01.04.2011 28 °C
We woke to yet another sunny and warm day. After getting ourselves together we wandered up to Deck 14 for a light breakfast. Since we don’t tie up in San Juan till 1:00 pm we set to updating blogs and logs which we had neglected the past couple of days. We normally do our write ups in MS Word and then just cut and paste the text into the web site once we hook up since internet access is often a challenge here in the Islands. The ship has wireless but access to the internet using the ship’s system is VERY slow (1 Mbps vs 54 or 100 at home) and it costs around sixty cents a minute so we minimize the time we are actually hooked up to the internet.
We don’t have any shore excursions planned for Puerto Rico today as we were here a year ago and did an escorted city tour at that time. We didn’t see any high activity excursions offered by the ship so decided to just wander around old San Juan for a few hours. Once we were tied up we left the ship for the old downtown area. San Juan is a very old city with lots of small narrow streets immediately adjacent to the cruise ship terminal so fun to explore. Shortly after starting our walk we stumbled on the omnipresent Starbucks with a Wi-Fi hotspot, however, the spot was virtually unusable so we continued on our exploring of Old San Juan. Much like most Caribbean port areas the downtown area is loaded with jewelry stores. One of the main activities of cruisers must be buying jewelry since every port no matter how tiny always has a number jewelry stores. In many ports there are more jewelry stores around the cruise pier than T-shirt shops. In almost every port area there is a Diamonds International store or even two plus many others. While we are no experts in jewelry purchases we have made a couple of purchases over the past couple of years necessitating a bit of research. Prices here do not seem to be any better than a good discount store at home or a duty free shop at the border. However, the one advantage in most ports here is that there is no sales tax. So I guess if you are spending $20,000 on a necklace there could be a significant $ saving. I guess we just don’t think in those terms. Probably the person who spends $20k on a piece of jewelry would think $25k for a motorcycle is just as crazy. Each to his/her own.
As we started walking back down through old San Juan towards the ship we noticed several people sitting in a little parkette using their laptops. Hazel pulled out her iPod Touch and checked for an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot. The iPod is the greatest little hotspot finder ever. Sure enough there was a public hotspot right there in the little public square. A very slow one but at least it was a connection. We pulled out David’s laptop from the backpack and updated the blog plus checked our home e-mail.
Old San Juan
Once completed we made our way back to the ship and got ready for another evening out on the town (or perhaps I should say night on the ship) as the ship cast off and sailed towards a morning rendezvous with the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts.