Today is July 2, 2019 and it is a beautiful summer day in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It also 95 degrees outside which is why I am in the air conditioned confines of a Starbucks coffee shop right off the beach in San Juan’s tourist zone. As a result of me giving up my seat on my original flight (and earning $500 in airline credit), I did not arrive to San Juan until 10:30 pm last night. Upon my arrival, I noticed that the airport was fairly busy for the time of night. As I have written before, one of my least favorite things about traveling is my initial arrival into an unfamiliar place (particularly an airport or bus station). Due to the unfamiliarity of the location, you are more susceptible to be taken advantage of as far as transportation purposes. While Puerto Rico does have an extensive Uber network, the Uber drivers are not allowed to operate out of the Luiz Munoz Marin International Airport which forces travelers to overpay for a taxi. Normally in such a situation, I would happily take the public bus. However, because I arrived so late, I had no choice but to take an airport taxi which cost me more than double an Uber fare.
Because it is not really advisable to travel outside the San Juan metropolitan area after 7pm, I was forced to book a room at a local hostel/hotel. Given that I had no intention of staying more than a few hours, I booked the cheapest place I could find that had decent reviews. I settled for paying $16 to stay in the dorm room of a place called Casa Santurce. Despite the decent reviews, the hostel ended up being a dump located in a so-so neighborhood. Of the numerous issues, the most glaring were the fact that the room smelled like old feet, the shower barely worked, and the air conditioning was non-existent. The only thing that allowed me to sleep was the fact that I had gotten there so late and that I was extremely exhausted. Nevertheless, I woke up and left as soon as it seemed practical to do so.
Under normal circumstances, I would just head straight to Yabucoa. However, as I was on the plane yesterday, I received an email asking to do a telephonic interview with a U.S. government agency later in the morning. Thus, I decided to stay in San Juan until after the interview in order to be able to fully focus on the volunteer project once I arrive in Yabucoa. On a side note, I literally sat on my couch the whole month of June waiting for perspective employers to call me with little luck. Ironically, four different people have reached out to me about job opportunities since I left to go to the airport which I find to be both refreshing and annoying. Because I left the hostel at 730 am, I found myself having to burn a few hours of time. Luckily, there was a Wal-Mart Supercenter within walking distance which allowed me to buy a few things that I would need for the project including work boots and several pairs of socks. In total, I ended up spending about $60 on supplies. Thankfully, I was close enough to walk to the Starbucks where I am currently located. As a result, I was able to utilize my spare time to work on this website and am now preparing to receive the interview phone call in about 20 minutes. Once I am done with this interview, I will use an Uber to get to the base camp and officially begin this project. I probably won’t be able to blog for a few days but I will definitely do so once I have settled in Yabucoa. See you soon.