While there’s certainly an argument to be made that this blog is nothing but Fernando birthday reports, let’s just move on. This time I took him to San Juan, where we met up with Jenny. You may remember Jenny from “Fernando Takes Manhattan.” With her Puerto Rican heritage, among other reasons, she was great to have around. She also found many unexpected ways to make the trip an adventure!

First up, I was certain Fernando and Jenny would’ve discussed details once I let the cat out of the bag about where we were headed. But no. Instead, we landed and Fernando asked me where we were meeting Jenny. Uh…. After he quick call, Fernando advised me Jenny was waiting for us at an airport bar, Margaritaville. Fine. We’ll get our bags and meet her there. Bags, check. Margaritaville… uh, is back on the other side of security. Call Jenny. Many times. And text. Furiously. No answer. “Hi, Information Desk! Can you you call Margaritaville for us? They don’t have a phone? Can you page someone? P.A. system is broken? Ah, OK….” How Fernando coerced a TSA agent to grab Jenny, I do not know.

Eventually, we made it to our hotel, which is actually just a couple minutes from the airport, in Isla Verde. Jenny continued on to her hotel in Condado. Our San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel was lovely. We were in our partial-ocean-view king room in no time. From the 10th floor, we had a gorgeous view. We could also hear the rooftop boom boom around 2 a.m. Friday night, but that was not a problem. It actually prompted me to download this great white-noise app that I now love and use nightly.

Partial view king, with a very full view.

Partial view king, with a very full view.

Our three-day front door.

Our three-day front door.

WBC's full-service beach.

WBC’s full-service beach.

The king bed in tranquil colors.

The king bed in tranquil colors.

bath

Bathroom and robes – great shower.

Fernando and Jenny hit the roof pool.

Fernando and Jenny hit the roof pool.

One of many gorgeous San Juan sunsets.

One of many gorgeous San Juan sunsets.

And looking straight down.

And looking straight down.

Roof bites. Really, believe me, we spent plenty of time up on the roof!

Roof bites. Really, believe me, we spent plenty of time up on the roof!

Speaking of Friday, that was our first full day in P.R., so Jenny cabbed over ($15 between Condado and Isla Verde) and we headed to the beach. And the beach in front of SJWBCH really is hard to beat. Great hotel service keep the beers coming. Mmm, Coqui! Oh, and Jenny forgot her credit card at Margaritaville. Ayyii, Lucy! While perhaps somewhat absent-minded, Jenny was also eagle-eyed, spotting Chris Christie and family on the beach. He wasn’t the most portly guy (because I was there), but he was certainly the loudest.

With not much in walking distance, we spent quite a bit of time at the hotel. If we weren’t at the beach, we were likely on the roof, enjoying the great bar, bar menu, and view. For Fernando’s birthday dinner, we stayed put and had a grand dinner at Zest. Jenny and I tipped off the hostess earlier in the day, which resulted in a magical table-top dessert presentation. We were suitably impressed. Being treated to mild “wow” touches again and again really set the tone for the hotel. Look at that elevator!

The blue shaft.

The blue shaft.

FJ roof 2

More roof shots? You got it!

TA

Much deserved, we’d argue.

Dinner at Zest. This creamy lobster pasta was easily the  most calorie-dense offering on the menu. Couldn't help myself!

Dinner at Zest. This creamy lobster pasta was easily the most calorie-dense offering on the menu. Couldn’t help myself!

The whimsical dessert cloth.

The whimsical dessert cloth.

We also made it over to Old San Juan, where Fernando introduced us to his Maite. OSJ was enchanting and Maite was hilariously entertaining. How do you say “joie de vivre” in Spanish? Maite! After saying goodnight to her, so she could put her little Paulo to bed, we wandered through the streets, even stumbling into a wedding reception for two cute dudes at Hotel El Convento, followed by a delectable Asian-Latin dinner at Dragonfly. Incredible! Also had a really decent Mexican dinner in Condado at Cielito Lindo. A couple blocks away, also enjoyed a beachside margaritas and guys showing off banana hammocks at Atlantic Beach Hotel‘s big terrace bar. Two other brief outings were back in Condado: After Fernando’s birthday dinner, we walked over to the Intercontinental to visit the casino, where we quickly lost some money. The other little trip was one I took alone while Jenny and Fernando sunned themselves. Walking down the beach to the east, it ends at a little sidewalk. From there, it’s just a few steps to Hotel La Playa. I’ve read the restaurant is great, but I settled for a vodka tonic.

Old Town with super-fun Maite!

Old San Juan with super-fun Maite!

Old Town pedicure stop. But not for us.

From the street, an OSJ pedicure stop. But not for us.

Cute Old Town bar, but didn't stop here either.

Cute OSJ bar, but didn’t stop here either.

Look for the Dragonfly. You will not be disappointed. Unless you need a lot of light. Didn't have enough for food porn.

Look for the Dragonfly. You will not be disappointed. Unless you need a lot of light. Didn’t have enough for food porn.

Encountering the deep thoughts of Old Town. Have you ever been in "weed cube"?

Encountering the deep thoughts of OSJ. Have you ever been in “weed cube”?

Mmm... Fernando's molé at Cielito Lindo.

Mmm… Fernando’s molé at Cielito Lindo.

Margaritas at Atlantic Beach Hotel's patio bar.

Margaritas at Atlantic Beach Hotel’s patio bar.

And the hotel's actual beach. Not as nice as WBC, which seemed unbeatable.

And the hotel’s actual beach. Not as nice as WBC, which seemed unbeatable.

The view from the Hotel La Playa bar.

The view from the Hotel La Playa bar.

WBC distance

Walking back from Hotel La Playa, comforted by WBC in the distance.

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And another sublime sunset.

Departure morning brunch – WBC room service delivered on (You guessed it!) the roof.

Departure morning brunch – WBC room service delivered on (You guessed it!) the roof.

For the review of  the trip home – and the trip down, for that matter – head back to the trip report!