So yesterday Ray and I left bright and early for San Juan, Puerto Rico for a wonderful one week cruise. Getting from the house, to the airport to the cruise ship was quite an ordeal since we had to wait in so many lines but overall was relatively painless. We were lucky enough in the airport to have someone from Air Canada decide that the lines were too long and allow us to be checked-in in the executive class section! I have to say I am becoming more impressed with Air Canada's service lately.
We arrived at the Carnival Destiny at around 4pm yesterday. We were just in awe at the size of the ship as our bus was pulling up to the terminal. We had never seen a ship so big. The whole harbour was filled with giant ships similar to ours. When we disembarked from the bus we had to go and pick up our room key in the terminal. We thought it would take forever but was actually EXTREMELY quick. At this time we were informed that our room had changed. Thinking back at all the trouble we had booking the trip and that I'm sure we annoyed the travel agents quite a bit in the process, we were sure that we were switched to the hall closet in the basement or something...but NO!! We found our room and opened the door to an awesome 8th floor balcony room. We got to spend our night last night sitting on the balcony, watching the skyline of San Juan disappear as the ship pulled out of port. That was quite an experience.
This morning I woke up to Ray pointing out of the window and the beautiful view of St. Thomas. The sun was just rising so everything was pink and the water was calm. It was so exciting. I immediately got up and decided that I should go for a run around the track up on the top deck. I had a wonderful view of the other ships docking around us.
After eating a great breakfast with some really funny Scottish people we headed off into town. The town is really pretty and is definitely a great place for shopping. We weren't too interested in buying any jewelry or electronics though so we decided to escape from the crowd of North Americans.
We hailed a cab into Frenchtown, a local village that is very small but has several small restaurants and bars. The cab driver was happy because he was just heading there for lunch.
When we arrived in Frenchtown we wandered around for a few minutes and then decided to grab a beer in a small bar that was sort of hidden out of the way. Sitting there was our cabby! (hmmm bar + cabby...hmmm...actually we didn't see him drinking. He just likes to hang out there). We said hi and sat down with a Presidente. It turns out that people were surprised to see us there because generally tourists don't go there. After some good conversation and a little tipsy we headed out for some food. We went to a small restaurant called the Blue Dolphin, just around the corner from Betsy's bar. There were a bunch of locals sitting out front so we thought it must be good...and it was! We had traditional caribbean food. Stewed turkey and pork, rice with beans, fried plantains and real sweet potatoes..not yams. It was delicious! While eating we enjoyed being with all of the neighbourhood locals. One of the woman even bought us drinks because it was her birthday. I tried the sweet wine. It tasted like a red desert wine on ice and it was really good. Ray got a Heineken, 'the most popular drink on the islands'...so the guy who called himself the bar tender said. It was a great time. The woman who was having the birthday was blessed by a local priest in a very dramatic way, which was quite interesting and unique to see. After sipping our drinks and eating our food we took a long walk back to the ship. I am sitting just outside the ship now at the local AT&T shop (you can most definitely tell this is an american country...). We are now about to head onto the ship for a swim. We'll post later!