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Synopsis: This guide to Puerto Rico covers secluded rainforests and unspoiled off-shore islands, in-depth background on the architecture of Old San Juan and an insight into Puerto Rico's rich culture, from salsa rhythms to handcrafted mascaras for patron saints and the lively club-scene.
From the Publisher: Introduction to Puerto Rico
Every Friday and Saturday night, music teases crowds into the streets of Old San Juan. Young people in Polo shirts and sheer dresses parade along the cobblestones. Perfecting their night moves, they sashay up the hill past the centuries-old Casa Blanca, ancestral home of the family of Juan Ponce de Leon - seeker of the legendary Fountain of Youth.
Throngs gather on Calle San Sebastian, the street that rises above the sea and the restorations of the fortified city that has been the commercial hub of the Caribbean for more than 450 years. Here, wandering groups of musicians and dozens of bars, restaurants and clubs pump the sounds of salsa into the tropical night. Everyone moves to the syncopated rhythm of bongos, congas, maracas, cowbells, trumpets and song. And an island celebrates the fusion of elements that gave birth to a place, a culture, a race and a spirit that the world calls 'Puerto Rico', but islanders still know as Borinquen - the name the Taino Indians gave their island home before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493.
Like the island's famous salsa - a spicy blend of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and big-band jazz - almost everything about Puerto Rico stands out as a dramatic and original yoking of opposites. Here, travelers will find strong and recognizable vestiges of Amerindian ancestors, Spanish conquistadores and West African slaves, as well as the political and economic influence of the USA - the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's legal step-parent. The fusion of these strains is so distinctive that neither the place nor the culture can be mistaken for any other, and Puerto Rico claims a vitality and reputation that far exceeds the island's diminutive size.
Just 35 miles wide and 100 miles long, Puerto Rico is the smallest of the Greater Antilles and stands as the keystone between the larger islands to the west and the long arch of the Lesser Antilles to the east. In many ways this location makes Puerto Rico the 'gatekeeper' of the Caribbean Sea, and the island's strategic position as a crossroads has fired her character. Not only can you see the fusion of native America, Africa and Europe in the faces of her people, but you can also hear the synthesis of Spanish and English (spiced with Taino and African words) in islanders' speech in this officially bilingual commonwealth. Diners taste the merger of the fields of Europe, the spices of Africa and the fish of the Caribbean in traditional cuisine such as asopao, a hearty stew. Drinkers here in the rum capital of the world find magic in the spirits distilled from sugarcane and mixed with pineapple and cream of coconut in the popular pina colada or blended with tart lime juice! in a daiquiri.
In Puerto Rico, poets become politicians and spiritual wayfarers embrace elements of Catholicism and African Santeria. Songs with rhythms to make stones rise up and dance carry lyrics about heartbreak. Slums and mansions stand side by side, and simply guesthouses languish in the shade of resort hotels. Ford Mustangs adorned with blazing paint jobs and tinted glass travel the backroads with herds of wild horses. Street vendors selling tostones (fried plantains) share the block with Burger King, while the warships of the US Navy keep company with local sailboats.
No doubt, travelers will find other dramatic signs of fusion in the Puerto Rican landscape itself. Contemporary Borinquen is a place where the green peaks of the Central Mountains (Cordillera Central) press the high-rises of modern San Juan to the edge of the sea. The ancient fortresses and walled Spanish city of Old San Juan stand nearly adjacent to the casinos, condominiums and resorts of the newer Condado district. Cane fields surround golf courses, soulless housing developments mask the way to pristine ocean coves, and the world's most luminescent phosphorescent bay lies next to a proving ground for military maneuvers. Broad beaches lie almost in the shadow of verdant mountain slopes of El Yunque, the national rain forest.
And in spite of - or perhaps because of - these dramatic contrasts, the music never stops on this island whose anthem, "La Borinquena" praises Puerto Rico as a "flowering garden of exquisite magic...the daughter of the sea and the sun."
Title: Lonely Planet Puerto Rico
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Publication Date: 2002
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Bookseller Inventory # GOR005266477
Book Description Lonely Planet Publications, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: Used; Good. **SHIPPED FROM UK** We believe you will be completely satisfied with our quick and reliable service. All orders are dispatched as swiftly as possible! Buy with confidence!. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000256441
Book Description Lonely Planet Publications. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Book shows minor use. Cover and Binding have minimal wear, and the pages have only minimal creases. Bookseller Inventory # G1740592743I3N00
Book Description Lonely Planet Publications. Paperback. Book Condition: As New. Almost in new condition. Book shows only very slight signs of use. Cover and binding are undamaged and pages show minimal use. Bookseller Inventory # G1740592743I2N00
Book Description Lonely Planet Publications. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Light shelf wear and minimal interior marks. Bookseller Inventory # G1740592743I3N00
Book Description Lonely Planet Publications. Book Condition: Good. . Bookseller Inventory # H08C-00610
Book Description Lonely Planet Publications, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. This is a used book in good condition and may show some signs of use or wear . Bookseller Inventory # mon0001845067
Book Description Lonely Planet Publications, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Bookseller Inventory # S_192483527
Book Description Lonely Planet Publications, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Bookseller Inventory # S_195081879
Book Description Lonely Planet Publications. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: Good. 1740592743 2nd edition. 336 unmarked paperback pages. Bookseller Inventory # SKU1003207