Thursday, March 19, 2009

Puerto Rico Tour Week 1: San Juan

Things I've learned about Puerto Rico:

  1. If you don't specifically order 'Black Coffee' you get a cup of milk with some coffee splashed around in it.
  2. It's a good idea to ask for your check as soon as you order food
  3. Jumping off a waterfall cliff is awesome
  4. Cheating death over and over on scary ass rocks with waves crashing everywhere is dangerous awesome
  5. Snorkeling is awesome
  6. Cuba Libres are awesome
  7. Puerto Rican Drivers have watched Death Race 2000 waaaaay too many times
  8. After midnight traffic lights and stop signs are optional
  9. 4 years of High School Spanish didn't help all that much
  10. Don't mess with Larry's Flambé or his Discoveries
  11. I hate Reggaetone
  12. I hate Reggaetone
  13. I hate Reggaetone
  14. I hate Reggaetone
  15. I hate Reggaetone
  16. I hate Reggaetone


I was stoked to go to Puerto Rico having never been across an ocean before. My anticipation grew even more upon boarding our flight out of Pittsburgh: "Uhhhh Ladies and Gentlemen this is your Captain speaking uhhhh........we're going to be on the runway here for about an extra half hour as we wait for the plane to be de-iced to allow for a safe flight." Yeah buddy, some tropical weather was most definitely in order.

We landed in Atlanta, met up up with the show, hopped on the plane and after about three hours this is what we were treated to looking out the window:



Hellllls yes.

Upon landing we hopped on our bus to the 5 Star Resort cheapest hotel in San Juan; The Diamond Cockroach Palace. Oh yeah, we travel in STYLE!

Luckily, I scored a room on the top floor where apparently the roaches were too lazy to climb. We were right on one of the main drags so I wasn't planning on spending too much time in the room anyway.

The beach was only a couple blocks away from the Diamond Shithole and there were plenty of plush hotels we could pretend we were staying at if asked so it was all good.

We arrived a few weeks ahead of the hordes of Spring Breakers so most places were filled with locals. There was a general consensus between a few of us after scoping the scene that first night:



Enough said aboot that.

The waves on the beach were freaking ginormous and excessively salty. I entered the water with an earning......and exited sans said earring and a scraped up knee from being slammed and dragged ashore by a particularly redonkulous wave. Yeesh. Good fun though.

We unfortunately only managed to make ONE trip into Old San Juan but twas a cool experience regardless. We meandered around one of the old ass forts for a while before setting out in search of a cabbie recommended local place a bit off the beaten path. The dude wasn't bullshitting us; t'was a great recommendation.

After dinner we wandered around by the port for a while then once we were touristed-out, we took a walk to find some of the local bars up a steep ass hill. We found a coconut on the way and it only seemed appropriate that B roll it back down the hill once we reached the crest. How could it possibly go wrong?

The first thing that popped in my head when the rollination commenced was a bit from Mitch Hedberg (which I think I may have used on here already so apologies for the potential 'bloggy foul'):

"I played golf, I'm not good at golf, I never got good at it. I never got a hole in one, but I did hit a guy in one. And that's way more satisfying. You're supposed to yell "fore." But I was too busy mumbling, "there ain't no way that's gonna hit him.""

Case in point:

video

Luckily the girl was a good sport about it and the dude didn't kick our asses.

We found the strip of local bars.....which were all empty....so it was back to the Casino at the port where we lost even more $$$. Very eventful evening, ha.

The next night (night after that? who knows?), plans were made to head to this club we thought was in 'Old' San Juan. Perfect. We were all about checking out the Old City on a hoppin' Thursday night.

Unfortunately, through some garbled phone miscommunication, we didn't realize the club was in the 'El' San Juan hotel.....by the airport. Gah.

So....we roll up with about 20 people from the show. It sounded like a pretty swank club so I wore the rare collared shirt just in case. Sure enough we walk up to the gay-ass velvet rope and see the 'no tennis shoes & collared shirts only" sign which disqualified more than half of our group. Luckily Joel the Magic Man was there and his big movie star TV Actor friend rolled up and got everyone in (after cutting in line with his harem of course).

Brava was about as far from what I consider a comfortable place to have a good time as I've ever experienced.

On the plus side, the women there were some of the hottest I've seen anywhere (go Puerto Rico!) but the vibe just wasn't my thing (and the $20 cover didn't help things). Oh yeah, and Deion Sanders and Terrell Owens were there hanging out to maintain the unprecedented level of Doucheness that permeated the joint. Phef.

The post-Brava story is one that is extremely funny in retrospect....but at the time......not so much. And it shall be left at that......yeesh.

While the resort are where our hotel lodging roach-infested accommodation abomination was located was pretty nice (besides our hotel I mean.....have I mentioned that yet?), downtown San Juan by the arena was a very different story. The arena was huge and really nice but the business district was just crumbling all around it. The crowds were consistently packed to the rafters. A couple of the shows far surpassed the largest number of people I have ever performed for:



Past acts who had played the arena included Sting, Dream Theater, Korn, Elton John, and most impressive:



Michael F'n Bolton.

San Juan was a sweet town to hang in. It just would've been ideal to CLOSE the 3 week tour in San Juan and not OPEN there. As predicted, numerous shows were canceled in both Ponce and Arecibo. Whoever made the original show schedule was out of their freakin' gourd and apparently expected the entire island to show up and see the show at least twice...yeesh. I'm all for being ambitious but C'Mon!

So yeah, if we would've had the San Juan sched mirror Ponce & Arecibo and if we would've closed there, we would've had a TON more time to explore AND we would've been in San Juan right smack in the middle of Spring Break! Gah. Par for the course with this tour, haha. At least we didn't have a hurricane follow us again. Off to Ponce.....

Full Pic Set from San Juan

Post PR

I'm trying to organize all my thoughts, reflections, and experiences from our 3 weeks in Puerto Rico into some sort of viable entry. Hopefully coming soon....

In the interim here there be Pics:

San Juan

Ponce/Waterfall Hunt

Arecibo

Arecibo/Isabela