...Thats Happy New Year in Spanish!
Its been a while since we've posted, but lots has happened and I'm not even sure it I'll have room to post all the photos I want!
Firstly...and most importantly, we've found and settled in an apartment! After lots of hunting, and finally deciding on one in an area of metro-San Juan called "Miramar", we chose a beautiful 2-storey apartment and even got a good deal on it. For a little more info, visit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miramar,_Puerto_Rico for a breif overview.
What attracted us to this area was that it was VERY clean (they collect garbage every single day....sadly at 6am...and they dont make it quiet), it was small - just one main street (Ponce de Leon) with lots of smaller residential streets coming off it, it had all the essentials - pharmacy, post office, small grocery store, bank, $2 store...and even a tiny cinema playing older movies for a cheap rate. Theres a few cute little restaurants too, as well as a couple of takeaway places (which we lived off when we didnt have power for the first few days!)
We are just a short walk away from the beach - and once we get a car, the entrance to the highway is about a 30 second drive. Theres even an Events company here which I've been meaning to google and find out more info. All in all, we've been really happy so far with this part of town.. it feels very 'safe' too - and white person friendly!
As we still dont have a vehicle, collecting household items and groceries proves to be a little difficult - but we ARE finding out our way around with the bus/train/ferry system quite well. The buses here...are not like buses elsewhere in the western world - there is no schedule! geoff and I have waited up to an hour and half on one bus... yeah it gets a little old, but i guess thats part of what living on an island is all about. We are hanging to get the truck though (Monday!)..
We've collected all of our household appliances (a few taxi rides), have the cupboards relatively stocked and are now just waiting until geoff starts work to make some more, bigger purchases, like furniture etc. We have so many bedrooms and want to fill them all! :-) We were lucky that our realtor left us with some items - fridge, microwave, bed, desk, oven and outdoor furniture setting, which means we dont need to eat off the floor at least!
My birthday - and thank you for the birthday wishes everyone - was FANTASTIC! Going from waking up in the morning and not having a clue what the day would bring ended up into a lot more than Geoff and I could've ever hoped for. I was spoilt with breakfast in bed, followed by an (quick for once!) bus trip into Old San Juan for a bit of a stroll and checking out the main tourism office there for some info on New Years Eve happenings... we had lunch at a mexican restaurant on the waterfront, and watched all the cruise ships come in (which we can also actually see from our balcony at home!). Then..the real fun started... we booked ourselves in for a sunset ATV tour with Tropical Trails - starting at 4pm. We were taken out to Campo Rico just past the airport in San Juan... to a place we didnt even know existed! Inside this ranch, you would'nt even guess that you were near the city... it was lush and green with mangroves, forests and ponds everywhere - beautiful! Just being there would've been enough to make me happy for that day - it was so nice to feel as though we were out the smog and concrete of the city.
Shannon, the manager greeted us and introduced us to Nate, our tour guide. What a great guy, he was very laid back and made the tour informative yet fun. We rode around a little, went on some dirt trails and up and down some rocky hills. We stopped about half way through our tour in the forest, where we got off our bikes and walked to some caves... these caves we were learnt were inhabited by Taino Indians and consisted of limestone, ponds and LOTS of bats and cockroaches. The others in our tour stayed behind with the quads so it was just Geoff, myself and Nate.. it was so much fun, especially since it was starting to get dark. We got our torches fired up and began to climb down the caves... As you can see from the photos, there were petroglyph's on the inside of the caves from the Indians !
Our tour ended up with the best part - MUD!!!! We put the Honda's into 4wd and let them rip.. up and down hills..through shrub...what a great way to finish this tour!
We highly recommend Tropical Trails to anyone coming to Puerto Rico and wanting a bit of action on ATV's... we had a blast - the surroundings are beautiful, the ATV's were of high quality (brand new actually) and the staff are professional and outgoing.
I'll leave it here for now (getting carried away since its been about 10 days where we have had lack of internet and no uploading) and Feliz Ano Nuevo to everyone!!!!!