PR blog day 3: san juan

// March 22nd, 2005

hungover again, what’s new??? we get a late start to the day & miss the comp breakfast up on the roof yet again. we decide to go check out san juan’s beaches out in condado & isla verde for the day.

we head to covadonga & grab the A5 bus, since the B21 wasn’t showing up for shit, so we got dropped off a little ways away from the beach. we walked through some sort of hood up in there & almost got attacked by some rabid dogs hiding under a van up on bricks. after about 1/2 hour, we get to centro condado, which has got pizza hut, starbucks, walgreen’s, fuddrucker’s & all that. we’re glad we’re staying in san juan viejo, it’s just got so much more fuckin’ character mang.

we reach the beach & walk west towards isla verde, but the clouds starting rollin’ in. we take the poor beach weather opportunity to eat lunch at some random diner under a hospital - i consuming a cubano sandwich, hitesh a cheeseburger. it’s good, it’s cheap & it’s just that quintessential puerto rican diner experience i was looking for.

we follow two fine young boricua asses back to the beach, chilled out on condado beach into the late afternoon then headed back to the old city. we ended up walking the entire way back, for miles & miles, along condado beach, over the bridge from condado to san juan viejo, past el capítolo & finally a la calle fortaleza, all while the sun set over san juan.

our crazy ass spontaneous walking tour left us rather fatigued, so we rested up for a bit, watched a bit of napoleon dynamite, then dropped by dragonfly, THE hotspot restaurant in san juan, for dinner. the beautiful blonde hostess had the mostest of any girl i done seen up in this city, the food was excellent as was the ambience - just like soho, they call this area sofo. after several saketinis, strip steak, dumplings & mofongo tempura sushi rolls, we jump in a cab to check out condado’s nightlife. this monday night seems pretty weak, so we’re heading to where the touristas might be. we stop by diva’s to check out a boricua booty club, which was just aight, then head to señor frog’s of all places to meet up with pras & co. everywhere’s dead tonight on el lunes de la semana del santo & it’s clear that señor frog’s is the only place jumpin’. there’s college spring break cancun money kids wilin’ out all over to reggaeton & your typical hiphop mix w/ some usher & r kelly & ashanti & all that. the DJ won’t honor my request for some big pun. we’re drinking $6 margaritas out of plastic cups. i hate that shit mang.

after the place closes down, we walk the barren streets of san juan viejo looking for one last watering hole, but it’s so dead out that the only people we see are drunkards & bums. to no avail, we finally decide to call it a night & say our goodbyes. me & hitesh are staying around the corner, the others need to find a cab to head to isla verde. it’s our last night in san juan, some are heading back to NYC tomorrow, pras & friends are going surfing in rincon, & as for hitesh, alana (one of the BK crew) & i, we are off to the “spanish virgin island” of vieques mañana en la mañana.

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PR blog day 2: san juan

// March 21st, 2005

i wake up hungover, the A/C is still on, i’m shivering…. i can stilll taste the rum in my mouth.. i stumble around, make my way downstairs & check out of my room to switch to a new, larger room, which is not ready yet. i leave my luggage & go wander the streets of viejo san juan.

i climb upwards towards the sea & el fuerte san cristóbal. there, where civilization & nature meet, i meet an NJ transit trainman & we speak on politricks & the state of our union. jersey represent… i head west & walk along the old city wall through la perla aka the slums of san juan to el morro, the famous fortress of the island. it’s a sunday afternoon & there are lots of families flying kites out today on a beautiful, clear day.

thusfar, i must say that PR is quite an impressive place, san juan’s architecture, its pastel buildings & blue cobblestone streets, its people, they are all alive with that je ne sais quoi joi de vivre…

while exploring el morro, hitesh calls & says he’s arrived @ SJU. i head back to the hotel motel holiday inn & by the time he’s arrived, i’m deep into you got served, which to my surprise, is not as bad as i expected it to be. & my girl lil’ kim is in it after all….

