- Last Updated: 4:40 PM, November 23, 2009
- Posted: 12:00 AM, April 7, 2009
IT'S A shame — a damn shame. Unlike most of those so-called Caribbean, err uh, "metropoli" trying to pass for something other than glorified dockyards and good-weather ghettos, you can't condescend San Juan with smarmy observations like: "Holy cow, Ethel, they even have Internet cafes!"
Used to be, that was half the fun.
But here in John the Baptist's namesake, they've definitely invented fire. Also: massive public art works, light rail, respected universities, public smoking bans, an insatiable lust for luxury cars and clothes — hell, they even have valet parking at select Chili's restaurants. In short, all the trappings of modern life and then some. Frankly, it's easy to forget this 12-mile-long, thoroughly cosmopolitan city is the capital of an otherwise "developing" island.
Did I mention the valet service at Chili's? Can a brother become the 51st state, already?! (Considering the severe astral-augmentation surgery Old Glory would have to undergo and a host of other nuanced political complications, don't hold your breath.)
You may remember San Juan from such classic trips as the one you took to Montserrat, Martinique, St. Kitts or any number of smaller islands that use and abuse SJ as a gateway. We know it's tempting to resent a place for, say, having suffered through a 16-hour layover because Hurricane Dillweed was wreaking havoc nearby, but Confucius says: Don't judge a city by its airport.
Instead, look beyond Luis Munos Marin and enjoy our no-passport-needin' overseas territory for what it really is: surf, sand, a zillion Spanish-colonial landmarks, upscale shops, bars that stay open late (like into next week late) — basically it's Miami, minus the people who visit/live in Miami.
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