|The sun was rising behind Castillo San Felipe del Morro as we entered San Juan Bay.|
|San Cristobal in the background from Plaza de Colon|
The day was mostly sunny with some high clouds which added some nice depth to photos. We wandered around the plaza: I was taking photos and Marilyn was chatting up several of the vendors. When she mentioned that we were from a cruise ship and were going on a service excursion to La Perla, she got looks of surprise mixed with a bit of apprehension. La Perla was variously described as dangerous, dogs running wild, filled with drug dealers, a world apart where police didn't go, and finally "They take care of their own and don't like outsiders." One vendor did say that it wasn't that bad any more but clearly this was a place with a reputation.
|The multi-colored buildings stacked on hillside is Le Perla. |
You can see the city wall in the middle of the photo
|Unfortunately a typical sight in La Perla|
Get Shopped was founded in 2008 by Michele Llamas and has developed excellent tours for people to experience this Island Paradise. After the hurricane, Michele decided to begin offering voluntours, especially to assist with the recovery and community development in La Perla. She has told me that it has become a major part of her business. We boarded a large tour bus to travel the short distance to the middle entrance to La Perla. We walked up a fairly steep street to see the sign and we begin our adventure.
Unfortunately the community center was destroyed by the storm and it will take considerable work and resources to put back in use.
|Moira Melendez right and Zayda Gorco right.|
We walked through La Perla parallel to the beach and then onto the Cemetery, which is starkly beautiful. From there we walked along the massive city wall to a spot where people are developing a garden and tree nursery. A high
|Marilyn working on cleaning up the little park.|
Marilyn did a little more shopping as we walked back to the port and re-boarded our home away from home. As we headed out to sea, I able to capture some nice images. One I am particularly proud of is an eight panel panorama that shows the shore line from El Morro to the cemetery, La Perla and finally Castillo San Cristobal. It shown below at full size.
Click here to view the many more photos of this day in Old San Juan.