after he settles in, i take hitesh through the path i walked earlier in reverse - up fortaleza to calle cristo. we check out el parque de palomas, a park literally ruled by pigeons with utter disregard for the petty humans that enter their lair. the motherfuckers fly right by your head & shit & you better be watching out for their shit dropping on your ass up in there….

after visiting el morro again, we stop by hotel el convento for some tapas & mojitos in a verry nice setting. as night falls, bats fly overhead b/w trees. it reminds me of jersey. we randomly run into 3 of the BK law school girls, chat for a bit, then head back to viejo san juan. we go up to calle san sebastian for dinner @ amadeus, i have the risotto del mar & hitesh has an incredible puerto rican spiced burger. it dawns upon us that we should open a puerto rican burger joint in NYC.

after dinner, we go to rumba to hear some live music. there’s a bunch of guys playing congas & percussion. it’s almost like thompkins square park on a sunday afternoon, but way way better. ay que rítmo! after the group’s gig is over & several cuba libres, we head out to meet up with pras & co. at an outdoor bar in an alleyway right off calle fortaleza. $1 medallas baby… we down a few then walk right into nuyorican cafe to hear “el futuro de la salsa” courtesy of PVC. a few tequila shots & cuba libres later, i meet a boricua morena bonita que se llama carla who’s got it goin’ on. we say this & that & set up a date for friday when i get back from vieques. i’m all like buenas noches after that…

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PR blog day 1: nyc / san juan

// March 20th, 2005

this is my first trip to puerto rico, the “rich port” for pirates, conquerors & explorers of old, a last stop en route to españa. the 51st state of the union…

i left NYC on a sunny, gradually warming winter saturday afternoon. i am flying jetblue during the daytime, so i finally get to see the famed terminal 5, former home to TWA & next-door neighbor to jetblue’s terminal 6. the building is really amazing, even moreso under the sunlight in its resplendent white glass glory than in the dead of the night with its purple spaceship glow.

so i’m content going into this airport experience. it’s become kinda a hassle flying ays. i normally shave before i fly, but this time, i didnt get around to it. i’m especially looking my mid-eastern-self today. today, though, it feels like they’re kinda lax. the badd ass TSA white girl says, “what you think you’re tough b/c you’re black???” to the 2 big TSA brothas, she’s not paying attention to any of us passengers. i get a sandwich & then ma, i fly too.

since we’re flying over int’l waters, directTV is off, but they are showing first daughter, starring katie holmes, i watch a little bit of this lame movie, then to my surprise, find that they are showing sideways, which i’ve been meaning to see for a while & finally get to en route a san juan. now i want to drink a lot of pinot…

during the film, they call asking for a doctor, there is a medical emergency in the front of the plane. some people try to help, but i’ve been around docs all my life & i know that no one who’s offered can help whoever is in trouble. guys who’ve studied a bio textbook think they can do something b/c they know about glucose-based molecules. i wish i could do something… if only i didn’t get that UW in chem sophomore year… i thought how if ez or ariz were with me right now, they’d leap up to save this poor man’s soul. that soul who passed in the skies headed towards some sort of paradise. how ironic…. as we land, they inform us that there is a very serious medical situation & if we can’t handle it, we shouldn’t get off the plane. someone died on my flight tonight….

now i’m here in warm, balmy san juan on a sat. night… i check into the hotel milano in the heart of viejo san juan. i shower & solo, i go to the parrot club a minute away down calle fortaleza for dinner @ around 11pm. i order myself some mojitos & octupus ceviché. @ the bar, i make friends w/ roberto & teresa, who are exes who just ran into each other after years tonight. i talk to roberto about NYC - he visits his brother there often - & the virtues of boricuan women. he offers me a glass of champagne & implores me to try the parrot’s crab cakes, which soon become the best i’ve ever had! as the restaurant closes, we say our buenas noches… only 3 hrs after landing on this isla, i’m astounded by the niceties of puerto ricans.

i finally get a hold of pras & i meet up w/ him & his BK law school friends at plaza de colón. we go to a mod lounge called blend, which turns out to be right next to my hotel. they’re spinning old hamptons summer techno music, i drink some straight rum, we dance, we pass out…..

