Picture of the Week

9 January 2011

Week 52: Alicante-Madrid-Philly-Puerto Rico

Filed under: — Administrator @ 11:51

The last week of 2010 began at home in Alicante and ended in Puerto Rico, where I joined my wife and children in visiting her parents and other family members. Because of the many places and events, the blog is longer than usual. The pictures are arranged chronologically, beginning on Boxing Day and ending shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Main
A rotten lemon next to a nice yellow one on the tree in our garden. I actually took the picture as part of testing a 50mm Leica lens on my Panasonic GF-1 Micro 4/3 camera:
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Alternates
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Alternate 1
With Cheeta at the vet (who also has a pet shop), buying food:
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Alternate 2
I was going to fly to Puerto Rico via Philadelphia on 29 December in the morning. So I drove to Madrid the day before and spent the night at a cheap hotel near the airport. In the evening, I took a walk around the suburb Barajas where Madrid airport is located:
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Alternate 3
The next day, en route to San Juan, beginning with the Madrid-Philadelphia flight. Mercifully, the layover in Philly was less than two hours, but I still had time to snap a picture of a piece of modern art on display, with a security guard relaxing in the background:
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Alternate 4
I arrived in San Juan around 11 p.m. My wife (who had gone a few days before me) came to pick me up at the airport in our ancient Volvo that we have kept in Puerto Rico since moving to Europe in 1995. The next morning I set about exploring my in-laws’ garden, a place I had not visited for 16 years:
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Alternate 5
A wild flower in the garden:
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Alternate 6
My father-in-law has a pickup truck; there are many of those in Puerto Rico, despite the narrow mountain roads in the interior of the island. They are probably perceived as “tough”, and thus good for the pot-holed roads:
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Alternate 7
We took a drive down to Humacao in the south-eastern corner of the island. On the way we saw this somewhat incongruous sight:
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Alternate 8
The beaches in the Humacao area are truly beautiful:
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Alternate 9
This picture is all about pattern:
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Alternate 10
One unpleasant feature of Puerto Rico are the many stray dogs. Sadly, many of them end their days as roadkill. It breaks my heart, as a dog and cat lover:
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Alternate 11
These pelicans fly low and hover above spots where there appear to be dinner possibilities:
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Alternate 12
When a fish is spotted, a quick dive is executed:
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Alternate 13
Lizards are everywhere in Puerto Rico. They are kind of cute:
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Alternate 14
A souvenir stand on the beach promenade:
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Alternate 15
A couple shooting the breeze (pun intended):
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Alternate 16
Back in San Lorenzo, where my in-laws live. A parranda crosses the street:
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Alternate 17
The next day, my brother-in-law took me to a roadside food stand to try their local specialty called alcapurria, a deep-fried dumpling made of ground plaintain and other tropical veg. This is the traditional fast food of Puerto Rico, and it seems to survive, at least away from the big cities which are infected with various North American burger troughs:
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Alternate 18
The proprietor treated us to a glass of delicious pitorro, traditional Puerto Rican moonshine:
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Alternate 19
We were going to spend New Year’s Eve at my sister-in-law’s house in Trujillo Alto, a suburb of San Juan. Like many Puerto Rican households, they have a chihuaha, called Achÿ, who is very adept at begging for food. She can maintain this position for a surprisingly long amount of time:
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Alternate 20
During the day, we drove to old San Juan, stopping at a shopping mall along the way. I spent most of the time in the Borders book shop there, as did this girl:
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Alternate 21
We parked on a street overlooking La Perla, a beachside slum in San Juan:
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Alternate 22
According to the locals, La Perla is a place best explored at a distance:
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Alternate 23
Typical street in Old San Juan, with the universal urban fauna:
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Alternate 24
Eating out–this is what passes for winter in Puerto Rico:
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Alternate 25
Back at my sister-in-law’s, preparing for the party. Here is her son Quique (José Enrique) with Achÿ:
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Alternate 26
Another Puerto Rican tradition. As part of New Year’s celebration, a male doll is stuffed with old clothes and newspapers to represent the Old Year. It will be burned after midnight:
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Alternate 27
My wife’s sister Noemi acting as master of ceremonies:
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Alternate 28
It is now 2011, and the Old Year is burned on the street outside the house:
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For more explanation of some of the traditions mentioned above, see this link on the parranda, this one on the pitorro and this one on the burning of the Old Year.

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