It still lingers in my head... It's people, it's history, the way it sounded it felt. What a unique spot Old San Juan is. And yet, it feels familiar. I kept thinking that if Charleston, New Orleans, and Costa Rica had a child, it would resemble something like Old San Juan. The ports and rich history of Charleston came to mind upon seeing the many forts still standing here. The colorful buildings and old brick paved roads, constant music echoing in the distance, the friendly people each so comfortable in their own skin, the unrelenting heat- it all reminded me of New Orleans. And it felt tropical, like Costa Rica with better beverages and not so great food... the flora and fauna, the feel of an ocean close by... that feeling that always lingers in your mind and body that you.are.on.an island.
There was also a Latin flare I seem to realize I had been missing all along... It's alive here and it felt good to be in her presence. We often went to bed with loud music driving by outside our hotel and woke up to a lively Spanish mass across the street - this was the moment I realized that hugs do in fact make a sound when done properly. It made me think of when I would stay with my grandmother and there was always music playing in the background, sometimes more than one radio or turntable played simultaneously... And my grandmother's whistling would morph from one room to the next accompanying whatever was playing. She always looked ready to walk on a hot, humid street, hug strangers, whittle away sentences in Spanish rapidly and then laugh until she began to choke. Really. And this is what I remembered at every turn... Maybe that's why I instantly fell in love with this special place and its people. Surrounded by all the voices mixing together creating their own tune, heavy bass fading in and out, cumbias and claves mixing and meddling in each other's not-so-private worlds...into our room...into my memories.