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Friday, August 15:  This afternoon, we head to the beach near our hotel in Ocean Park.  We enjoy a leisurely time swimming and relaxing.  We have fun watching a bunch of crazy daredevils doing a sport I’ve never seen before: kiteboarding.

kiteboarders at the beach

kiteboarders at the beach

sunbathers and kite boarders

sunbathers and kite boarders

Kiteboarding is a surface water sport combining aspects of wake boarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport.  A kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water on a kiteboard similar to a wakeboard  or a small surfboard, with or without footstraps or bindings (Wikipedia: Kitesurfing).

the beach at Ocean Park

the beach at Ocean Park

Ocean Park beach

Ocean Park beach

We have fun watching these people.  Some of them look pretty good, pulled to unnatural heights by the kite.  For a tense time, we watch one poor guy who’s being dragged through the ocean.  He’s fallen off his board into the ocean, and the kite is on the surface of the water.  He’s strapped to the kite and is being dragged down the beach by the current and the wind.  A woman is following him down the shore, yapping away on a walkie-talkie.  Obviously the guy is unable to control the kite.  When he finally washes ashore and walks west past us to the origin point, I hear him tell the woman how terrifying it was to have no control and to be completely at the mercy of the ocean currents and wind.

Shouldn’t the company renting the sail and board have had a boat in the water to rescue novices or people in trouble?

hotels & residences along the beach at Ocean Park

hotels & residences along the beach at Ocean Park

the Ocean Park beach

the Ocean Park beach

After we’ve had our fill of the beach, we walk over to Wind Chimes Boutique Hotel, sister hotel to our Acacia Boutique Hotel (I love all these “boutiques!”), where we finally, on our last day, check out the tiny swimming pool there.  We don’t stay long, but we swim around for a short time just to wash off our sand-covered bodies.

the pool at Wind Chimes Hotel

the pool at Wind Chimes Hotel

After our afternoon of relaxation, we go to the north side of Old San Juan to see the sunset.  We have some beautiful views as the sun slides into the ocean over El Morro and Bahia de San Juan.

walking along the Norzagaray along Old San Juan's northern coast

walking along the Norzagaray along Old San Juan’s northern coast

The School of Plastic Arts of Puerto Rico

The School of Plastic Arts of Puerto Rico

Sunset over Bahia de San Juan and El Morro

Sunset over Bahia de San Juan and El Morro

Sunset in Old San Juan

Sunset in Old San Juan

Sunset in Old San Juan

Sunset in Old San Juan

pretty skies

pretty skies

painterly clouds

painterly clouds

Sunset in Old San Juan

Sunset in Old San Juan

We walk back toward SoFo to eat dinner, passing the ramparts of El Morro and the Puerta de San Juan.

ramparts of El Morro

ramparts of El Morro

Puerta de San Juan

Puerta de San Juan

As I’m walking along, I see the dramatic religious procession at Plazuela de la Rogativa.  As I’m snapping away at the statue in the waning light, I fall flat on my butt because I don’t notice the steps leading down to the statue.  This is the second fall I’ve taken in Puerto Rico, and I’m lucky I don’t break my leg or worse!

Plazuela de la Rogativa

Plazuela de la Rogativa

Plazuela de la Rogativa

Plazuela de la Rogativa

Plazuela de la Rogativa

Plazuela de la Rogativa

We pass once again by the Catedral de San Juan.

Catedral de San Juan

Catedral de San Juan

We’re looking for a new restaurant to try that serves Mofongo, because I really want to eat that dish one more time before I leave.  We stop in at one place and sit down, but there is no air-conditioning. It’s so sweltering and close that we sneak out before anyone even notices we sat down.  We continue walking.

Finally we end up right back at Restaurante Raices, where we ate our first night here.  We put our name on the wait list, and then pop next door to Lupi’s Mexican Grill to say hello to Omi, our favorite bartender, and to have cocktails.

back at Lupi's

back at Lupi’s

Restaurante Raices

Restaurante Raices

slave girl waitresses at Raices

slave girl waitresses at Raices

My stomach has been feeling a little queasy since I ate those chewy mussels at Via Appia on Wednesday night, and after eating this last dish of Mofongo, I feel really sick.  I think I’ve been eating too many deep-fried foods while here.  I also think I’m starting to get nervous about my upcoming move to China.  It seems I’m forever to be torn between being with my family and satisfying my wanderlust, and the two opposing draws can never be reconciled.  I’m making myself sick with worry.

When we leave the restaurant, we find there is a big food festival going on in the town, and people are out in droves.  It would be fun to stop and have another beer at one of the outdoor cafes, but I feel so sick, I just can’t do it.  It’s too bad my last night in San Juan is ruined by this.

We end up going back to the hotel room where it feels only slightly better to lie down. Sadly, we leave Puerto Rico tomorrow, and exactly two weeks from tomorrow, I’ll be on a plane to China.  You’ll find me there at catbird in china.

What a lovely holiday we had in Puerto Rico.  It was nice to have time alone with Mike to practice being a married couple again. 🙂

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