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“Won’t You Let Me Take You on a Sea Cruise?”

November 8, 2010

Some of you may remember the classic hit by Huey P. Smith inviting us to join him on a sea cruise. We accepted the invitation and embarked on a memorable journey to the southern Caribbean. For the next ten days, our blog will feature the highlights of the adventure. So, be our guests, “you got nothing to lose.” Won’t you let us take you on a sea cruise?

We left our home early on the morning of October 27th amid the hurricane-like winds. Our flight was scheduled to leave Dane County Regional Airport at 7:03 a.m. Our cab driver arrived at 5:30 and we were thankful that the winds had died down a bit from the day before. We arrived at the airport, checked in and proceeded to our gate, only to learn that the flight was delayed until 8:40 am. The winds in Madison had subsided but they were continuing their hurricane-like force in Chicago, our first stop on our way to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Alas, we would miss our connecting flight. Not to worry. Our helpful ticket agent searched for some combination that would get us to our destination in a timely manner. He finally found a flight that would take us from Madison to Chicago to Miami to San Juan. We were originally scheduled to arrive in San Juan at 2:30 p.m. This minor glitch would put have us landing at 8:30 p.m. Not to worry. We were on vacation.

We endured the long delays between flights and were very happy when we landed in a somewhat hot and steamy San Juan. We arrived at our hotel a little after 9 p.m. and were immediately greeted by the front desk clerk, who obviously was having a very good day because he upgraded us to a suite. We were going to be in San Juan for two days prior to our cruise and the upgrade was most appreciated.

We took our bags to our room, unpacked and went to the hotel’s sports bar and grill. It was late, so we decided to have some nachos and a cold beer. Our waiter, Jesus, suggested we try Presidenté beer, brewed in the Dominican Republic. We agreed and within moments Jesus appeared with 2 frozen beer mugs and the Presidenté beer. After a long day of travel snafus, the beer was very refreshing. It’s a classic lager with bright notes and a malt base, which gives the beer exceptional balance and a fine delivery.

We talked briefly with Jesus as we munched our nachos. He asked us where we were from and we told him Wisconsin. He shook his head—he didn’t know where that was. We then said “Green Bay Packers?” (This was, after all a sports bar that was televising the World Series). He shook his head again. “Chicago?” we asked. No, he didn’t know where Chicago was, either. We told him that it didn’t matter. It was cold where we came from and we were happy to be in a place that was warm and not windy.

“You seem like nice people,” Jesus said. “Are you from the country?”

No, from the city, we said. Jesus frowned. But it’s a small city, we added, which brightened his demeanor. He would be the first of an ongoing string of people who made our trip both interesting as well as memorable.

Tomorrow: A hot and steamy walk, followed by the best hamburger we ever had and a visit to the “temple of rum.” Stay tuned.

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