Saturday, May 31, 2008

Puertorican Burrito

Last night I had a Puertorican burrito was consisted of shredded pork in a split plantain and then smoothed in chili and cheese. Quite good.

Peggy and Jerry's

How could I forget? Best roadside fried food in the area is at Peggy and Jerry's. The stand is built right in front of a house with no parking or anything. Instead, cars pull way to the right and park with a couple of wheels on the curb (partially blocking the right lane -- but this appears to be normal parking style around here). Excellent meat-on-a-stick with hot sauce served with a piece of garlic bread. The chicken and pork are great and cheaper than the shrimp which was not quite a good. And, of course, large pina coladas (we added our our rum back in the room).

A Trip to San Juan and an near brush with fame...

After our El Yunque tour, we decided to head to San Juan for dinner and to look around. We really did not have a planned destination our itinerary so we just randomly headed to the wharf. After finding what looked like a nice "touristy" area, we decided to stop and wonder around. It was a pretty nice area including an old defensive wall (part of a fortress I think). There was quite a bit of commotion which we couldn't figure out. Well, it turns that one of the potential presidential candidates was scheduled to make an appearance practically where we stood. Pretty cool. We decided to hear what she had to say. As luck would have have it, because of my earlier dip in the waterfall, I had emptied my pockets of everything include a small knife I usually have. I am not sure it would have mattered, but I'm glad it was back in the car. The downside is that all-though we endured two-and-a-half hours of standing around listening to too loud of very energetic music, still no candidate. Finally, due to having had a long day, we gave up and left.

It turns out, her plane was delayed in New York due to runway problems and she was over an hour late for a 10 minute appearance. Still, had we known we probably would have stayed a bit longer or have given her more leeway. Such is life. (On the other hand, we are really supports of that other guy in the race; had it been him, we probably would have stayed much longer.)

El Yunque Tour

Yesterday, we went on a tour of El Yunque National forest. Pretty amazing place. The day started with the usual craziness including, trying to find the Westin (we had to drive to the Westin to meet the tour). Then once we were on the bus, we were taken off the bus because our tour voucher was different from the rest of the people (there was a MetLife convention going on at the other hotel). But very shortly, we were returned to the bus. Craziness.

The tour was great though. The tour guide, Manny, was entertaining and a reasonably knowledgeable about the area. Some interesting facts: the park was established in 1903. The area gets 200+ inches of rain per year (it did rain lightly on us while we were there, but for the most part it was gorgeous weather). We saw among other things, bananas, coffee (hmmm... coffee), numerous "house" plants, palms, ferns, teak, snails, and a walking stick.

We hiked down to a waterfall as a group. Some of the group was slower, but it forced us to keep a leisurely pace. At the waterfall, after a little hesitation, I swam around a bit. The water was not heated, but the air was a warm 80 something. It was fun and refreshing. Though I dealt with damp clothes for hours afterwards (I am guessing in Colorado, I would have dried out in an hour or so).

While leaving the rain forest, we bought some fried "tacos" at a roadside stand. Yummy!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vacation like you mean it

Today was very successful on the vacation front. We wondered around the resort grounds marveling in the wonders of the tropics. Then we took a water taxi over to a small island and hung around on the beach. Since it is off season, we practically had the place to ourselves (there might have been 40 people on the island).

At long last, a vacation

Well, yesterday, Kummi and I headed off for Puerto Rico! Yeah!

After a, ah, hectic departure (getting to the gate 10 minutes before boarding by cutting corners), and a long day of flying, we arrived in San Juan around 9 or so.

Then the real fun began. We had to drive to the hotel from airport. I decided to opt for the navigation system. Unbeknownst to us, the navigation system was not actually tracking and continued to give us completely useless (and static) directions. You'd think that a device whose primary function is to communicate with the GPS network for the purpose of navigation would info the user that it was not performing that task! And declare it boldly and loudly.

So, we used the laptop and the Sprint/EVO card to try to figure out how to get to the hotel. That worked. Sort of. Well, we did get on the right highway. Just headed in the wrong direction. We did get a nice tour of some of the older parts of San Juan; just at night while we were tired.

I finally stopped and fiddled with the laptop and nav device enough to get both working. (It was at this point, I figured out the reason the navigation device was not working was because it had managed to turn off the GPS. Again, you'd think that the device would tell that it was not actually navigating.) Once we had this fixed, live was quite a bit better for a time. The maps in the navigation device were dated, and it was awfully confused for a while (so we stopped and confirmed using the laptop and Google maps). But we finally made it to the right town.

Unfortunately, the nav device once again lead us astray and we ended up in kind of a strange residential area. Back to the computer to sort it out again. After a few more missed turns, we finally checked in around 0:30 (we probably should have been able to accomplish this feat by 23:00, but...)

After a rather difficult journey, we were greeted by this view from our window.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Map your self!

I have been interested in GPS and mapping for many, many years now. However, showing a GPS route on a real map has always seemed too complex (requiring too much hacking, too much work, blah!). I see some real potential towards solving this using I'd like to kick out kml files with graphs and stats about the run.