San Sebastián y Lares

Today we had a wonderful adventure. The day started out in an interesting way … I was driving to the campus and I made a wrong turn. Yes, I was lost! Once I knew that I was going the wrong way, I tried to correct it. But alas, there was apparently yet another turn that I should have taken. So, I tried not to panic, and after driving along and trying to find a good place to stop, I ended up at a gas station. But I was really lost. If you’ve been to Puerto Rico, I was supposed to be going to Cupey. But I made a wrong turn toward Carolina, and ended up in Barbosa. It’s not close to the campus! I called my host and tried to explain where I was …. she wasn’t able to tell from my description, so she told me to get out of the car (actually it’s a van, nicknamed “the bus” … you’ll see a picture of it further down, it has pictures of trees and fruit on it because it is the property of the School of Environmental Affairs) and tell the person inside “Puedas ayudarme?” which means “Can you help me?” and then she said to give them my cell phone and she would talk with the person inside in Spanish. Well … the adventure was really beginning, because you had to be buzzed into the door … buzzed in to the store section of the gas station! Hmmmm … then I had to talk to the person from behind the glass windows and put my cell phone through the security drawer. Okaaayyy. Sigh. The good news is that my host was able to find out where I was and guide me back to campus safely. Now that was between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. (Think “24”!)
Between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., the three of us, two of my hosts and I, were on our way to San Sebastián, a town on the western side of the island, to see Jessica’s mom. Jessica was one of my students in Maryland who was from Puerto Rico and passed away a few years ago. I’ve maintained contact with her over the years and try to visit when I can. Her family fixed us a wonderful lunch of rice, white beans, chicken and potatoes, and vegetables. It was delicious!!! The new thing for me was that even though 90% of the conversation was in Spanish, I understood a good portion of it. That doesn’t mean that I could always join the conversation; I interjected a few words here and there. It was wonderful to see her again and to spend some time with her. She is a very loving person! I am grateful to my hosts for taking me for this visit.
Following the trip to San Sebastián, we went to the town of Lares to visit a famous icecream parlor. In Spanish, an icecream parlor is a Heladería. They are famous for having delicious icecream, but very interesting flavors. Some of the flavors are zanahoria (carrot), aguacate (avacado), ajo (garlic), and more! I had maíz (corn) and it was delicious!! Really! It tasted like a sweet corn pudding. You can get it topped with cinnamon! Ummm. I’m thinking about it now! I went into the Heladería with one host while the other stayed in “the bus” and placed his order via cell phone. It was fun because it was like three kids had gotten permission to get icecream! There are photos of the various flavors of the icecream in the sidebar.

Yes, my Maíz (corn) icecream is very yellow!

Following the icecream stop, we went to Barceloneta which is in the middle of the island. UMET is working on a project in that area and my campus will be a partner. It was a nice site visit!

Tomorrow, I have a presentation and then it will be time to prepare to head home!

About Heladería de Lares:
About Lares:,_Puerto_Rico
About San Sebastián:án,_Puerto_Rico

3 replies »

  1. Hi Renetta, Looks like you are having an amazing experience and trip. But garlic ice cream? I can’t imagine eating it! Enjoy and here’s hoping you have a safe return trip. Blessings, Cuz Glo


  2. Hey Renetta. Great to see you working hard AND hardly working all in one trip. The Blog experience is extensive. Give your photographer(s) much earned credit for capturing your perfect smile everytime. No visits from D. Tull? Do you have a webcam with you? I can arrange a call so that you can see Andrea and the kids in Chicago. See Ya When I See Ya. Sean Blaylock a.k.a. KSBFresh. Como se dice “GPS” en Espanol?


  3. Hi Prima (cousin) Glo, Hi mi amigo Sean,

    Yes, it has been a great trip. I didn’t taste the garlic icecream, but it’s amazing what they can do with flavors. They even have a “meat” icecream. (Hmmm, I didn’t volunteer to try that one either.)

    Thanks for the compliments to the photographers. They are a series of new friends, colleagues, and hosts that I met here in San Juan! I told Damon that here I learned to have a bit of balance … I actually averaged about 40 hours/week instead of the usual 80+! I also had weekends and didn’t work on Saturdays and Sundays (except for blogging!)

    GPS? Hmmm, No se!

    I’m on my way home soon, and no, I don’t have a webcam! Stay safe and warm in Chicago (and in the northeast Cousin Glo!)

    DT couldn’t come this trip, he was working on his projects and taking care of biz @ home.

    Thanks for writing!!!


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