Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Boston and Puerto Rico

Once in Swampscott we got to give Jacob A LOT of love and tell him how much we missed him. Zelia was getting used to her new surroundings but still enjoying long naps outside in her stroller. We had a great time seeing our family, celebrating Hanukkah at Adam's and having a LONG party at Ima and Aba's to see almost everyone! But it was tiring and hectic.

We were SO excited to get on the plane to Puerto Rico on Christmas day. Aba took us for the early flight and we met Dennis in the airport. We all enjoyed a delicious breakfast of breakfast sandwiches and lattes from Starbucks and got on the plane. The trip down was pretty easy, Zelia didn't sleep much and really cried during the landing - that was a new behavior. When we got the the air was fabulous, thick, a bit humid, I felt hugged by it:) Jacob and Dennis think I am crazy:) We waited a bit for our bags and then for the shuttle to get the rental car but we got there. As we drove out of the thrifty we saw Bebo's BBQ and pulled in immediately. It has a line and looked delicious. We joined the line and ate chicken, pernil, platanos, yuca, rice and guandules, drank malta and some beer and Zelia ate is up!!! Back in the car and to the hotel.

It was great that we were staying at a place outside of San Juan. It was a HUGE complex with the hotel and condos and a golf course. we drove in and it felt like we left Puerto Rico and were in Florida or something. the Island is interesting in that was, all the American infrastructure and stores, but yet distinctively Latin and great for that. The trees were lush and green and the ocean was beautiful. Luckily Dennis had Thursday and Friday free and we could all play. On Thursday night Dennis noticed that Zelia was holding her ear a lot and she woke Friday morning with a fever. We headed to a clinic where they let Dennis borrow the scope to look in her ears. Then the doctor wrote her a prescription and we went and had it filled. Nothing like traveling with your own doctor:)

On Friday we got in the car and headed to old San Juan. We got out and just began wandering the streets. We found that it was full of fancy US shopping which wasn't too interesting, but the old building were beautiful. We walked down along the fort and then heard two blasts and realized that one of the tires in Zelia's stroller had blown - crazy!!!! I guess the heat did it. We chatted with a cop for a while to see if there was a bike store anywhere. Nothing too local, we would need to drive. Jacob and Dennis took turns roiling the stroller back to the car, we wrapped Zelia up and headed to sit outside to eat lunch. after lunch we were given 2 recommendations for eating the next time we were in town.

It wasn't long before Zelia and I were asleep in the car and Dennis and Jacob drive from place to place trying to find a replacement tube for the stroller. There was success at....Walmart, the Super Walmart at that - it is so weird to see.

The next day Dennis was busy in his meetings and the three of us were on our own. We hung out, went to the pool and just relaxed a lot.

Before we left for Puerto Rico I was looking around on Chowhound and found out about a produce market that also has delicious batidas and hot sauce. Jacob tried to find directions to it from the concierge, but it took a while for them to understand what we were looking for. It is not really a tourist destination. La Placida Santurce was where we wanted to go. So we had some sort of directions and we got in the car. We drove around for a while but no luck. Finally I asked someone on the street and he told me to get on the autopista - where's that I asked. He said, follow me! wow, what generosity, he got us on and waved to tell us where to get off. Once we did that we still had to get more specific directions. We asked in the gas station, then the quality Inn, but were sent the wrong way. Finally, at another gas station we were given very specific directions from a man who knew!!!! YAY. Thankfully Zelia was sleeping the whole time. Poor girl was still not feeling well and sleeping a lot. Anyway, we got out of the car, wrapped her up and got to the market.....which was closed!!!!! Closes at noon on Sundays. BUT, the door was open a little and some older people were sitting in front, they said we could come in and look around and that they would be open all day during the week. When we were leaving we asked them about a good place to eat and they sent us behind the market to Pescadores. It was full! People were in their church clothes, drinking wine and enjoying the delicious food. So we sat and ate a ceviche like dish, calamari and bacalao croquettes - amazing! If you go to PR go to these two places for sure. That night we had dinner at another great restaurant Pasion del Fogon (we were told that fogon is a way to cook with wood). It was a very pretty restaurant but we were a big party (all the Harrisons' folk) and the dinner was long. The food was delicious. I had a whole fried snapper - one of my favorite fish and preparations. Jacob had a garlic shrimp in a potato birds' nest. But the best was the fried queso blanco appetizer, wow! The evening, unfortunately was pretty rough, Zelia cried practically the entire time:(

On Monday Jacob headed out with Dennis during his break to get more medicines and then Dennis went to get Marie at the airport. We were walking around and hanging out with Zelia, but went to cocktail hour with everyone at Harrisons.

