Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cruise to Run - Departing San Juan

I got up early (and let Jenny sleep) in order to make the 8 am run out to the fort in San Juan -- about a 5k run there. It was _great_ to be amongst a bunch of people who just loved to go out for a run. One of the runners was a super-skinny guy with a bandage on his upper leg. That was Dick Beardsley -- one of America's best marathon runners back in the early 80's -- who came second in 1982 by 2.6 seconds in the Boston Marathon to Alberto Salazar in the race known as the 'Duel in the Sun' -- both of them breaking the previous Boston record with a 2:09 and change finish time. Running with Dick was sort of the equivalent of playing shinny hockey with Bobby Orr or throwing the ball around with Roger Clemens.

We met Brenda, Lisa, Heidi (all sisters) and their friend Ann -- all from near Hershey Pennsylvania. We met Mike who was the organizer of the race routes -- whose personal best marathon time was 3:09 a number of years ago. And we met Glenda from Napanee Ontario who was on a cruise a year and a half after losing her husband and who just started running (longest race was a half marathon). A young couple, Emily and Jon Roe, were there as well -- he flies with the U.S. Air Force and she does triathlons. It was a good run -- a bit fast at the end (running with Emily and John) -- clipping along at 5 minute k`s (8 min./mi.).

Checkout from the hotel was at noon so after going for a quick walk after getting cleaned-up, we headed back to Roscoe`s -- luggage in tow -- with Glenda, in order to have lunch. Glenda, Cathy and I had Mofongo (a chicken or beef stew incorporating a root vegetable -- highly recommended) and proceeded to stimulate the local economy by having a bunch of beers in order to re-hydrate from the morning's run. Raoul was our waiter and was excellent -- punctual and with a good sense of humour. If you are ever in San Juan, I'd highly recommend Rosco's.

We took a short taxi ride to the ship. Jenny had prepared me for lots of lineups based on her previous cruising experience. But I have to say that Princess Cruises was very punctual. We got into the lineup to drop off our luggage, which they informed us would be at the outside of our rooms in an hour. We then made our way into the lines to get checked into the ship, and then finally security. It was only about a half-hour until we were at our room, and our luggage was indeed there in about an hour. We met our room caretaker (Dennis -- pronounced Deh-ni, the French way) and then made our way to the top deck to watch the N.Y. Jets battle (and eventually lose to) the Baltimore Colts on the jumbo-tron above the pool. Jed is a _big_ Jets fan. After the game, we all got some supper at the buffet and then Jenny and I toured around the ship to get acquainted with everything.

Jenny packed it in around 10 pm, but I forced myself to stay up until 11:45 pm for the Casino to open. I was testing a new concept in playing blackjack and by midnight I was up $105 (7 times typical bet of $15) so I cashed-out and headed back to the room.

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