SAN JUAN-EL YUNQUE (Caribbean National Forest)


2. Day

 San Juan ; In the rain forests...

We get to know that by time that many tropical forests are perishing and we feel sorry about it; however, the trees that have remained are a sequence of beauty. When viewed over from the top, they look like a carpet. These trees are Poinciana, flaming red blooms, African tulips…They grow only here in USA.  Other trees are breadfruit, guanabanas, papayas, sea grapes, and star apples. There are many beautiful flowers in Puerto Rico, orchids and poinsettias.  The plants that we try to grow with great care in our houses or gardens are in forest sizes here.  Glass beauties, banana trees, pineapple trees are some that I can recognize.  Natural springs, rocks and the plant cover red flowers that are spurting out among them are marvelous.













We spend the other half of the day strolling on the seaside.  Then we move towards 6 miles east, to Fajardo, a region with many boats and marines.  The beautiful beaches are at Luquillo, which is surrounded with coconut trees.  

Along the roads, we see many kiosks where lots of local foods and dishes are being sold.  Mostly fried type of dishes; seafood, pineapple, bananas, coconut milk…  Piononos (wrapped meat and cheese) and pinchos (shish kebap!) are their most famous food…                      



It is mid December.  It is holiday time for us but the people of Puerto Rico live the winter season now; therefore, the coasts are not very crowded.

We ask our guide where the local people are… He says that they are making their Christmas shopping at the malls, that is at shopping centers...

The summer houses are firmly closed, with the exception of newly built houses of very rich people. The architecture of the houses is quite interesting. They are just like concrete ice boxes... All the windows are closed with iron fences and covered with sound shutters. The houses are embedded on concrete columns; they are built above the ground and guarded against water floods and wood-eating termites. Their gardens are not built on the road side but on the courtyards. 
These houses seemed quiet unattractive to me and reminded me cold air depots.

Obviously there are many beautiful manor houses here in the forest and at the seaside and in general they are inside the golf resorts.

When we return to the hotel, we throw ourselves to the waves at the seashore.  It is impossible to swim. We make a race of staying on the water with the gigantic waves moving towards the shore.  When we get out of the sea, we feel as if we have had a deep massage.  We walk on the rusty fine sands under palm trees and collect sea shells and stones.  

We have our meals at various restaurants in the hotel.  The sounds of the small frogs (Coqui) are getting mixed with the music.

The most enjoyable thing is to sit in the preheated jacuzzi by the pool at night and watch the stars and the full moon.

An article from NY Times which we took as a reference to our jouney.

Tülin Erkaya

December 2006 




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