Finals are done. Don't worry, I lived.
A few days after our exams ended, a big group of us HLS kids flew down to Puerto Rico for five days of utterly mindless relaxation, replete with lotsa frozen drinks, grilled shrimp, and reggaeton. Maybe a tad too much reggaeton. Our first night out, we went to a club in Old San Juan where they played uninterrupted reggaeton for the ENTIRE time we were there, and still, every time a new song would come on, we'd all think it was "Gasolina." Everyone would perk up and get ready to actually know four words ("dame mas gasoliiiina") to the song, and every time we'd be duped. Damn.
Our next night, we went to a club called Brava where they played non-reggaeton until about 1 am, and then cranked up the CULOOOO. Toward the end of the night, these three guys who were apparantly famous came up on stage -- we're assuming they were famous since all the boricuas went nuts and whipped out cell phones and digital cameras to take pictures of them. They were all wearing shiny jackets and pastel baseball hats and big gold chains, and they just kinda stood there on the stage and threw up signs while their song played. They didn't even lip synch. Some show. I still have no idea who they were, but let's say it was Daddy Yankee, since that is the only reggaeton group I know. Or is Daddy Yankee just one guy? I always just assumed "Daddy" was a collective label for several daddies. Anyway, so yeah, I saw Daddy Yankee in Puerto Rico. It was great.
The rest of our time was spent lazing on the beach, drinking cuba libres and pina coladas, eating fabulous food, and generally being lazy bums and not thinking about school. Speaking of the food -- Puerto Rican cuisine is great. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I imagined it being like Cuban food. Not contemporary Cuban food, as in food you find on the island of Cuba, which mainly consists of hard crackers from the ration store, white rice, black beans, and fried dough balls, but the kind of Cuban food you find in Miami -- pressed pork sandwiches, tostones, congri, probably NOT the plain soy yogurt that Fidel highly recommends... I fear am getting off track here. Okay, so Puerto Rican food. YUM. I think my favorite new thing that I tried was mofongo, which Carlos tells me is actually a Dominican dish, but the Puerto Ricans definitely tried to pass it off as their own. It consists of fried mashed plaintains and garlic stuffed with shrimp, chicken, pork, steak, or seafood.
I'll be real though, a lot of my nourishment in PR consisted of alcoholic beverages and Subway sandwiches on the beach. San Jose is so Americanized. I guess that's to be expected since it's part of, you know, America, but it was sort of shocking how many American fast food joints were stuffed into a small area. Right across from our hotel were: Ponderosa Steakhouse, Burger KIng, Wendy's, Taco Bell, KFC, Church's Chicken (shockingly, this does exist outside of downtown Detroit), McDonalds, Subway, The Taco Maker (a lesser-known chain, I think), and Baskin Robbins. Yikes.
I was sad to leave Puerto Rico, and especially sad to leave our sweet hotel, the Water Club. It's a boutique hotel with blacklight-lit hallways, waterfall windows, votive candles, and techno music in the elevators. Please see below for a picture of part of our room. Maybe my favorite part of the hotel was that they gave out candied apples to the guests every day. Awesome.