Function disabled

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Back on the Beach

0 Comments. Click here to leave your own comment.
Just lazied around today. What else should one do on a vacation? But there were still new sights to behold. Here are photos of the day:

Pelican preening on the rocks

Puerto Rican ground lizard

 Leaf on the beach



Chair man

Girl in a chair

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Southwest: Ponce and Boqueron

0 Comments. Click here to leave your own comment.
The southwestern area of Puerto Rico presents a one hundred eighty degree contrast to the urban hustle of San Juan and its tourist beaches. We took highway 52 along the Caribbean coast, with great views of mountains and sea, to Puerto Rico's second oldest city, Ponce. The photography there was extraordinary (be sure to click on each photo to see it enlarged).

View along the road—palm trees in the mountains.

Ponce is charming in many ways but overall, quite decrepit and needing some paint and renovation of its many very colorful Spanish style houses and buildings.
Still, we did see some wonderful historic sights on a one hour trolley tour through the city. Our guide was the typical guide, following the same pattern—announcing the name of the site and the date it was built, as if that's all one needs to know: "Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, 1670" (Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe).

The centerpiece of Ponce is the historic "Ceiba de Ponce," a tree associated with the founding of the city. Now surrounded by the park with the same name, the emblematic 500 year old tree is unfortunately dying away, with only one large branch left, held in place by a metal support.

In the surroundings of the legendary Ceiba de Ponce, broken pieces of indigenous pottery, shells, and stones were found to confirm the presence of Taino Indians long before the Spaniards later settled in the area. It has been said that this tree was already a large tree at the time of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the New World.

Doorway to a building, an example of local Spanish architecture:

A local street vendor, selling Valentine's Day baskets:

Street scene in Ponce:

We stopped outside of town for dinner on the Caribbean at a place called "Pito's Seafood and Cafe". Our weather was cloudy and misty during the excursion, but actually made for better black and white photographs. Here's a view of the scene in the evening:

After dinner, we decided the drive back in the rain wouldn't be easy, so we took a room in, of all places, a Quality Inn, not realizing until the next clear blue morning how beautiful the setting was.  We saw these Puerto Rican parrots in the gardens there:

Turtle on a rock in the garden pool, "kickin' back."

We left mid morning and drove another 45 minutes west to the rustic little fishing village of Boqueron, on the west coast of Puerto Rico. The place was so far off the beaten path that there very few people who weren't locals, and it was a great and picturesque place to relax. Had a delicious lunch of freshly made coconut shrimp and chicken quesadilla at another restaurant with a deck over the water— Galloways. We did meet several people on the beach and talked about their sleek Pacific Coast ocean touring kayaks—an Argentinian guy and his wife and her sister. They strongly urged us to spend more time in Boqueron and the surroundings because the life there is really nice. They've been coming there for many years.

So again, few words—the photos speak for themselves:

On the beach in Boqueron:

Portrait of a pelican:

Pelican in a tree:

Shot this frigate in Boqueron, off the west coast of Puerto Rico.

Check out the wikipedia entry for frigate: Look familiar?

Local color, village center:

Yours truly with Carole on the beach at Boqueron: 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday in Paradise

0 Comments. Click here to leave your own comment.
Spent the day on the beach, with Carole's cousins at the Mirabella Condos, about a 10 minute walk from our building. From the Mirabella, we get a different scene with different views. Our building is down the beach in the distance, center left of the second photo.

Photographing the coconut palms and rendering them in monochrome makes for more original images versus typical color shots.

Our dinner group at the Metropole Restaurant, a favorite of locals and visitors alike. In our group: me, Harold, Adrien, Phyllis (standing), Carole, Ellen and Kenny (seated). Dined on fresh grilled red snapper, a unique dish comprising a 1/2 chicken smoked, black beans and rice, washed down with a mojito and white wine.

Tomorrow off to the historic city of Ponce, on the south coast of Puerto Rico, to visit a fishing village, Art Museum, and cathedral.

NOTE: For the techies and aspiring photographers out there, all images are in RAW format, post-processed using Adobe Lightroom 3 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What day is it? Luquillo Beach

0 Comments. Click here to leave your own comment.
Spent the afternoon at a wonderful, secluded beach east of Isla Verde called Luquillo. It was our first excursion in our fun little blue Nissan Versa that we rented for the week. Did a lot of photography, so I think the pictures say it all.

This is Mignonne, our daily morning visitor on our balcony. 


Random images: bananas on the stem


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 5: Santurce

0 Comments. Click here to leave your own comment.

Santurce is a neighborhood full of local color, lightyears away from the touristy Isla Verde beach where we hang out. We went there to buy tickets for a cello trio concert coming up at the Centro des Bellas Artes and came across these sculptures by award-winning sculptor Annex Burgos. The group of bronze women, "Musas" (The Muses), are installed in the plaza at the center.

This is what the Centro des Bellas Artes looks like: 

Lunch at Tasco el Pescador, a wonderful seafood restaurant in Santurce. It's mainly frequented by locals, but we ate delicious boquerones en vinagre, a type of appetizer or tapa frequently found in the south of Spain. The central ingredient of the dish is boquerones, fresh anchovies. Am I talking too much about the food here? Also a very nice fish broth, shrimp in garlic butter, and calamari with rice cooked in black squid ink, which tasted like fresh butter!  Here's Carole in the restaurant:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 4 in Paradise

0 Comments. Click here to leave your own comment.
Can you get any more relaxed here? It didn't take long, that's for sure. Still having those blue skies and aquamarine waters....


Well, reality hits hard. Paradise doesn't last. This is the same view as a storm blew through. Bye bye aquamarine surf. Fortunately, these storms don't last either.

We dined with Carole's cousins last light in a wonderful Peruvian restaurant, the Ceviche House. Peruvian always means "ceviche" and if you like seafood and never tried ceviche, you are in for a treat. It's a shock the first time because fresh but raw fish, mussels, shrimp, conch, and other ocean delights are marinated in citrus juices such as lemon or lime and spiced with chili peppers. Additional seasonings such as onion, salt, and pepper may also be added. The raw ingredients cook as a result of the citric acid in the lemon or lime juice.

This was followed by what was the best paella that I ever had. A gigantic portion, enough for more than two, came in the one entree which we shared.
So today, more beach time, a 45 minute run on the beach, and bloody marys at 6pm.

Here's the scene from near our beach condo yesterday around sunset:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Piece of Paradise

0 Comments. Click here to leave your own comment.
Day 1, Isla Verde Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico:
Zack Brown Band got it right.

"...Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze and it don't seem fair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

Wrote a note said be back in a minute
Bought a boat and I sailed off in it
Don't think anybody gonna miss me anyway

Mind on a permanent vacation
The ocean is my only medication
Wishing my condition ain't ever gonna go away."