My Nightmare Vacation to Puerto Rico in 2021 – Part III – Welcome to Paradise

We got in, drank some water, and slept. The next morning we were elated to have survived our long trip and have 3 or so days to enjoy the beach, local culture and in general relax. The COVID Lock-down had been tough on everyone, but this was a chance to breathe fresh air and generally enjoy a somewhat normal life.

Can you actually be mad at that view??? In complete transparency, this might have been a sunset after the sun was down, but damn it’s a great view.

After waking up and being grateful for our wonderful accommodations our property manager sent a text and we briefly relayed what had happened up to this point. She took the time to get out and bring us a hot breakfast of eggs and sausage in some to-go containers, bread, milk, and some deli meat. It wasn’t Michelin starred, but it was very kind of her and much appreciated.

Once we had realized how helpless we were I began calling around to car rental locations attempting to secure any vehicle. This is happening after COVID and most rental agencies had sold off a lot of their fleet since no one was traveling nor renting cars. Great business, horrible situation for us.

I finally reached the Hertz at the local airport and they had a car coming back that afternoon. I’ll take it! Now, how to get to the airport and get the rental? I called a taxi company and they could get a guy to us at about 2pm. Things are starting to look up for our vacation.

My taxi driver showed up and after he got through security (they called us to verify), I hopped in the car still hoping I wasn’t about to lose any organs. Fortunately he was very kind and chatty. Given we’re on an island I made sure to ask him for a seafood place recommendation. He suggested Gonzalez’s Sea Food Restaurant (that’s their spelling on Google Maps). Excellent. He told me about his days watching baseball at the local stadium we drove by, talked highly of Yadier Molina, and finally got me to the Hertz without issue.

I went in and the counter person was very friendly. He helped me understand the tollway surcharges, we went over the car looking for any imperfections, and checked the gas level. Aside – be sure to note any imperfections when renting a car in PR. They are very particular about that where I have never had anyone care when I rented a car here in the mainland.

Before I left the tiny airport I asked the Hertz representative if he had any seafood recommendations. Once again, to my surprise, he recommended Gonzalez’s. Sold. That would be dinner to get us on solid footing for our long needed vacation from COVID and everyday life.

On my way back to the condo I stopped at a little local grocer and picked up some things. Some food items, sunscreen, and odds and ends for our stay until our luggage made it down to us after being lost. Despite my stupidity in not learning Spanish, the employees were very friendly and helpful. I had some basics and we could head to the closest Wal-mart the next day for anything else. Plastic film bags are essentially outlawed, so be sure to bring your own bags. No one told me, but I made it to the car.

Back at the condo Jen and I hopped in the car and headed to Wal-mart. Other than some regional items, it’s the same as back in Illinois. This made it easy to go through and get some clothes, toiletries, and then on our way to the condo. The drive was scenic and quite beautiful up and down the streets and ocean side roads.

We changed and prepared to head to dinner. Finally our vacation is on track and we can enjoy ourselves. We plugged Gonzalez into Maps and headed out to dinner. When we arrived the restaurant was packed even with it being an hour until close. Oh well. We got in and seated within 30 minutes. I ordered steak – yes, I know. Steak at a seafood restaurant? Look, I’m not that into seafood, but Jen is so here we are now. Jen ordered a shrimp plate and we ordered sangria. While waiting we had some bread and the complimentary seafood stew.

The sangria tasted like alcoholic grape soda. The fish stew was very good though. My steak was tough and the shrimp was inedible. Oh well. A misfire, but vacation is started! We laughed and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere despite dinner.

We headed back to the condominium and got ready for a fun day ahead. Plans of glass bottom boat tours, time on the beach, bio-luminescent pools and general relaxation is the agenda. Let the good times roll!

How can you NOT be excited with a view like that?