So I got my own private city tour with a renown historian. Think I'm lucky? He also took me to a really beautiful beach outside San Juan to swim and have delicious local food. I think lucky doesn't cut it.
This beach the professor took me to is in Piñones, about 20min outside of San Juan - if there is no traffic. It actually took us 20min to get there and over an hour to get back. But when everything around you is so beautiful, traffic doesn't bother you as much as it does in places like, say, Südosttangente in Vienna... well, it was a wonderful day despite the traffic, let's leave it at that.
Piñones is right between San Juan and Loíza, the town with the most afro-caribbean history. It used to be where freed slaves were allowed to live, so the influences can be seen very strongly in that area. It's in the music and the dancing and the way people move even when they're not dancing. But back to Piñones. When you get there you drive along a narrow two-lane road - the beach is on the left and on the right there's just forest and small kiosks that sell food and drinks. You just leave your car in a parking space under a tree and find yourself a nice spot in the shade on the beach. And then all that's left to do is relax and enjoy!!
This is a happy face!!!
Do you know how sometimes you listen to music and all of a sudden the music you hear fits the circumstances perfectly and turns from background noise into an actual soundtrack? It happens to me sometimes, and it happened at that beach. Antonio and I had our stuff set up next to where a big dominican family was having their beach day (including a huge tent, their own chairs, a full barbecue with all the trimmings, a complete bar with alcoholic and (a few) non-alcoholic drinks and a big, big sound system that blasted bachata and salsa all over the beach area). At one point I was just floating in the water when all of a sudden they switched songs and the air was filled with Esta Vida. Not Jorge Celedon's vallenato, but a bachata version of the song. It was perfect. So perfect!
Clear warm water. A light breeze. Sunshine. A smell of sea, salt and barbecue. Lightness and complete relaxation and all you hear apart from the waves rolling in is "ayayayaaaaay qué bonita es esta vida".
After a while we headed across the road to Kiosko Mi Comai, where they're said to have the best jueyes crabs in the region. This is what we had:
Alcapurrias de juey.
Salmorejo de juey.
Unfortunately, the alcapurrias are deep-fried and waaaaaay to greasy for my stomach so after one alcapurria and half my salmorejo the stomach cramps started and didn't stop until way into the night. But the good thing is that they did end after a while and the next day I was already back to normal energy levels. And of course I have Abdiel to thank for his home-made potion of lemon juice and fresh ginger that made the worst pain go away within like ten minutes. CouchSurfing is awesome, if you aren't convinced yet. In a hostel I would have suffered, but by staying with a new friend I got to take maximum advantage of the last days in Puerto Rico. I'll talk about those later. Got to go now, I have a boat to Santo Domingo to catch in a few hours!!