I received the first automated call from American Airlines that my suitcase had made it to Miami. I then proceeded to walk further until after drinking the entire litre of water I needed to find a toilet. I then came across a restaurant but it looked busy so I kept walking then on McLeary I found the Yogen Früz. I decided to stop there and get a frozen yogurt and then hit the toilet. I stayed there enjoying the frozen yogurt and air conditioning. I got some Wi-Fi access here and decided to load a map to determine if I was actually going the right way.

When I left here I shortly ended up in another hotel district. I was walking past a large group of people loading into a van to head to the cruise terminal and I could tell by the tags that they were going to the same ship as me. I got a little nervous as I knew I had another hours walk at least to get to San Juan. I eventually made it across the bridge to San Juan and then decided to walk to the coast again to check out the fort that ended up being gated off. At this point my feet were very sore since my walking sneakers were in my suitcase that was just departing Miami. I then by this point was getting tired and dehydrated. I walked down Ave Juan Ponce De León and came to enjoy the shaded benches along Parque Luis Muñoz Rivera. I found a store but it was locked and the guy inside did not open up so I kept walking. I eventually got to the cruise port and then found the CVS where I got water, juice, and Aloe Vera Aftersun. As I was waiting in line I started to feel like I was going to pass out. I left the store just in time to find a bench with some shade and drink all the juice and water before I passed not in the sun.

While on the bench I called American Airlines the final time to see if my luggage was scanned on the flight to San Juan and it was so I decided to go board the ship, the Carnival Valor. The first thing I did when I got on the ship was found my room and it was bigger than I expected for an inside cabin. I then decided that I needed lunch considering I had a late dinner reservation and I found the Burrito Bar, and it was amazing. I then explored the ship and received the call the my suitcase was in San Juan and would be delivered to the ship at 6pm. I then went to the welcome event at the Ivan Hoe theatre and then to dinner where I met a diverse group of people. I then had a few drinks and went to bed.

Voyage to the Caribbean (Getting to San Juan)

I decided fairly last-minute to try out taking a cruise. So I booked the Carnival Valor to add five new countries to my list. I went into the trip with very few expectations as the trip was strictly to add countries to my list.

I booked the trip with a travel agent for a change as I was finding it difficult to find a flight to San Juan, and I wanted to get insurance since the weather van be uncertain this time of year. I booked the trip with Maritime Travel since they seemed decent with their travel show the week before.

I got up early that morning to take an uneventful flight to Toronto and then experience the pain it was to go through pre-clearance to enter the USA. The flight with American Airlines was a different experience I had a good view of the wings and the screw heads all had cracked paint on them and it freaked me out. I had to transfer flights in Miami so I checked out the airport. I had dinner at the Clover Irish Pub and watched some Olympic coverage. I had the Sheppard Pie and it was to die for.

In one of the shops the souvenirs had “Key West Mile 0”. I asked one of the clerks what was special about mile 0 and she did not know as she was new to the area. The other guy said it was the Key West was as far south as you could drive and that it was an amazing place to travel to. The other clerk asked where I was going to I told here San Juan and she said “High Five Puerto Rico!” She then explained how that was where she was from.

I found the boarding process to be unusual as no one wanted to see any ID or passport to board the plane a boarding pass was all they wanted to see. Therefore in theory you could just switch boarding passes with anyone and get on any plane and they would have no idea who was on the actual plane. I think the Canadian system is much safer. Then I got to San Juan and was exhausted for the long day of travelling.

I waited to get bag and then it was not there American decided to leave it in Toronto. I was really nervous since I was on the cruise the next day. The baggage rep was very helpful and explained the process and how my bag was going to get to San Juan the next day. When it arrived they would send it to the ship directly. I then left the airport to find the San Juan Airport Hotel where I was going to spend the night. It was not the easiest to find and I asked an airport worker for directions and all he said was “about 10 minutes.” I think that there is a possibility that he did not speak English that I learned the next day was common for Puerto Rico.

When I checked into the airport there was a lady who missed her flight and didn’t think it was fair to have to pay a whole night where her flight was very early in the morning. Another guy said that “spending a night at this hotel is a sign something has not gone right.” After the long day of travel I went to bed. The hotel was not the greatest but it was not terrible either.

I’ll post more later about my trip.