Posted by Amanda
We finally arrived in our first real port.Somehow Nassau didn't feel real.The customs agent wanted to do a full face-to-face look at everyone before we could get off the ship.I assume that is a post-9/11 practice that we can also expect in Hawaii. All the RDs had to help hand out the passports.I discovered that there are new US Passports that have a microchip in them.The picture is on the first page now, not the inside cover.Anyway, the customs guys were interesting.Apparently there is a certain amount of sucking up that has to be done.I don't know if it is needed, but it is there.For example, there were coffee and pastries in the room.We were expressly told that they were not for us but were only for the agents.I hope that for American agents this isn't necessary, but who knows.
After everyone got their passports we got ours and waited for what seemed like forever to get off the ship.Understandably, everyone wanted to leave at the first possible moment.Since we come and go more often and for longer times than most ships, we aren't in the main cruise terminal area.This means it takes longer to get to the "good" parts of the city. When we finally arrived in Old San Juan we discovered it is beautiful, filled with brightly colored house fronts with lovely balconies.Every street we looked down was more enticing than the next.We hit upon what seemed to be the main upscale shopping areas.We visited a cute shop that sold hand painted ceramic doors of Old San Juan.They were small, not life-sized.
We also went into the Cathedral of San Juan.It was charming but much smaller than ones in Europe.There was also, sadly, some ceiling damage too.
We wandered around some more finding part of the wall that guarded this rich port.We found the back of the Governor's Mansion which is painted a beautiful blue and white.We stumbled upon a little courtyard called Parque de las Palomas that had a million aggressive and dangerous pigeons.Okay, they probably weren't that dangerous, but they were aggressive.People did think it was fun to have these dirty birds walk all over them.Gross!
We continued to find some inexpensive lunch, but Old San Juan is a lot like Charles St. in Boston—beautiful and expensive.With an evening trip scheduled, we headed back towards the ship, hoping to find food along the way. We discovered the capitol and a beautiful vista of the Atlantic Ocean.We also found someone's keys sticking out of their trunk lock.We handed them over to a nearby police officer.
When we finally found a place for lunch we were the only non-residents there.They had no menus and our waitress only spoke Spanish.Noah gallantly ordered for us.We enjoyed chicken, beans and rice, and delicious plantains.
More about the bioluminescence kayak trip to come…