Monday, June 18, 2018

Twin Peaks San Francisco

Twin Peaks, 501 Twin Peaks Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
Back in March my friend, Megan, and I went to San Francisco to see my aunt and uncle. I had been there 1.5 times before (had a 14 hour layover), but it's definitely my favorite American city so I wanted to go back. We arrived in San Francisco later than we had hoped because our flight was cancelled and we were put on a later flight. I have the worst luck with planes lately. Because of our late arrival we couldn't see or do anything so we just cooked an amazing dinner at my aunt and uncle's house. The next day my aunt reserved us massages at the San Francisco School of Massage. If you're in San Francisco I highly recommend booking a massage because they are only $40 for 60 minutes. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch at Puerto Alegre based on the recommendation of the receptionist at the massage school.
After lunch, we ran back home to clean up a bit and then my aunt took us to Twin Peaks. I'm not sure why I had never been there before. It was raining a lot my last trip, so that might have been the reason. Twin Peaks had a spectacular view of the city. I love a good panoramic view. Twin Peaks is actually two hills, both 922-feet above sea level, so they both offer different views depending on where you look out. I believe the fact that there are no trees or buildings to block your view are what makes Twin Peaks so special and stunning. We were able to see Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, the rainbow flag in the Castro, and so much more. It was extremely busy when we went, so going early and on a clear day will give you the best view you could ask for. I read online, and I believe my aunt told me as well, that the area is known for car break-ins and muggings so just be careful, but I don't think should scare you into not going.
We didn't spend a lot of time there because we had to run to the grocery store before my cousin's hockey game. My aunt is a huge fan, and I'm not sure she ever misses a game. Although we didn't stay too long, I'm glad I finally made it to Twin Peaks on this trip. You don't realize how enormous San Francisco is until you're looking down on it. I think it would also look amazing at night, but I'll save that for another trip!
What places have you visited that have great views of the city?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Boquerón & La Poza del Obispo

January 4 & 5, 2018 

After leaving San Juan we drove to Boquerón - or I'll clarify that I drove there. They finally convinced me to drive and it was one of the scariest things I've done. Julio got me out of the San Juan traffic, but then I drove the rest of the way. I was too short for the pedal and I ended up driving through mountains. I think it might have been better had I had a nicer car (no complaints though, the car was free), but it is what it is. I don't like driving in new places where I'm unfamiliar with how the traffic drives. We made it safely, though.
We were there for two nights, and I only have 4 photos to show for it. I wish I had more of the town because it was cute and quaint and you could walk with no problems. This was also where we saw the most damage from Hurricane Maria. Boats lined the shores and trees were uprooted. Yeny took us to this one beach town where they used to rent cabanas and it was completely closed to guests. It was a government run resort so they usually offered housing for cheaper, but there is uncertainty to whether or not the government will put the money in to restoring it. I mean it's June 14, 2018 as I write this and there are still people without power on the island.
The town was pretty lively at nights so we spent the evenings going to different bars and trying different foods. All of which were amazing. There was a gay bar and a lot of gay couples in this town, and I'm always surprised how accepting other cultures are. The USA isn't Russia, but we still have a long way to go in terms of accepting others as equals. Our days were spent on the beach enjoying the sun before we had to go back to the frigid Cleveland temperatures. I even managed to go most of the trip without getting sun burned. The only thing that got burned was my feet because I didn't apply the sunscreen evenly. That sun is brutal though, and I can't imagine how burnt I would have been if I hadn't obsessively applied sunscreen all day every day (I'm on a medication for acne and was told NOT TO GO IN THE SUN).
January 6, 2018

We had one full day left in Puerto Rico because our plane wasn't leaving until 2 a.m. We spent it driving back to Arecibo so we could finish cleaning up the house and packing our things. The last thing Yeny wanted to show us was La Poza del Obsipo. When the waves are calmer you can see a natural pool made from the limestone that protects you from the harsh waves. Unfortunately, the waves were extremely rough that day so I wasn't able to get a great picture of the pool.
There was this cool wall that we walked past to go up on the hill, and I was drawn to the crumbling stone. As I was doing so research for this post I noticed that in all the pictures I saw the wall was completely standing. I'm going to assume it was damaged because of the hurricane, but don't hold me to that. The wall below says, "La poza no se vende, se defiende (The Poza is not sold, defend!)" meaning that places like this beach should be for the benefit of all not the rich who plan to privatize it.
That night we went to the airport only to find out our plane was delayed a few hours. When we eventually boarded they accused someone on the plane of stealing this little metal pole that went into the security door. When no one fessed up to taking it they made us get off the plane. To make a long story short we were stuck in the airport for 24 hours with the promise that we'd leave a little bit later, a little bit later. That's what they kept telling us. Eventually everyone on our plane got fed up. There was basically a mob forming asking for answers. It was a mess, but thankfully they rebooked all the remaining people and we were able to make it back to Cleveland via Orlando with no issues. I did end up having to miss a day of work because we didn't make it in time. However, I'm just adding another 5 year story to my life's memoir. You can read more 5 Year Stories here.
I'm not a beach person, so I was surprised how much I actually enjoyed Puerto Rico. Did you find Puerto Rico surprising at all?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cementerio Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis

San Juan, 00926, Puerto Rico
I mentioned in my last post that Cementario Santa María was one of the few places I wanted to visit in Puerto Rico. Thankfully, my friends were more convinced that we should stop in San Juan than I was so I was able to go to the cemetery. Situated on the northern shore of Puerto Rico Cementario Santa María was established in 1863 and is now the resting place of 1000 souls. According to SanJuanPuertoRico.com, "The oceanfront location of the cemetery is symbolic of the journey over to the afterlife and originates from Spanish superstition and fear of death."
Before we arrived at the cemetery we were told to be careful because it's common to get robbed - one needs to go through a tunnel to enter the cemetery. While I didn't feel unsafe near the cemetery, it's always wise to keep ones guard up. The cemetery is split into two sections, an old and a new. Sherlly and I were the only ones to walk through the cemetery, and we didn't make it to both sides because near the arch to the second section there were two older men standing telling us it was okay to walk through. While I don't like to make assumptions about people, I also wanted to be careful. Plus, we were running out of time anyways and it was sweltering. I definitely want to go back and explore the cemetery some more.
How would you like to spend eternity here?
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