The healing power of San Juan's Isla Verde beaches

San Juan Travel Blog

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In memory of my best friend 11/1/1993 - 8/21/2009.

A beach in San Juan was the last place I expected to be on Wednesday of last week, but as life unfolds before us sometimes the winds of change take us in a new, unexpected, and sometimes painful direction.  When the going gets tough, this woman gets on a plane.  So here I found myself headed as far away from Wisconsin as I could afford to get on a moment's notice.

This blog is inspired in the memory of my best, loyal friend of 15 1/2 years, Hunter who I lost within 24 hours. That is when my world came to shattering alteration.  For the last 14 years she was never sick, never mad, never left my side or failed to comfort me with her nonjudgmental friendship during my times of tragedy, fear or folly.

El Morro from my window seat.

Suddenly I found myself in an empty, lifeless house and I simply had to leave it......and quickly.  I found cheap airfare from Airtran and seized the opportunity to run away from my sorrows.  After snagging airline tickets I booked the hotel through priceline for $85 a night which landed me at the San Juan Water and Beach Club.

If you see the 400+ pictures posted and read this rambling blog, then you have come to realize that my senses were heightened by my pain and I bordered on obsessed during this journey.  I distracted my heart with history of this city which welcomed me.  I thought I would be sitting in my hotel room crying my eyes out.  What I found was the healing affect and compassion of strangers who were also staying at the hotel.
The port of Old San Juan.
They took me under their wings and taught me how to smile and laugh again.  For the next several days, though I did not forget my loss, I was able to cope, to enjoy, and to live with gusto again....

And so we begin....... I ditched my house on Sunday afternoon and headed to Milwaukee.  I parked in economy parking near the airport and took a free shuttle to my hotel where I chose to spend the night near the airport so I could easily catch my 7am flight the following morning.  I am certainly seeing the benefits of priceline...... I snagged a 3* Wyndam for $35 a night here and so enjoyed a relaxing evening away from home (very important!) and arrived at the airport bright eyes and relaxed, ready to go.  Airtran is who I bought my flight through and I have to admit that it sure was a hassle-free airline.
  No mad rush at the gates, no swamping of the gate desk.... it was so simple.  With my window seat view enroute to Orlando I managed to close my eyes and sleep and the plane shortly after takeoff. When I felt the plane dipping I knew I had nearly arrived in Florida already and was ready to enjoy the sights of palm trees.  With a 2 hour layover I explored the MCO (Orlando) airport and was quickly reminded that Orlando is the city of kids.  I had never seen another airport so chuck full of children before!  Since I wasn't the in mood to buy Mickey Mouse stuff I passed on the big purchases, however, I did break down and buy a travel blanket in one of the stores and it was worth every penny.  I ended up being comfortable for the next three legs of my trip because of it.
What I saw of my room upon entry at 4pm at the San Juan Water and Beach Club - beautiful!

Upon boarding the next plane to San Juan which was on time, I again enjoyed my window seat. Takeoff afforded great views of the city, the coastline, and the travel grid on the ground.  Since there was a fair amount of cloud cover higher up on this flight I couldn't see much so I took the opportunity, along with the two empty seats next to me, to get some more sleep.  I only woke up to take advantage of beverage service :o)

On this flight the Pilot announced we were flying at an altitude of 41,000 feet, the highest I had ever flown.  We cruised at 500 miles an hour.  How wonderful that we arrived in San Juan in two hours thirty minutes and arrived at the gate twenty minutes ahead of schedule.  This gave me time to catch a cab to the hotel, check in at my leisure, marvel at my really cool looking blue room, take a shower, and head straight to the rooftop bar for the free daily happy hour between 5 and 6pm.

With minutes of arriving on the rooftop a band of strangers surrounded me and initiated conversation. Travelers in the Caribbean are such a happy lot. Their enthusiam spills over and onto anyone within proximity. I needed that today.  In short order I found myself smiling and laughing again. 

By the end of happy hour this new batch of fast friends wandered down the street to tiny little open-air bars along the beach just a few blocks from the hotel. I enjoyed the stories these extraverts shared and marveled at the mix of people who found each other in San Juan that week.  We certainly all had something in common.  We were all running to the sun to forget for a while. One was a new widow from New Orleans, two were father and son reuniting with a short leave upon the son's return from Afghanistan who came from Kansas, one was a jilted chef from Washington DC, and two were a floundering couple from Chicago trying to rekindle a failing marriage.  

-to be continued-

missandrea81 says:
Sorry to hear about your loss. :( I'm glad San Juan got your mind off it a little bit. :)
Posted on: Dec 04, 2009
pbug31 says:
sorry to hear about your lose. sounds like you really got great deals through priceline. ill have to check it out more.
Posted on: Sep 19, 2009
dieforu says:
woow great bog!weldone!!
Posted on: Sep 08, 2009
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In memory of my best friend 
In memory of my best friend 11/…
El Morro from my window seat.
El Morro from my window seat.
The port of Old San Juan.
The port of Old San Juan.
What I saw of my room upon entry a…
What I saw of my room upon entry …
San Juan
photo by: sethwd2