STORY AND PHOTOS BY NOEL SPENCER, STEPHANIE SPENCER, INDIA BROWN AND JONAY VENEY.
DAY 2: JUNE 21, 2013 OLD SAN JUAN
After breakfast we catch the bus to Old San Juan. Old San Juan is one of the oldest cities in America, and it’s the place where Columbus discovered the Americas. In Old San Juan we visited Castillo de San Cristobal, a fort made to protect Puerto Rico from being colonized by European countries. Inside there was a dungeon, to hold European soldiers captive. Inside the dungeons were drawings of boats and people names. From the roof of the fort there was a great view of the north and east of the island, were the sea is. They had cut outs in the wall to put canons to fire cannonballs at enemy ships.
After leaving the fort, we headed to Puerto Rican restaurant, where I experienced some of the greatest Puerto Rican chicken. It was well battered with curry powder and other spices and fried hard, making it crispy on the outside and juicy in the inside. After eating, we walked to a trolley stop and along the way we had homemade ice cream, which was sold on the street. This frozen treat was bursting with delicious fruity favors that made your mouth water. After getting of the trolley we went shopping! I wanted something authentic, so I waited until we got to the street vendors. I watched a man hand-make my new bracelet out of stainless steal and stones, and watched another man make all kinds of knick-knacks out of glass. You’d be surprised how much you can do with fire.
With the day coming to an end, my room mate and I went to the beach to relax in the sunset, and say our last goodbyes to San Juan.
- Noel Spencer, sophomore, Friendship Collegiate Academy
Today we had a beautiful breakfast on the beach at our hotel. I had French toast with fruit and scrambled eggs. We discussed what we were going to do today. We decided we were going to go visit Old San Juan. After breakfast we caught the bus to Old San Juan and went sightseeing. Old San Juan had a lot of souvenir shops and a bunch of vendors. It is a very historic place and a lot of tourists go there to visit. We all went to a fort located in Old and Juan and learned a facts about how and why it was made. The fort was built to protect San Juan from other countries. It had taken them over 100 years to build it. Later that night we had dinner at the Marriot. We all ate at their buffet. The food was very good. There were foods that were there that I had never even heard of. It was all very good. As we were at the table conversing we realized that we all had a lot in common. We all had many plates with a lot of different food—octopus, prime ribs, salad, dinner rolls, and other tasty foods. We all socialized and had a great time!
- Stephanie Spencer, sophomore, Friendship Collegiate Academy.
Today, waking up the beautiful city of San Juan and to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach was absolutely great. We had breakfast at the hotel we were staying in—The Atlantic Beach Hotel. I had the chocolate chip pancakes with fresh cut fruits and it was marvelous. The next move of the day was to go the historic site of the Castillo de San Cristobal, a fort here in San Juan. We learned that the fort took over 100 years to build. We learned slaves built it and it’s under than 500 years old. We also saw that the fort had wonderful architecture. The way it was designed was also interesting. While there, we got a chance to tour the dudgeon that was inside the fort to see where they keep trespassers. We took many pictures while we were there. On our way to the fort my fellow travel mates stopped to get some authentic Puerto Rican ice cream. From what I heard it was quit good. In addition to seeing the fort we also got to tour another fort that was nearby. The other fort was just as amazing as the first. On our way we got to explore more of the city. We took a bus… yes a bus to a fort. It was actually nice to do something familiar. There public transportation is just like ours in Washington DC. At the end of our day, we came back to the hotel to relax and go the beach. Over all I had a fabulous day. I can’t wait to tell you about tomorrow.
-India Brown, 8th grade graduate, Friendship Chamberlain Academy.
Today we went to the old town of San Juan. There were lots of nice vendors outside selling historical pieces and things they made by hand. We walked through the streets of Old San Juan and stopped in a few stores. I brought a hand-crafted suede purse. The design on it really stood out to me. The day we arrived in Puerto Rico a man was telling us a bit about the tradition and he mentioned a frog. He said it represented peace and played a big part in their culture. I also got some really nice soap. I watched a lady make it herself. She said it was supposed to make you feel relaxed. We also visited Castillo de San Cristobal, a fort. It was really big. It was built by slaves to protect the citizens of Puerto Rico from other countries. It took up to 100 years to be built. After that we went out to dinner at the Marriott. It was a seafood buffet. I tried a lot of different foods that I always said I would never try. The desert was great. After we finished, we sat at the table for about 20 minutes and had a good conversation. Then we walked back to our hotel rooms and got ready for our next adventure.
- Jonay Veney, sophomore, Friendship Collegiate Academy.