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☆ visiting san juan, puerto rico ☆

July 24, 2018

as most of us know, hurricane maria hit puerto rico last september, labelled as the most catastrophic natural disaster on the island ever. there were thousands of deaths and over $90 billion worth of damages to homes and key industries that will take years to fully recover. to make matters worse, the white house was slow to send in aid and president trump was especially insensitive, by asking: “what is your death count as of this morning, 17?” and saying that the mayor and others in puerto rico wanted “everything to be done for them”. 

seeing the photos and videos, i was so sad that these people were suffering, and extremely angry at the way it was being handled. since i was the co-chair of my school’s interact club (a br

a beautiful fountain in old san juan

anch of the humanitarian organization rotary international), i was able to convince the club that all of our fundraisers for the year would go towards relief efforts in puerto rico. around the same time, my mom booked a trip there since tickets were cheap after the hurricane, marking this as the first “beach trip” where i really cared about the local area. 

post-hurricane in san juan

some damage i saw on the fast food signs

although many parts of puerto rico are still recovering, san juan itself barely shows any evidence of the hurricane to one whose never visited before. for example, my family was admiring the view on a beach when one of the locals told us that the view wasn’t possible without the hurricane damaging most of the palm trees. 

When the lights go out in the States, the black and white people start smacking each other around and people start raiding Footlockers and they think, “If that’s what happens at home, think of how it would be in the Carribean with all those poeple!” But our crime rates have stayed the same, you know, it’s not like it is in the States. People are really chill here. — something our cab driver said that i found interesting. 

and he was right. everyone was soo friendly, whether we were at the beach or talking to our uber drivers. even if their english wasn’t too good and our spanish sucked, a lot of the locals were willing to talk to us or tell us more about the island they were so proud of. 

my favorite parts of the trip! 

  • walked around old san juan
    • so beautiful, and there were so many cats on the street! 
  • visited the castillo del morro citadel
    • i’ve been to a few citadels in my life, but this one had some of the most breathtaking sights
    • also, so much information about the history in puerto rico! amazing place if you want to learn
  • went to the former home of felisa rincón de gautier
    • entry by donation & super inspiring
    • great spot to learn more about the former & first female mayor of the americas
  • went on a bioluminescent kayak trip in fajardo 
    • oh my GOD i wish i brought my camera with me
    • if you don’t know what it is, the water glows when you touch it
    • i don’t love nature or anything but IT WAS THE MOST AMAZING THING I’VE EVER SEEN
    • we kayaked through the el yunque rainforest and it was soo beautiful
    • definitely my favorite part of the trip, if not my LIFE

 

or you can watch the video here.

 

what about you? have you been to puerto rico? 

Haley Chung

haley is a seventeen-year-old slytherin who loves musical theatre, 80's shorts, and dreamy walks in the suburbs with her baby kitten avignon. find/follow/stalk her on instagram @haleyogurt.

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