Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sopresas


Last evening we met some of our IAFN buddies near the condo they had rented.  They had stumbled on a little bar,  called Las Olas, that has tapas.  It was not an easy find, but it was worth it.  We had some awesome sangria, fried cheese with cranberry chutney and a shrimp cocktail.  The little outdoor bar sat on the right on the water and was frequented by the locals.  A couple of sangrias later we were ready for bed. 
This morning was lazy, I got up and had a couple of cups of coffee, computed and waited patiently on Jodi to rise and shine.  We decided to start out for old San Juan.  On the way we encountered  revolving blue lights, it appeared to be a police accompanied convoy of folks who were campaigning for the upcoming elections.  One vehicle had a HUGE boom box, and we passed them, and then stopped to get a better look.  They waved as if we were going to vote here as they drove by!  The driving here is CRAZY, no rhyme or reason for how the roads are set up, how people choose to pass, or  go around you on the right!  In addition, a 30 mile trip takes about an hour and a half.  My I-phone is working like a dream, both the new technology and the old, and we drove right into where we wanted to be.  There was a festival going on over the weekend and we got to do some local handicraft shopping, and listen to some music and theater, while we walked around.  We went to San Cristobal first and moseyed around, it was HOT and Humid with hardly a breeze.  It is amazing to see such an old edifice, to consider the history contained in the walls.  We were both starving, so I chatted up the national park employee at the fort and she suggested El Jarberita, a local place.  I had a veal stew and beans and rice, Jodi got all brave on me and tried Mofongo, which she seemed to like!  For dessert she tried Flan, a sure thing since she likes Creme Brulee.  Then we walked towards Castillo San Felipe del Morro which is along the waterfront.  


















Still being blessed by the festival, we were serenaded as we walked which was very pleasant.  The Castillo was closed when we arrived, however we enjoyed the sunset and the breeze afforded us as we sat and watched the sun go down.  As we walked back towards the music, we encountered these two modern lovebirds, all cozied up both intimately involved with their cell phones!  I had saved room for ice cream, which here is more of a sorbet, and the cocoanut ice was heavenly in the sticky heat.  We found a grocery, which was astonishingly compact, and well stocked.  One of my buddies said I was not going to find half and half here, and guess what?  I did!  So cream for my coffee in the morning!  We wandered in and out of a few souvenir shops and just as we were near our car park, it began to rain.  One more surprise was in store for us, as we drove home there was a parking lot full of school busses with the most amazing lighting!   Bed is calling, as I have an early dive time in the morning.

Weddings, Iguanas and Learning












video
The last three days have been long days of study for me and R&R for Jodi.  Until my last session the  the conference was been excellent, the venus beautiful and the meals that were included were pretty darn good for conference food.  Here food is very expensive  yet the IAFN conference planners found a way to have tasty satisfying meals in this environment.  Thursday lunch  was salad followed by pork and rice.  Friday we  had a salad and garlic bread followed by chicken with an Alfredo pasta.  and Alas today I did not get lunch.  We are definitely on “Island time” and by the time the server got to the table there was not time to order and get our food in time for me to get to the next session.  Yesterday we were so excited as there was the cutest wedding just outside our patio.  There is a labyrinth here right outside our patio, and it was all set up for something, the next thing I knew was there was some great music being played out there and people all dressed up arriving.  So we did what any good voyeur would do and we got out cameras and took pics of the wedding, it was a lovely small wedding, MIchael Buble sang It's you as she walked up to her groom.  The preacher spoke of sweet words and sweet kisses being an important part of a marriage, and then he put Puerto Rican honey on their pinkies and had them put it on their lips.   HE sent them off with a jar of Honey and I also heard him loud and clear promise to send more then it was gone.  AND that he would pray for them every day!  I had to go back to class, but later when I got back to the room, Jodi was out wandering, when I found her she was out on the big verandah and  we spotted multiple iguanas floating the trees having a snack.  For dinner Thursday evening we went to the Stingray Cafe, which was delish!  I had scallops accompanied by baby greens, and a fig dressing sitting on a bed of truffeled edame puree.  That and a glass of wine were perfect!  Last night the Indiana IAFN contingent ate at Le Piccolo Fontana.  They put us in a private glass room, which was nice for both us and the other patrons.  Jodi and I shared  a caprese salad, then Chicken Parmesan which was good enough.  We also shared a bottle of a tempranillo, which was very nice.  Today the conference is over, I went to all my sessions, but I had to leave the last one, it was just not what I thought I had signed up for, nor is it anything I can use.  So  skipped out on the break!  ( Edited by Jodi)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nuestro Adventura Puerto Riceano