On Tuesday Dennis had the day off and so around 11 we all piled in the car and headed out to old San Juan. First we returned to Santurce Market, where we walked around and enjoyed looking at the fruit, had some yummy fruit batidas, found the hot sauce and had a great time. We had a great time walking around the streets, but it was SO crowded. No joke there were 6 cruise boats docked and each one is bigger then Isafjordur!!!! Hard to believe. We had a delicious lunch at El Jibarito - also highly recommended. It is a great place, a good amount of tables, all PR food and very friendly. We had passion fruit juice, garlic shrimp, fried plantain, and bistec - excellent! After lunch we stopped in at the Panama Hat store and got quite an education. Dennis got a very smart looking hat, Jacob got Dennis' hat from the day before and I got a beautiful gift of a hat of my own. It must have been pretty funny when we all walked down the street!

We still had not made any plans for New Years so we decided to walk to Marmalade and see what we could get there. Luckily they couldn't get us in because we decided not to come to Old San Juan anyway! Also it would have been almost impossible to get into town we heard later. We got back to the room a bit late and decided to order pizza and salads while Zelia crawled around and got more comfortable:)

Oh, we met up with the Rothbards while in PR, I taught their twin boys at Hillel. Anyway, while in Old San Juan they invited Jacob fishing with them on the 31st. So, after a nice morning together and watching iguanas Jacob left and Zelia and I were on our own. We actually had a great lunch together. We had discovered a delicious Seabreeze salad in the hotel that had papaya and fresh grouper. As you may know Zelia LOVES fish and she got to eating the entire fillet at lunch. Mostly she crawled all around the restaurant (it was an outside place) flirting with all the tables. It was great to see how far she would go without looking back. It was also funny to see the faces of people around as they saw this baby crawl around. After a bit of a nap we dressed for New years, met up with Marie and headed to the cocktail hour for a little bit before walking to the steak restaurant. Jacob was to meet us there after fishing.

We got there and got a call from Jacob that he was going to be about an hour late. We hung out, had some drinks and were being thoroughly entertained by Zelia who was in a GREAT mood. She was talking up a storm, booyah, booyah and wutawutawat, and playing in the mirror. While we were in Boston she learned to say uh-oh and wow so was pulling those out from time to time. When Jacob arrived we had a nice dinner together.

On New Years Day Marie and I had our treat day at the spa, wow. I had a Thai massage and she had an aromatherapy hot stone massage. This HAD to be better then the last time we tried this. (In WY we took Zelia and she screamed). this time, Jacob had Zelia and we enjoyed:) Afterward we had a great lunch, Seabreeze salad again. Zelia had already had lunch with Jacob and Dennis and apparently ate their fish, now she was on to mine, whew.

Since the meeting was ending early we had the last Harrison's dinner that night at Palio's the Italian restaurant in the hotel. It was a really nice evening and Zelia slept through most of dinner which was very enjoyable. It was hard to believe that we only had one more full day left!!!

We rented a cabana on the beach, had breakfast together and went to hang out there. This was the perfect day. It was beautiful out, Zelia was happy playing in the shade, the four of us sat and read and chatted and just were together. there was a cooler with drinks, some snacks and fresh fruit. Then while Zelia slept Jacob and I took a surfing lesson. I was pretty nervous, but it was a blast!!!! You can see some pics, but remember they were taken at the beginning of the lesson not at the end:) It was tiring but just so much fun. After an hour in the ocean we jumped into the pool to wash off:) That day Zelia had her own fillet and ate the entire thing!!!!! She slept well during that nap:) At 5pm we all went to shower and to head to our best meal yet...

We got in the car and headed down Rt 3 to La Parilla. We were excited and Jacob and I were going to eat steak:) Zelia was sleeping so we pulled the car up on the sidewalk right by where we sat to eat. We started with some beer and appetizers, more friend queso with Guava dipping sauce (fried but not in a batter), croquettes filled with a black bean and meat paste (amazing) and patacones (green friend plantains) filled with lobster and crab. Dennis and Marie shared a whole red snapper filled with crab meat and cooked with lime and herbs in a pouch (delicious) Jacob and I shared a rib eye steak with a fabulous red wine and caper reduction. Over dinner we also enjoyed some yummy sangria. The service was out of this world, everyone who worked there clearly felt responsible for the diners and without being intrusive they were lovely and knowledgeable and helpful. Lastly we had 2 vanilla flan, 1 coconut flan and 1 cheesecake flan with a guava topping. Very good!!! What a day!

On Saturday morning we all ate breakfast and finished packing and headed to the airport. It was an easy flight on a grey rainy day, but after such a perfect vacation anything would have been fine.

Terri picked us up at the airport and Jack was SO handsome all bathed and soft. We headed to Ima and Aba's house where we ate from Gourmet Garden (we love those chicken lettuce wraps) and headed to bed exhausted. Sunday was a great day, Jacob made a delicious breakfast of yogurt pancakes and Jeanie, Haley, Laura, Rebecca and Noa were all there. After that we finished packing and ran to Target. We had a great dinner of steak tips and were off to the airport. Wow, what a trip.

We love you all and miss you but are truly happy to be home:)