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E&J Adventures: Birthdays are meant to be special

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Puerto Rico 2021

PR 2021 E’s bday trip starts off pretty well, it’s a little ironic how when we think we are early we seem to make it right on time (and if we’re on time we’re actually probably gonna be late)! It’s the most frustrating notion ever but it’s completely us.

So we land in PR about 1:15 ish, we had a layover in Orlando but nothing particularly noteworthy of mentioning happened there. When we land we wait FOREVER for my bag. Honestly I thought it may have been stolen how long it took for us to get the dang bag (and how quickly Emmanuel had gotten his). You see, I had bought a new bag just for this trip and it was dull and Gray much like every other bag on the belt. I tried adding a bag tag and a ribbon to make it more memorable but it still blended in with all the others. Once my bag finally arrives, now we have to fill out a declaration form basically stating that I have had a COVID19 pcr and no Covid symptoms. This I guess is the new norm for international travel. It’s shockingly not as painful as I imagined and we quickly moved through the verification line.

So far the trip is essentially unscathed, everything is flowing as it should and I’m working on pepping myself up mentally because all of the pre-planning for this trip was a bit exhausting. We get outside of the airport and start trying to figure out where we pickup our rental car. I had booked the car several weeks earlier and for the life of me could not remember the name of the company... I booked it through Expedia and it wasn’t one of the big car rental companies. It must have been costly or something because I tend to stick to what I know unless it’s affordable. Combing through emails finally figure out that it is Europcar (an offsite rental company). Now we need to hunt down a shuttle to get us to the location. Sounds easy enough right? WRONG 😑. There are so many different companies with shuttles and on different sides of the street and the signs are not marked very well. Time is slowly ticking away as we wait and inquire with strangers who may or may not speak English about which shuttle is the one for our company. Fast forward to us finally hunting down the right shuttle, give our names to the driver (they have a list of all people with bookings) and hop on the bus. When the bus is about half full the drive informs me that my reservation has been canceled and basically tells us to get off the bus. Daze and confused I’m trying to figure out wtf just happened and why my reservation was cancelled. I check my email, no message on the reservation being canceled. Driver was like call your third party company and see what happened (but still booted us off the bus smh).

So now I’m trying to decide is it worth figuring out what happened or should I just look for another company, preferably on-site if possible. Wheels are churning in my head as I try to decide my next move when E looks at me and says “did you call them?”. Screw it, I guess I should call but honestly I don’t care about the call, time is ticking away and we have our photo shoot at 5P. I make the call, no answer so I leave a VM and recommend just going with another company. Cool. We both start looking for another company and BAM I find one. Apparently SouthWest gives you extra points if you book a rental car through them... and it’s actually cheaper than what Emmanuel was getting. So I go to book the car for now, because at the moment we’re stranded and need the car NOW lol. Unfortunately, you can’t order a car within the hour and it is now 2:07... I can’t order our car until 3:30 (Damn 7 minutes). Fine. I’ll take what I can get. My palms are getting sweaty, heart beat racing and anxiety going through the roof. Remain calm, remain calm, REMAIN CALM. Woosah! Deep breaths. E suggests, just call them and ask can we pick the car up now. Simple enough. Done ✔️ we can pick the car up now. Now back to hunting for our shuttle bus (a new one this time). Look for a bus with sunflower shades.

More time passes, clock ticks away and I’m not even sure that we’re on the right side of the street to catch our bus! I’m internally freaking out but decide to try and go ask again where I should be looking for the shuttle. I’m directed to the WRONG side of the street. I see the bus coming and try to rush to it only find out there there is a long line waiting to get on same said bus. 🥲😪 We have to decide if we’re going to be THOSE people and cut the line or get in the back where we belong. We’re good people so you already know what we did. Everyone in line fit on the bus EXCEPT us. More waiting. It’s like 3ish before the next shuttle comes. Luckily the actual location of the new rental car company isn’t super far away from the airport.

Now we pull up to THE MOST rinky dink car company I have ever seen (Payless Car Rental). It’s in the name I know but still! Lol so due to COVID only one person in your party is allowed in the building at a time. Bet. I get it. When I tell you this is the most inefficient company ever. I’m waiting in line for like forever as just about every individual ahead of me is having some issue with getting there rental car. I’m getting nervous, like what it going on! Luckily when I finally arrived at the counter I was able to get our car pretty quickly. The paperwork part anyway. Getting the actually car was about 20-30 more minutes of waiting and getting the car inspected before finally getting the car.

We arrive at our AirBNB in Condado, It’s nearly 4 now, maybe like 3:45ish and we still need showers, get dressed, and drive to the location of our photo shoot. I know we’re gonna be late now but all I can do is rush us along to the best of my ability. Remember, the photo shoot is at 5P and the site is give or take a 10 minutes from where we’re staying. That’s relatively close right? We’re still late, like walking out the door at 5P late 🤦🏾‍♀️. We can’t help ourselves and it really eats at me that we can’t be on time to save our lives. What can I do! It’s not just one of our faults either, so I’m annoyed with him and mad at myself. Don’t let it ruin the trip!

Okay, we’re on our way and then babe discovers they don’t drive like we’re use to (So he says). His road rage kicks into high gear and he is cursing out every car that comes near us. I’m sitting on the passenger side like 😳. Woosah babe! Now we’re close but we miss our turn, he’s mad at the roads because the names on the gps and the names on the signs don’t match. Lord is like 5:10 now and that missed turn cost us almost 10 minutes. Smh. Now we’re gonna be even later. Anxiety is through the roof! Stay calm! BREATHE. Back on the right track, we make it to the right turn this time and park. By this time the photograph has started looking for us. Now I’m really freaking out and feeling guilty about having them waiting on us. Eventually we find them and the shoot begins. It was perfect 😍

All the stress for these amazing moments! We’re awkward but perfect for each other. This was day 1. We finished the night with dinner at Ladis. Food was meh but the drinks were great and the scenery was amazing!

Day 2 Food Tour / Surf Lessons

We decided to go on a food tour. This is literally becoming a staple for our trips. It’s a great way to learn about the history and culture as well as try dishes that are near and dear to the area. You’d be surprised how much of an influence food has on a culture and their reasoning for this specific type of food. Some of our platters

This laureate bread filled with cheese and ham will keep workers full for extended periods of time. We also were offered a medium roast coffee ☕️ but I’m not much of a coffee drinker and so did not appreciate this as much as others might. One think to know, at one point in time PR was 1/5 of the top producers of coffee. As larger nations started catching on (most notably Colombia 🇨🇴) they could no longer compete in quantity but pride themselves on the quality. Different parts of the country have different specialty coffees

Pork is a staple to the area. Apparently cows did not survi