Sunday, December 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Waking up in sunny San Juan

By
From page B8 | September 07, 2013 |

PR_Beach

Stunning Condado Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo by George Medovoy)

SAN JUAN — One of the biggest treats in San Juan is to wake up in the morning and take in the breathtaking view of the Caribbean waters.

That’s what I was able to do during a previous stay at the San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, which is conveniently located on San Juan’s spectacular Condado Beach, a short bus ride from old town San Juan.

In the morning hours, I would pull back the drapes of our room and open up the view of the Atlantic Ocean as I relaxed with my head on the pillow. What a delightful moment!

I could see some early risers, a lot more energetic than I was, already walking on the beach or taking an early morning dip in the warm water.

But back to my less-hurried way of doing things: I would soon go downstairs to buy a morning cup of fresh coffee and tasty croissants from a shop in the lobby of the hotel and then retreat to the balcony high above the public beach.

Later on, once my wife and I hit the beach ourselves, we could avail ourselves of lounging chairs and umbrellas, courtesy of the hotel. We also found lounging chairs and umbrellas near the hotel’s two pools, one of which was sometimes the scene of some fun volleyball games.

In the evening, things started to pick up in hotel’s lobby lounge, including some really hot Latin sounds from live musicians. And who could resist trying his or her luck playing the slots in the Stellaris Casino?

In the daytime, for 75 cents, we often hopped onto a public bus outside the Marriott for a ride into Old San Juan.

Once there, we used a free trolley to hop on and off and sample Old San Juan’s shops, plus historic Castillo San Felipe del Morro Castle, a World Heritage site that usually goes by the shorter name of El Morro.

Construction of the castle fortifications began under the rule of King Carlos V of Spain in 1539 as a means of protecting the harbor of this Spanish outpost from any attacking forces. If you fast forward to 1898, you come to the Spanish-American War, when the U.S. Navy shelled the garrison, which led to an American victory and possession of the island of Puerto Rico.

What’s really a lot of fun, after a visit to the castle, is to take the free trolley down the hill for a walk through the narrow streets of Old San Juan. This historic, colorful part of San Juan is filled with many little shops and cafes, some of them brightly colored, all perfect for browsing and satisfying your hunger.

And not to forget the Marshall’s department store, which came as quite a surprise to us on a corner of Old San Juan!

To make shopping easier, the free trolley picked us up and dropped us off at many well-posted stops along the way.

One day in the old city, we decided to go exploring for a good place to have lunch and found a tiny place called Mini Café, which turned out to be a good choice because the place was filled with locals – usually a good sign, to my way of thinking.

The goings on in the entrance itself, of course, were rather odd, I thought, until I found out exactly what it was all about. The space, I discovered, turned out to be a spot for people to place bets on horse racing. No wonder they all seemed to be concentrating so hard, writing down “something” with pen and paper.

Inside the restaurant, we had the option of ordering from a menu or standing in line for the buffet. We chose the buffet and dined on grilled red snapper with fried onions, white or yellow rice, fried plantains (a delicious staple here), beans and french fries – all for just $7.95 each.

I often try to go where the locals eat, and this restaurant was indeed a lucky choice.

The meal was delicious and the portions very large, so it made sense, of course, that the place, as I said, was filled with so many locals.

George Medovoy writes on travel at www.postcardsforyou.com.

George Medovoy

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Shining bright for all to see: Locals deck out yards, homes

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
The Salvation Army serves 1,000-plus across 2 days

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Blue Christmas service offers reflection, hope

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

 
Time for annual Solano County quiz

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

State Fair scholarship applications available

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Bevy of holiday activities at Western Railway Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Discovery Kingdom upgrades animal, marine mammal facilities

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Get tested, know your status

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: C4

 
 
New development fees start Jan. 1 in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Free New Year’s celebration slated

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
A word of warning for Senator Warren

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

By Tanya Perez | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Sky-high price has VA rationing hep C drug

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Air Force admits nuke flaws, but will fixes work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
AP sources: Cops’ killer angry at chokehold death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Officials: Missing dog was dyed to deceive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Immigrants build document trails to remain in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California officer kills teen after machete attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
4 teens die in fiery head-on crash in Pennsylvania

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

2 dozen injured in southern Indiana bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police brutality protesters rally at Mall of America

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

2 car bombs rock southern Sweden’s city of Malmo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Bombings kill 12 in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Panama’s Noriega in prison 25 years post-invasion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Burying the dead after Pakistan’s school massacre

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
A chance to breach divide for young in Cuba and US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
New school finance strategy lacks accountability

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Season’s greetings from the Obamas

By Alexandra Petri | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Why celebrate Christmas?

By Noel Reese | From Page: C3

Vatican offers olive branch to US nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Should I ask grandson why we weren’t included in wedding photos?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Review: ‘Five’ by Ursula Archer is intriguing

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Publisher hopes to sell books through Twitter

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Chris Colfer has multi-book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jerry Lee Lewis: Sustained by brief blaze of glory

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Interim coaching jobs present challenges in bowls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers squander 21-point lead in 4th straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

New Giants 3B McGehee eager to play back home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Eagles near elimination, fall 27-24 to Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Raiders place cornerback Brown on injured reserve

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
No. 11 Lady Vols trounce No. 7 Stanford 59-40

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Big moves bring big hope for Chicago baseball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US skier Nyman wins Gardena downhill for 3rd time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Vonn wins women’s World Cup downhill in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
On the money: 4 ways to hold on to your cash when renting a car

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Recalls this week: Bean bag chairs, toy monkeys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Scarecrows outnumber people in dying Japan town

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Obituaries

Barbara Jean Bidstrup Braker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Perry Michael Smetts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Luzdivina B. Banks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Arnold Howard Evans

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Anthony Hanson Elder

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Bart Ferro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dominic C. Scolaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics