September 19, 2004
I kinda slept in a bit today, getting up at 11:00a. The four hour time difference, the hella long flight (after getting up at 3:30a), and the blacked out room made getting up early to tour around a bit of a non-starter. I can't remember the last time I slept in that late; usually the kids won't allow it.
I went up to visit El Morro, the huge fort that protects San Juan harbor. It's pretty amazing, but unfortunately the power was still out, so it wasn't open. After a nice lunch of a local pork dish at El Patio de Sam and some shopping, I headed over to the Bacardi distillery for a tour and a little tasting.
They do a nice job here; the tour is complimentary as are two drink tickets. They have a big pavilion where you can enjoy nice rum drinks and taste all but the highest end Bacardi rums. Unfortunately, the new visitor's center was damaged in the storm and closed; however, they still had a nice tour showing the distillery, teaching people when the use the different Bacardi rums in different drinks (e.g. Bacardi light for dry drinks, Bacardi Gold for sweet drinks, Bacardi Limon anywhere you'd use vodka, Bacardi O anywhere you'd use gin, etc. The tips are on their website too.) The gift shop was a nice surprise too; unlike most factory gift shops, the prices were very reasonable. The rum, in particular, was a super value compared to buying it at home. Even better, they had several varieties that aren't available or are hard to find in Washington. Picked up a bunch of those...
After my little tour, I hopped back in the car and drove out to Mayaguez, home of the University of Puerto Rico. This is a 2.5 hour drive. This is the first time I've driven somewhere I don't speak the language, significant since the road signs are in Spanish. As a little tip for those who would do this, learn the cardinal directions in the local language if nothing else. "Exit" and "Only" are good too. I got to my hotel without too many issues despite the fact the stupid website had the location of the hotel completely wrong. When I unpacked my suitcase, I discovered all my clothes were extremely damp after having been in my trunk all day in the super humid (although not raining!) weather. Had to iron everything to dry them out.
Once again, I was mislead by the hotel advertising as once again, "high speed internet access" means they have fast access somewhere in the hotel. Once again, it was one computer in their "business center." This business center was just their sales office with an extra computer. I'm hooked in via dial-up in the room now; no fun.
Oh well, time to review my notes for tomorrow and go to sleep. Big day of grilling college students tomorrow...