San Juan Stories

Each of these pictures help illustrate a story.  The cobble stones paving Old San Juan streets are a metallic blue grey.  They were made from slag left over from iron production in England and were carried over as ballast in ships.  They are hard and wear well but, I am told, are slippery.  Fortunately we did not have rain on our day in San Juan to test that theory.

This statue is dedicated to teachers, who carry the future, and our kids on their shoulders.

The statue sitting on the park bench is a ghost.  He haunted a house on the Plaza de Armas.  They decided to put him on a park bench to get him out of the house.

La Perla was the first San Juan neighborhood built outside the protection of the walls.  It is a barrio, our guide called it a slum, but it looks like a vital neighborhood to us.  There are a lot of vacant buildings but a lot of buildings that are undergoing renovation.  It is close to prime old town property so it looks like a neighborhood on the way up.  For years it presented a grim face to ships sailing into San Juan so a group of arts students decided to paint the buildings bright colors as a welcome to the cruise ships.  Some of the buildings just have the front facing the sea painted but others have done the whole building. Painting a neighborhood in bright colors does wonders for the neighborhood.  I have seen it happen in Tirana, Albania.

Limbers are cold fruit drinks. Legend has it that when Charles Lindburgh landed in San Juan people offered him cold drinks, which he declined.  People thought the famous aviator was cold so they named the drinks that they offered to him Limbers, or Lindburgs, as cold as the man.

The narrow house claims to be the narrowest house in the world.   It is 53 inches wide.  It was built to fill in an alley.  I would think that the stairway may take up most of the room unless it has a ladder.

The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista claims to be the second oldest church in the Americas.  It is still called cathedral but there is a newer one.  Once the new one was built Ponce De Leon’s remains, which had lain there for 300 years were moved.  Can anyone tell me why it is “El Convento” and not “La Conventa?”  I thought convents confined nuns.

The final statue commemorates women who saves Jan Juan from the British.  The Brits were laying off the city ready to attack.  A priest led the women and children in a torch light parade which the Brits thought were military maneuvers.  Thinking they were badly outnumbered they withdrew.


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