Not much happened on day four after I got back from Nevis, but day five was a pleasant day trip.
The pilots (my brother’s co-workers) got tipped off by Anthony Bourdain (No Reservations) and Andrew Zimmerman (Bizarre Foods) about a “pork highway” in Guavate, in the central highlands of the island (nothing is too far in Puerto Rico – the island is only 100 miles long and 35 miles wide). Aaron and them had been there before, but we made the pilgrimage again today in my vegetarian honor.
2 pounds of lechón (roast pork), one pound of ribs, half a chicken, a pound of sausage, rice, yuca, Coca Cola, Corona, and a few fried plantains later, we were full. Even I had a few morsels of the lechón. We ate at Lechonera Los Pinos, but over about one kilometer of a windy mountain road there must be 20 lechoneras lining the road. Los Pinos is one of the most famous of the spots, and was crowded with a senior citizen group and a high school group who were dancing together to the little band that was playing over everyone’s lunch.
After Guavate we got back in the car and headed further south in search of Charco Azul water hole, but we didn’t find it. We did drive higher up into the mountains though and got some nice views of the central region of the island.
Last stop after our mountain drive was the town of Caguas, just south of San Juan. I had read about Caguas on the internet, and I couldn’t give up the opportunity to visit a smaller cultural town. Caguas has done a nice job setting up a “Heart of Creole Culture” route in the city, taking visitors around to a bunch of small museums and sites. The sites are well signed and they have put nice colorful tiled markers into the sidewalks. It reminded me of the municipal tourism work that San José de los Remates has done.
We quickly went to three places in the town: the Tobacco Museum, the Town Museum at Town Hall, and the town plaza. In the plaza there was a sit-in poetry reading to free a Puerto Rican political prisoner, which I found interesting and pretty Nicaraguan. The Tobacco Museum was cool, and the Town Museum was also very well done. Aaron and his friends were less than amused though, so we didn’t stay in Caguas for long, which was a shame.
Tomorrow for my last day in PR I will be heading back to Old San Juan. Then back to Nicaragua on Sunday.