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sundance blog day 4

// January 25th, 2005

pretty persuasion - heathers on crack - over the top & fucking hilarious but apparently too controversial or un-PC for distribution…

keep calling the airline to no avail - flights are all booked up until thursday midnight - i find united flight for about $150, so i reserve it - i’ll keep trying jetblue or do standby..

chillin on main street in town w/ molly who we ran into randomly & megan.. both brian maya & jeff mandel’s films were featured in today’s sundance daily insider which was really cool. i decide on a whim to call brian maya’s number that i had from over a year ago when i last saw him fucked up somewhere in the EV. i read that brian was living in la argentina now where he made his film, so i didnt think he’d be here, but alas he is & we meet up to chat for a bit & catch up for old times’ sake…..

@ the eating establishment, i think drea d’matteo is sitting over there by the wall w/ some chick i recognize from NYC somewhere… i think or wish that she’s looking over @ me b/c she might recognize me from the paper party in summer 2004 when i met her when i was talking to some lesbians or maybe she thought i was christopha…. or maybe nothing at all, it’s just my imagination…. everyone else is heading back to NYC & i’ve convinced the bossman to let me stay 2 more days

212 w/ abramson.. the crooked tree creperie where i used to hang watching knicks games & on weekends with stef & the gang & nee j when he was around… small world indeed…

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sundance blog day 3

// January 24th, 2005

tonight is the gen art party, so everyone is resting up especially after last night’s debauchery, we’re all quite hung over… i call up the peeps, but no one is really doing anything. a couple guys went boarding for a bit, so i ended up doin’ it lazy style at pete’s crib w/ his roomates…. pete’s roomate andy, who’s an australian coach for the US ski team (he’s got this gold medal that gets him onto any mountain in north america), has 2 huge dogs, i mean like 100+ lbs.. crazy shit… pete’s other rooomate cam, who used to live with pete out in boulder, is sick, so we got some movies for him…

ironically enough, i’m at this indie film festival & i ended up watching the bourne supremacy (that car chase scene was dope) & troy, for which the consensus was overwhelmingly that it pretty much blew. back to the world of indie film, it turns out dino’s got an extra ticket for thumbsucker, which looks like a good film. we head over to the racquet club by the shuttle bus (they got free busses filled with LA & NYC people & cellphones & blackberrys & sundance catalogs running around town all day long). thumbsucker was a really good film IMHO, humorous, dramatic, well-acted w/ an interesting plot. bravo to lou pucci who played the protagonist thumbsucker. the film ended around 715pm & we had to leave by 730pm to get me to the empire canyon lodge on time for setup for the gen art | gersh sundance party. we stuck around briefly for the Q&A, lou pucci, tilda swinton, keanu reeves, benjamin bratt & kelli garner were all there…

we get to the lodge & start preparing for the party. this girl sarah’s there wearing a steelers jersey (the AFC & NFC championships were today, philly v. pats!), so we gets to talking & turns out girl is from NYC, tho she’s got a man, she’s a fine one, chill like that too. she’s out in UT to snowboard for 2 months & she likes to rhyme, damn…. i’m working the door at the party, as i usually do, i’m getting pretty damn good @ being the asshole door guy & i credit my experiences with the assholes working the doors @ NYC clubs for my success. what goes around comes around mothafuckaz! we got our lists all correct, but then of course the gersh guys show up with a last minute unsorted list of names, so we’re all trying to figure out how to handle this. i propose we head down to the office, which has got to have a computer, & write up a quick list in excel to sort & keep with a few key people. the shit works out & i solve that problem… LA people are jokers, for real. i might be ready to go out there & take the place by storm… that’s how eastsidaz roll….

the party starts getting hoppin’, catherine keener, david schwimmer, rip torn, the OC dude from chino, perry farrell DJing, ted danson & some other kinda celebs show up.

