Monday, February 21, 2011

Repaso de Puerto Rico

I know you've all probably forgotten who I am at this point.  I may ring a faint bell in your head as "that girl who can't keep a resolution to save her life."

At any rate, I've finally popped back up into existence and having just returned from a trip to Puerto Rico, I think the most appropriate topic is a brief recap.

My Dad and I stayed at the wonderful El Conquistador resort, another one from the Waldorf Astoria collection, which also lays claim to the resort we stayed at in Maui.  While the Grand Wailea remains the measuring stick that I compare all other resorts and hotels to, the El Conquistador was also a beautiful place.  Built hillside, it's comprised of about seven pools, a nightclub, a casino, a spacious golf course, and more.

After riding the "funicular" down the hillside to the Marina, we took the ferry over to the privately owned Palomino Island where we had lunch and spent time on the beach.

There's a waterpark on the resort's campus called Coqui Waterpark with several slides, a Lazy River, and a couple pools as well.  My dad and I spent our final day in Puerto Rico there before heading to San Juan to catch our flight.

Speaking as to Puerto Rico itself, I can't say much.  The only things I saw outside of the resort were roads, the airport, and a venue called La Hacienda Siesta Alegre.  The housings once we left the grounds of the resort weren't the best and it wasn't an area that I would have felt comfortable walking around in.

Nope. Not even to buy a bottle of Puerto Rican rum.

The resort's food was thankfully delicious and the portions were great.  And in keeping with the tradition that I mentioned a long time ago, I did try something new: blackberries and raspberries (in a delicious cream).  No, I really didn't eat them until now.  But I liked them enough that I'm now sitting with a plate of fruit in front of me for breakfast.

There was the usual awkwardness in traveling with my youthful father. I'm considering dying his hair gray in his sleep. I think there might be less confusion that way.

Otherwise I had a nice time tanning, relaxing, and essentially returning without my ridiculously pale pallor. But unlike when I went to Hawaii, I was actually happy to be returning home.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A legitimate Post-Gasparilla Post!

I've been hearing about Gasparilla for going on five years now.  When I heard the word, it conjured images of drunken revelry and beads.  Lots of beads.  So it's no surprise that when people who had never heard of it-- people who were not surrounded by college kids the last four years-- asked me what it was, I answered:

"It's sort of Florida's answer to Mardi Gras."

But after talking to a friend from Tampa, I learned that it has a basis in history that's entirely separate from Mardi Gras.

We weren't celebrating just beads, or a parade... or even drinking.  We were celebrating something more important:

Pirates.

Captain Jose Gaspar was "adopted as the patron rogue" of the city of Tampa in 1902 when planning the city's festival, owing to the myth that Gaspar and his crew had distributed their treasure somewhere along the coast of Florida.  The first simulated invasion was done in secret, as something of a surprise, but it was so well-received that the tradition has continued ever since.

So thanks Captain Gaspar and Tampa.  My friends and I had a lovely weekend.  Highlights included:

Way too many pictures.
One of the best drinks I've ever had (Diet Sunkist and Vanilla Rum)
Some color-- even if it's a sunburn
And some great memories.
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