STORY AND PHOTOS BY NOEL SPENCER, STEPHANIE SPENCER, INDIA BROWN AND JONAY VENEY.
DAY 1: JUNE 20, 2013. PALM TREES, SAND AND THE BEACH
We walk outside the airport and the smell of the ocean hits us like a brick. I look around and see palm trees and sand, it gives you the mindset of Miami. The sky is as blue as their water. The temperature was perfect, warm with a nice tropical breeze.
We arrive at the Atlantic Beach Hotel. The rooms are a little tiny and the elevator runs slow, but with the amazing view of the beach, I cannot complain. The beach is beautiful in San Juan— crystal blue water, soft sand and calming waves. The smell of salt water intoxicates us and we all agree the beach is the place to be.
In Puerto Rico, one of their most famous traditions is salsa dancing. They sway their hips and rock their bodies to the peppy, up-beat, Puerto Rican music. We decided to go salsa dancing and get a taste of Puerto Rico’s culture. We arrive at El San Juan Hotel and Casino, which is famous for having salsa dancing in their lobby. As we arrived, we saw the Puerto Rican band getting prepared to rock the lobby. Now, here’s where things started to turn. When we arrived, we thought it started at 7, but after talking to a representative we were informed that it actually starts at 9. So we waited, and waited and waited, until it is finally 9pm. We made our way back to the lobby, just to be told it started at 10! We decided to go back to the hotel and call it a night.
- Noel Spencer, sophomore, Friendship Collegiate Academy.
When our plane landed in San Juan, Puerto Rico I didn’t know what to expect. Then, when we got off the plane and looked at the beautiful scenery, it was like a tropical paradise. San Juan was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Our ride to the Atlantic Beach Hotel was even educational because we got to see some of the culture in the neighborhoods nearby. The hotel staff and service was excellent. I would recommend this to a friend. After we got settled into our rooms we headed straight for the restaurant downstairs at our hotel. The food was very 4-star quality. The next move of the day was to go to the fabulous-looking beach. After some play time at the beach the next thing on our agenda was to go learn how to salsa.
When the day ended I was very excited about the day we had. It was so much fun. The beach was absolutely beautiful. The hotel rooms were cold but still cozy. I would love to wake up to this every morning. I am in love with San Juan, Puerto Rico and we just met a few hours ago. I definitely look forward to getting to know more about this beautiful city. I can’t wait til’ the next day of adventures. Who knows what I’ll learn next?
- India Brown, 8th grade graduate, Friendship Chamberlain Academy.
Today I woke up really early in the morning around 3:30. I was already dressed so I could pick up Jonay and catch our flight to Boston, Massachusetts at 7:20 am. Then we caught our flight to Boston, Massachusetts to San Juan, Puerto Rico. We had a good flight. It is amazing flying through clouds. Just before landing we saw the city where we are staying and we give it a look from above. Once we landed in San Juan, we caught a taxi to our hotel. We were all discussing the restaurants we saw on the way to our hotel. We are staying at the Atlantic Beach Hotel. It is right on the beach. It is a beautiful hotel and the people are very nice. Once we all checked in and got settled, we ate lunch. We ate chicken wings and talked about how our flight was this morning. After lunch we went to the beach located in front of our hotel. The sand is very white and the water is very salty and clear. Everyone on the beach looked relaxed and seemed to be enjoying themselves. After we played on the beach, we went to our small rooms, freshened up and dressed up to go Salsa dancing at the Hilton hotel. Once we got to the Hilton and realized that we could not salsa until 9 pm, we lingered around the hotel until then. I saw this really nice purse that was on sale for $25 and I bought it. There were lot of dressed up people who looked happy going to different events throughout the hotel and the city. Once we found out the Salsa dancing started at 10:00 pm, we went back to our hotel and went to sleep.
- Stephanie Spencer, sophomore, Friendship Collegiate Academy.
I woke up at 3:30am to get myself ready to leave out at 4:45am. I got dressed by 4 am. I sat with my mom and brother for about 20 mintues, just talking about the trip. I left out at 4:38am. I arrived at the airport at exactly 5 o’clock. Stephanie and I waited at the airport for Ms. Kaufman and the others to get there. When they arrived, we checked our bags and from there we were on our way to catch a flight to Boston. We had to go through security first. It wasn’t so bad. I had a window seat on the plane to Boston. The view was amazing. We were over the clouds. If you looked out far enough you could see the way the earth curved. It was a beautiful sight. When we landed in Boston, everyone rushed to the bathroom and Dunkin’ Donuts, but we did not have long before we all lined up to get on the plane. The flight from Boston to San Juan was 4 hours long. Sadly, I did not have a window seat. I seat beside a couple who recently got married after a 15 year friendship. They were really nice people. I was ‘sleep for the majority of the flight. I woke from my nap with really bad stomach pains. I’m still not sure what that came from, but before I knew it the flight was over. We got our luggage. Everyone found their things with no problem. Finally, we got to the Atlantic Beach Hotel. The view was beautiful and the lobby was really nice. Everyone went to change into bathing suits and we then gathered up for dinner. The food was good, and the service was fine. After dinner we all went out to the beach. The sand between my toes, the wind blowing my hair and the clear cool water felt great! Everyone went back up to the hotel rooms to get dressed for Salsa dancing. We all met back up in the lobby. Everyone was dressed and looked beautiful.
- Jonay Veney, sophomore, Friendship Collegiate Academy.