i work the door & end up doing the final shift as well for an extra hour b/c i’m actually having a little fun doing it. some dude shows up & says he’s VIP, but he’s not, then he says he’s with deep dish & i ask him if he’s WITH deep dish right now & he says he is, so i tell him to show them to me, i recognize them & there they are, ali & sharam. i let them all in VIP & kick it farsi style to my brothas. they were mad cool & invited me to come by tomorrow night @ premiere lounge for their set. i’m supposed to leave tomorrow night @ midnight, but i’m starting to think of extending my stay, i’m having too much fun & i haven’t seen jeff’s film yet nor brian maya’s, my old roomate from la argentina & the dollhouse, whose also got a film, palermo hollywood, out here. now i’ve got another excuse.

as the party draws to a close, i hang in the VIP with the gen art & marciano crew gettin’ all tipsy. despite being far up the mountain & out of the way of the rest of the parties - tonight snoop dogg & ludacris performed at different parties, i wish i went! - the party was a success & a damn good time. after the party’s the after-party, so we all headed to the condo ken & shaw are staying at & get all crazy. the ipod house playlist was kickin’ it late into the night until we ended the night @ the gen art condo. i’m crashing on the couch, it’s late & i’m drunk. i’m going to hit up some films w/ ian & co. tomorrow during the day & i’m going to hit up the airline & try to stay out here longer w/ my vacation days… you’ll seee…..

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sundance blog day 2

// January 23rd, 2005

loggerheads @ noon followed by dear wendy @ the same theater, eccles, in the high school, you even hear announcements for class & shit on the weekdays…. both were good films, loggerheads a good drama & dear wendy a powerful lars von trier scripted film about guns & youth all taking place in one small mining town, anywhere U.S.A.

we partied the night away at premiere lounge @ the hustle & flow party, john singleton & anthony anderson & the cast of the film was there, “get crunk in this mothafucka”.. turns out that alexa marino from back in college was the art director for the film, i saw her up on stage & ended up hangin with her in the VIP. we called up dino who was in town for sundance for the weekend as well, but he wasnt out… tequila on the house & tons of other free booze all over this town….

mad coincidences, its really a small world….

i’m starting to quickly realize that sundance is like LA & NY clusterfucking in a ski town in the middle of the utah wasatch mountains…. but its pretty fucking fun!

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sundance blog day 1

// January 22nd, 2005

get up rather early for me, around 9am, to meet up with the crew to hit the slopes. i’m psyched to be boarding for only the 3rd time & hoping not to fall on my arse nearly as much as the first 2 times.

the weather out here is great, about 45F & sunny. much nicer than NYC, which was grey & freezing the past few days. after getting the day started off right, marciano comes to pick me up from pete’s place. we get to park city mountain & split up into groups based on experience. i’m in the novice group with heather & sadie, two cool gals from marciano’s crew. we decide to tak lesons, which i didnt do my first time boarding out in killington.

after getting hooked up with boards, we meet our instructor, theresa, who’s from NZ & got that gnarly accent. turns out that taking a lesson was a good idea, i really got the hang of stopping & turning this time around. lean forward, lean back, lean back… but despite getting the hang of boarding, that didnt stop me from taking a nice fall coming down the mountain pretty fast & landing right on my shoulder just like i did a year & a 1/2 ago in central park playing ultimate. there goes the rotator cuff. my last run down the hill & i took a spill. i could hardly lift my left arm. i still had a good time tho & took on an intermediate slope almost successfully. the weather was nice, too nice, i was sweating like crazy & being the novice in winter sports that i am (i’m a beach kind of guy), i wore cotton instead of drifit or some other shit. i met up w/ the gang at the bottom of the mountain for lunch & then we headed to the 4pm event meeting at the gen art condo. it turns out that shaw also banged up his shoulder pretty good off a jump on black diamond trail. so, all banged up, we headed back to the valley.

we meet to plan our party for sunday night, i’m working door, all seems to be in order. then on to the parties for the night…

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