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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes - Puerto Rico

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

My husband and I like to take short trips to warm places during the winter months. Since he is still working and unable to leave for extended periods of time, we often fly to Miami Beach. But this year, we decided to go the Puerto Rico. Something inside my conscience told me I should support this important island extension of the US and also see for myself the conditions there. Plopping down on a lounge chair just felt too self indulgent.

To my amazement, I had the absolute time of my life. We are not a high flying couple or big spenders, but we do like to travel in comfort, have access to safe, local walks in the am and really good food at night. In-between, we tend to be somewhat boring, flexing back to our comfort zones, reading on the beach (in the shade), writing and a swim here and there.

What we discovered in Puerto Rico was the indomitable spirit of islanders who had their eyes on the win - the rebuilding and restoration of a strong island culture complete with modern interests, art and a commitment to an advancing society of course, with world class cuisine. We had the most delightful dinners in Old San Juan and near our hotel in the Condado peninsula. A very special nod to 1919 in the Vanderbilt Condado and Marmalade in Old San Juan.

To my husband’s chagrin, I engaged every Uber driver in a discussion of the hurricane, remaining damage and their feelings about whether the mainland did enough or not to help them restore essential services. After having lost power from a local snowstorm a week earlier for an endless two days, I heard one driver express gratitude that his family (local to San Juan) only lost power for two months. Perspective - that’s what it’s all about. The islanders who live deeper into the terrain, lost power for upwards of a year, with many dwellings still in ruins. Of course, there was irritation at their local government too - for obstructing the flow of much needed recovery assistance.

No doubt, they wished the US government took the disaster more seriously. But, they also appreciated the private relief efforts received and universally saw through Trump’s superficial interest as exactly what it was - an arms length media stunt.

They are a proud, insanely polite culture and after the hurricane, they did what they always had done in the past. They rolled up their sleeves, helped their families and neighbors and albeit slowly, pulled their island back together.

Consider supporting Puerto Rico by booking your next getaway on the island. I strongly recommend Condado Vanderbilt.

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