By Irving Leemon, Contributing Columnist
I apologize for the lack of pictures. On the plane back to the States my camera was in the same bag as the ice to keep my insulin cool, the bag leaked water onto my seat and me (imagine! Having to sit in an airplane in wet pants!), and the camera and pictures were destroyed.
We, (Bebe and I), got up at 3:30 am, in April, to catch a flight from LAX at 7 am on our way to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to visit with my son and his wife. Wish the freeways were always as clear as they were that morning at 4:30 am. Because we couldn’t use miles for a direct flight, we had a three-hour lay over in Miami,Florida. After eating breakfast in LAX, we boarded the plane to Miami.
Then, on another plane, unto San Juan. Upon landing, we had every traveler’s nightmare. When Bebe’s suitcase arrived on the carousal it had flimsy tape around it. When I plucked it from the carousal, the tape broke and it flew open and women’s clothes, including bras and panties, flew everywhere. After gathering the clothes with the help of an eight-year old boy, we used a bungee cord to hold it closed. We suspect that security personnel opened it and couldn’t close it properly.
We then took a cab to the ‘Sheraton-Convention’ hotel. (My daughter in law is the executive chef at this hotel.) There are two Sheraton hotels in San Juan; one near the Old Town, and the other near the convention center. The hotel near the convention center was re-opened last year after a complete renovation. Of course, this being Puerto Rico, both have gambling casinos. And there are many other hotels in San Juan.
The temperature was between 79 and 82 degrees during our stay in the tropics. San Juan is the second oldest and continuously inhabited European city established in the Americas (founded in 1521). The oldest isSanto Domingoin theDominican Republic, founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus.San Juanis the capital ofPuerto Ricoand is the tourism, financial, and manufacturing center ofPuerto Rico. Approximately half of the population ofPuerto Rico(about 2 million people) lives there and in the immediate surrounding areas. Our room overlooked the convention center and the docks that the cruise ships use.
It had the usual amenities, king size bed, built in safe, TV, etc. The only problem with this hotel is that it has a slightly isolated from the rest ofSan Juanand there is only one restaurant, which feels like an upscale coffee shop. A limited menu is also served at the fourth floor swimming pool. They do have conference and meeting rooms where they serve food. And, like other hotels, they have the facilities to hold large meetings and gala events like weddings, etc. Their executive chef is to be commended for an excellent menu. However, there is a Sizzler Restaurant, within walking distance at the marina.
This is a Sizzler on steroids. Their “salad bar” has everything from three or four types of chicken, meats, beans, rice, a few types of potatoes, to the usual ingredients for salads and deserts. The food at the salad bar is sufficient for most meals. Unless you wish to stand in a long line to get in, do not go there on Sunday afternoons. And oh, they never heard of caffeine free diet coke. But they now have heard of “iced” de-caffeinated coffee. The stay was fun.
We spent a day with my son, Jeff and his wife, Rocio. They live in a rented condo not far from the hotel. She cooked an excellent dinner for us. Their condo has a concierge and large marble central entry hall with an atrium paved in marble. Their rooms are airy with lots of windows. It has marble floors, and a kitchen supplied with commercial grade appliances. Being on the 14th floor they have a view of the convention center hotel and a park across the street. We spent three days at the Sheraton and then, because of over-booking at the Sheraton, we spent two days at the St. Regis,BahiaBeach, an hours drive fromSan Juanwhich is also somewhat isolated, but nice and quiet.