We are in lovely, humid Puerto Rico for a IAFN scientific assembly. 
The 20th one to be exact.  The location is awesome, the hotel and room
exceeds my hopes and expectations and so far the conference food is
worthy of the caloric expenditure.
We arrived around 4:00pm yesterday after a long day of travel.   
Driving here has a few challenges but nothing terrible so far,   
we sat in traffic for around an hour because these folks merge and 
divide lanes without any apparent sineage however thanks to the I-phone
we easily found the hotel.  I am sure my Spanish doesn't hurt, but it does
not seem requisite either.  The hotel is huge and I am sure that neither of
us really have any idea as or yet what all there is to do here.
Diner last night was a joke, pizza half cheese and half sausage and 
mushroom so mucked up that I was reminded  that we are not in INdiana
any more.  My side was half and sauce and mushrooms on the crust. Not even any cheese
adorned that  bread!!!!  I KNOW better than ordering pizza out of the USA and
that I should not expect something similar to what I usually ingest.   
But not having to show my passport wooed me into a false sense of security!  
I slept like a baby and  woke raring to go.  Our  lunch was a lovely  
salad with fried cheese, fried plaintains and mango dressing   
(somehow there was a lingering flavor of bacon),  bread,  chicken with  
a sauce of wine & mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower, garlic 
mashed potatoes.   
DInner ended up being at the inhouse steak place called the Strip, we cheated however and for a puny $45.00 we shared a salad of lettuce, apple, grapes and candies walnuts, Jodi had a baked potato and I had Lobster Bisque.  Which was the best lobster bisque I have ever had, MAYYYYYBE it was worth it.  Oh yes, of course three was a nice Simi Chardonnay to go with.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Last Days






















 Last days are hard, it always seems like there is so much I want to see, do or get that even though we tried to have a relaxing last day, it did not work for us.  The first order of business was to go purchase the purses we had coveted all week.  We marched back to the 7th, back past Reed restaurant, to buy those purses.  I picked out a lovely tan leather and Jodi, well, gray, her favorite color!  Back to the apartment to drop them off, heaven forbid we scuff them.  Then back to the 6th to buy some Eiffel Tower glasses that I had been dreaming of for quite a while.  This store too, had been closed yesterday.  But they were open today and I bought all six for a mere 29 euros! They were not so fun to carry, and I shipped them home, so I PRAY that they all make it!  Next on the agenda was Luxembourg gardens for some R & R.  
On the way I had to “window lick” these desserts some.  They are just so lovely in a way we in the states NEVER take the time to prepare them.  I bought tow macarons;  banana, which was heavenly, (now to see if I can duplicate the flavor), and cherry -cassis which had a tiny cassis berry inside!  The wedding dresses in Paris always amaze me, one day we saw a young woman in the metro with a frothy white dress pouring out of a huge shopping bag.  IT was cool in the shade at the Medici Fountain.  Old Marie De Medici got around, staying at the Chateau de Vincennes, and now building Luxembourg Palace and this garden.  I am thinking she got a bad rap as a manipulative old biddy.  I, for one, appreciate her efforts in this particular garden.  I knitted, Jodi messed around taking photos and eating her new brand of Lays, Bolognese.  We loitered for quite a while, until the lure of the souvenir shops became too strong.  We found the things we wanted or thought we needed, and headed for Pont Neuf to tell Paris good bye.  My  sorrowful farewell was interrupted by a young miss who was waiting on a lover.  She just marched right up, right in and plopped down right between the both of us.  Eventually he too showed up and we were witness to some serious sucer face (sucking of face).  We loitered there for a while, until  hunger overtook me, but in all fairness it was 9 PM.  I was not sure we were going to find somewhere to serve us, but the Italian joint up the street from us, I had been eyeing all week, was gracious and fed us!  We went back satiated and watched my girlfriend put on one last show for us before we went to bed and I began dreaming of my next visit.