puerto rico, part 1
puerto rico, part 3

el viejo san juan y el morro

i just left you hanging, didn't it? sorry. i was shoveling yesterday.

so after lunch at ceviche house, we grabbed a taxi into old san juan. the driver dropped us off at el morro, the old fort, and we started our self-guided, self-propelled tour.

and, truly, nothing has changed since we were there three years ago, so i didn't take too many pictures of el morro itself. you can always revisit that here. i did, however, notice something i hadn't noticed then: there are burglar alarms. in the fort. the fort that was built, by definition, to keep people out. and they used the word "burglar." i was amused.

anyway, we started in the center section of the fort and looked at all of the rooms and read about their various purposes. the kids were vaguely interested in the bunk room ... not even the idea of sleeping on wooden platforms in a room without windows seemed to make a huge impression on them.

and the beautiful symmetry that caught my eye? they walked right through it.

harper perked up a little when we got to a window overlooking the ocean, where the best breeze was blowing in. but yes, my eldest was on his cell. probably trying to get wi-fi.


he finally got a bit interested when cannons were involved.

and when he had to squeeze into a lookout tunnel thingy.

at the top of the fort, the kids found a long-range viewer and thought that was pretty great.

and then they all gathered in one of the little guard house thingies.

and we just kept exploring. and, for the most part, they were alert.

once we'd seen all we could see, we walked into old san juan. where it got progressively hotter ... and hotter.

we stopped at the piraqua cart for authentic, hand-made snowcones. henry got raspberry, i got pineapple, marc got coconut, and harper asked for anise. crazy kid loves anise. she eats the seeds when we get indian food. but the piragua guy looked as her and shook his head. "no. es no good. she won't like." rather than get into a discussion about the odd taste buds of our eight year old, we told her to pick something else. so she opted for coconut, too.

she then proceeded to grump and pout about who-knows-what and cause us all to banish her 20 feet away from us.

then she started to wander, where she looked at birds and bugs and found a stray cat ...

and she became moderately happy again.

once our snowcones were gone, we continued through the streets of old san juan. at this point, we were all tired and hot and sweaty. harper was a grouch, i was concerned that we were getting too much sun, and i think we all just wanted to head back to the pool.

we reached a plaza, where the kids and i sat while marc ducked into walgreens (yes, walgreens), on the street level of this lovely old light blue building, to get some aloe and more sunscreen.

while we were waiting, we started to notice all of the pigeons in the plaza. harper, being nature girl, finally got a smile on her face and started to stalk the birds.

pretty soon a mass of them started to flap around.

but did you see the guy at the left of the photo? with the bag of bird seed in his hands? he took one look at harper and saw Easy Mark written all over her.

and pretty soon, harper had her hands full.

and then her hands got really full.

and then it was more than just her hands.

then henry came over and offered himself up as Mark #2.

sadly, this was the highlight of the trip for harper. it cost us $5. we could have gone downtown minneapolis with a bag of seed for that.

oh well.

(and yes ... that is snowcone on henry's shirt. he takes after his mom. (i totally had snowcone on my shirt, too.))

we got a taxi for the return trip to the hotel, just in time to see a lovely sunset off our balcony. we cleaned up a bit and headed down to dinner.

where we opted for the buffet inside vs the restaurant on the patio like the night before.

and, after a day in the hot sun, i had a pesto and chicken dish that was swimming in oil.

and ended our first full day in puerto rico wrapped around the hotel room toilet.

es no good.



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