San Juan, Puerto Rico (2019)

dsc_0673Another month since my last blogpost, but at least I haven’t gone on a bunch of trips and run into a backlog of posts just yet – I’ve just been acclimating to student life! It’s been pretty busy, but mostly just on the academics side for now; this term is really more of a quarter, and we’re packing in a full semester’s worth of class in a few short weeks. We’re running into our first final this week, and I’ve decided to take a break from reviewing the material to catch up on this post.

So far I’ve done pretty well in keeping true to what I set out to do during my MBA – I’m excited to focus on learning what can help me post-grad, and I’m only pursuing extracurricular activities that I’m truly interested in (starting up the first AAPI Affinity Group, participating in admissions events, etc). The social aspect hasn’t geared up just quite yet, as I’m more focused on making authentic connections rather than networking like crazy. It’s only been a month and it’s felt like it’s gone much too fast – I’m taking advantage of as much as possible because it still does feel like a vacation (no Sunday scaries here, really) even during some really intense weeks.

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Now going back almost 2 months at this point, when my girlfriends JL and IT took our annual girls trip. This year we decided to go somewhere in the Carribbean. Originally I’d planned on going to the Virgin Islands first for a week, then going to Puerto Rico for an extended weekend, but I decided I needed to save some money before bschool so I just met up with them in Puerto Rico. It had been 5 years since I went to Puerto Rico last, with a group of friends from college. This time we focused on relaxing rather than going all around the island and sightseeing, which isn’t usually my vibe on vacation but I was happy to do so since it was just for a few days.

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we had so much free time that I even went to the gym multiple times on vacation…what!?

We stayed in the El San Juan Hotel in Isla Verde, which is one of the best urban beaches in the world. It was very convenient to drive here from the airpot (a 5-minute uber ride away), and the resort was beachside with many pools. We spent pretty much half of our time here lounging around the pool and drinking cocktails. The location was nice, but it wasn’t one of my favorite Hilton resorts – I found the service to be a bit lacking.

It was interesting visiting Puerto Rico this time, because I felt like I was more in tune with the political history of the US…Puerto Rico is a US territory and has to pay US taxes, but doesn’t get any US benefits! This was especially apparent in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which was a few years ago at this point but from which the island is still recovering. At least tourism is helping a bit, but what’s up with this modern-day imperialism??

Anyway. One day we rented a car (around $50 a day) from our hotel to drive to El Yunque Rainforest. A lot of the roads here were still recovering from the hurricane, so we didn’t get to do many of the hikes I wanted to – plus there was a huge rainstorm coming in. We still climbed up La Coca waterfall and part of the Mt. Britton trial. Bring swimsuits to enjoy La Mina falls, when it finally opens again!

One our way back, we stopped by some delicious roadside barbeque place, where we had some of the best yucca I’ve ever eaten.

delicious mofongo

roadside BBQ

In the evenings, we would go out to Old San Juan and explore the area. Old San Juan is extremely walkable, and many restaurants are on the same streets. We enjoyed many nights of mofongo; there were some very wonderful affordable restaurants, some of which you need a reservation for. We also enjoyed some sections of the city where the bars spilled into the streets.

We also visited La Placita, an area for dancing and bars a little outside of Old San Juan but on our way back to our hotel. This was probably the most “authentic” place we visited – the last time I was here for spring break, we spent most of our partying time at Senor Frogs!!

5 years ago in Puerto Rico!
reunited with Senor Frogs

Overall, while we didn’t run around and visit all the snorkeling places, it was still wonderful to get some quality girl time in. It’s really interesting because as the years go on, our lives have diverged quite a bit…it’ll be interesting to see where we end up in a few years!

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