How Puerto Rico’s Final Moments of Magic Literally Took Flight

Old San Juan was one of the many highlights of our Puerto Rican vacation.

And that is saying a lot for a non-shopper like me.

Following an over-indulgent Puerto Rican lunch at Raices restaurant, Hadley and I explored the quaint shops located on narrow cobblestone streets as we eavesdropped on a medley of foreign tongues. The area’s flat-roofed brick and stone buildings date back to the 16th and 17th century when Puerto Rico was a Spanish possession.

Old forts still stand sentry over the city but none is more impressive than Fort San Felipe del Morro. Perched on a bluff overlooking the ocean, “El Morro” is touted as the oldest Spanish fort in the new world and was built in 1539 to control entry to the harbor and protect San Juan from attacks. The charge is $3 per adult over 16.

Even though six-year-old Hadley was not interested in the details of this National Historic Site, she was enraptured by the 360-degree views on the top floor that encapsulated San Juan. A wide swath of ocean-blue spanned so far that you’d swear you could see the curvature of the earth.

Those were my words.

Hers: “Wow!”

A popular family activity is kite flying on El Morro’s vast lawn. A kaleidoscope of kites danced to the wind as children laughed, tugged and raced against a backdrop so surreal you’d swear you had been dropped in a postcard.

Despite our best efforts (that even included recruiting a few locals), our kite would not take flight for more than 10 seconds.

This is not surprising to anyone who has read my past exposés on kite-flying.

Undaunted, all the moms and children cooled down with Piraguas (ices).

As we reluctantly packed up our belongings later that evening, Hadley stood on our wind-whipped balcony. At that raw hour, it was tough to distinguish ocean from sky. The reflection from the Marriott’s white lights pierced the ocean’s black. Our perch almost seemed to shake but then I realized it was just the air vibrating.

An idea took flight.

I grabbed our grounded kite and hurled it into the void. It dropped out of sight and then, almost as if it was mustering up courage, it swooped higher and higher.

Hadley squealed with delight as I marveled at the kite that had finally taken flight to sketch our good-byes in the sky.

Better [very] late than never.


Just tuning in? Be sure to read 1) Almost Reaching Perfection at the San Juan Marriott Resort, 2) Puerto Rico: Food, Moms and Fun (Did I Mention Food?) and 3) Pool, Beach and Food: Three Essentials to Any Tropical Vacation. I participated in a trip sponsored by the San Juan Marriott. The views expressed are entirely my own.

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