30

My 30th birthday [sigh] was earlier this month. Of course, we had to celebrate it in style, over the course of over a week.

First, we ate cake.

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Triple layered, filled with hazelnut and fresh strawberry whipped cream.

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Then we went with a small group of friends to Giacomo’s in the North End, a highly recommended, always has a line out the door place. Hello butternut squash ravioli. Yum!

David gave me a hand painted picture of a whale, along with a gift cert to go on a whale watch.

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Since traveling is just sort of our thing, we headed to Puerto Rico for a long weekend. Packing up our backpacks and heading to the airport made us feel at home – like we were going back to our old lives. It felt comforting to go back to the simplicity of living out of a backpack and not worrying about much except being on the road.

Complete with bananas growing on our patio!
Complete with bananas growing on our patio!

We stayed in a small studio apartment is a residential area of San Juan, Ocean Park (found through AirBnB). The beach was a block away, and it came with bikes. We were both overwhelmingly happy getting up on a Saturday morning, putting on shorts and a tshirt, hopping on bikes, and cruising around looking at the ocean, so much greenness, and exploring our little neighborhood. There really is no better way to experience a place than on the saddle of a bike.

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If I were to summarize our short three day trip in three words they would be: beach, food, rainforest, and read. That’s pretty much all we did.

While we loved getting around on bikes, we also cruised around in our “little purple car”. We drove the hour southeast from San Juan to “El Yunque”, the only rainforest on “U.S. soil”. We were slightly underwhelmed (paved hike, no animals) but it was still nice to be in the forest. It was very green – and we saw bromeliads growing out the side of the trees – we have a potted one in our apartment.

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We went to a beachside bar to get a pre-dinner drink and appetizer, but due to a miscommunication, ridiculously slow service, and huge appetizers, it turned into dinner. We ended up next to a super friendly (i.e. drunk) guy from Nicaragua (Jorge), and he and David talked for a long time. He was pretty funny, and I think the Nicaraguan tourism council should hire him as an ambassador, as much of the conversation was centered around him telling us how wonderful Nicaragua is.

We ate mofongo relleno (stuffed shrimp mofongo), which is kind of like a cave built out of mashed up plantains filled with shrimp. They were delicious, but we accidentally ordered two, and they cost $19 each!

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Things to know about Puerto Rico: It’s a U.S. territory, so you don’t need a passport and you’re still in the U.S. when you go there (but, it has it’s own unique history). They use dollars and are really well developed, though the driving is a little insane. While Spanish is the first language, nearly everyone speaks English. When I spoke to people in Spanish, they just spoke back to me in English. Lastly, the prices of accomodations, food, and drink are pretty much the same as here in MA.

Thanks to my parents for giving birth to me so I could do all these fun things for my birthday!

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