I got bored on a Saturday and decided that I needed a creative outlet to express myself. So I want to post in here documenting whatever I'm working on: cooking, guitar, workouts, music, life, etc.
"Un Alma Errante" translates to A wandering soul and I think that sums up me right about now.
Hope you find my life somewhat interesting.
I made another really cool trip to Cincinnati for the WS Open towards the end of summer with my friends Kaitlyn, Keegan, Ishita, and my sister Anne. Although the salesperson lied to us on who we would get to see play, we still had an awesome time and got to see everyone at least practicing.
Center Court- Anne and I
The rest of the group
Me and David Ferrer…nbd
Anne and Mike Bryan
Andy posed for a picture with us but the idot I asked to take it fucked it up
The photo we gave to Nole with our twitters on the back (sadly he didn’t follow us)
The tourney was pretty incredible and I’m definitely going back next year for at least two days.
Sorry for being so behind updating again, but I currently in the process of switching blogging platforms from tumblr to blogspot (I also looked at wordpress for a bit, but the google integration of blogspot was too much to pass up). I wanted to find a way to convert all on my bloggage thus far into one blog, so that took awhile to find a way to do that. This should be my last series of posts on this blog, and I should be headed back to my old blogger at:
Well anyways, the end of summer was pretty awesome. I got to visit two of my best friends who now live/work in Chicago (John and Julian). My friend Nate and I drove from Louisville to Chi-town and stayed with Julian who lives in Lakeview (or boys town I should say) and is working downtown as a financial analyst (sounds pretty baller right?). I had a great time and I hope it’s the first of many visits to Chicago. Here are some photos (we did all of the touristy stuff):
City Skyline from the John Hancock Observatory
Nate protesting something
The night I hung out with John we went out to this food establishment called Weiner Circle, where the main feature is the terrible service the workers provide. It’s quite hilarious actually… They pretty much cuss and yell at you (so naturally I had to play along), but the food was really good.
Food pictures for my foodie friends:
Well… when Nate and I went out to Wrigleyville one night, Nate decided (without my consent) he wanted to be my wingman. Beer count - Nate 8 Jake 1, so Nate was feeling good you could say. The bar scene was quite empty (suprising for a Tuesday), but Nate started talking to some girls and it was pretty funny… One was a dancer (not a stripper haha) so we got to hear all about that… At around 2 I decided we should probably get out of there. The dancer asked Nate for his number and he totally ignored her haha. Nate is all about stupid flirting with anyone and everyone. So the next day Nate was pretty wiped, but I ventured out early to get some bfast
And later some Deep Dish Pizza
So my time in Puerto Rico is up…or at least it was almost two weeks ago. Again my timeliness on keeping blog posts updated hasn’t been the best, sorry about that. IPPE’s keeping me down, but more on that later. But I already miss the island. Puerto Rico is such a unique place full of culture. The people, food, and music are unforgettable. Hopefully I can share some of that culture with you guys in the near future. This has been one of the most profound experiences of my life. I have been very fortunate to stumble upon this opportunity. I owe most of it to my dad for reaching out to an old friend, and to his friend for making a few phone calls. It’s amazing how far the concept of “who you know” can take you in the professional world. I have really developed some strong relationships with my co-workers, so going back to Lilly is a definite possibility for me. Here are some of my co-workers from my last day (Unfortunately many of them weren’t there that day :( )! We had a small get together and I gave them a presentation on all of the funny things I learned in Puerto Rico. It was soo funny because I was highlighting a lot of the funny stereotypes and I said that Puerto Ricans get cake for everything. Guess what? They brought in a cake right after my presentation lol.
Lizette - Administrative Assistant. Can’t think of how many of my questions she answered. Thanks for that haha…
Dra. Acosta- Endocrinologist and she one of the warmest individuals I have ever met
Julio (PharmD) - Super cool guy and great teacher. Made sure I tried all of the beers from the island
Nelva- My cubicle neighbor who worked in finance. Great person who appreciated my peculiar sense of humor. Can’t believe she put up with me for 10 weeks haha.
Janet- Another wonderful person who worked near me in finance.
I have been very fortunate (mainly due to my parents exposing me to the world) that I have been able to travel to many different parts of the world and learn about many different cultures. I love travelling, but to me an experience like this is just something a bit more. Learning how to live in a foreign place and completing integrating yourself into another culture is so rewarding… It forces you to adapt and step out of your comfort zone, and it gives you a sense of awareness and perspective you never had before. I am very lucky to have lived in PR and Spain the last two summers. I have learned a lot about other people and their cultures, and I have learned a lot about myself. I hope I can continue to find opportunities like these that allow me live in other countries and integrate with other cultures. But my last week on the island wasn’t terribly exciting. I mainly just enjoyed the remaining time with my co-workers, and ran through the city in the evenings. I actually made it to that bar called Plan B I told you guys about earlier haha. We went there for drinks on my last day. The staff actually took me out to lunch on my last day as well, and it was a lot of fun. The got me a card that everyone signed, and my boss got me a really neat book on Puerto Rico.
So now I’m onto my IPPE rotation for the remainder of the summer. I’m working at Clark Memorial Hospital, and it’s pretty exciting let me tell you… I’m trying to make the most of it though. I usually go into these kinds of situations trying to learn as much as I can, but it’s frustrating when your pharmacists are too busy to work with you. A lot of the time, I feel like there’s nothing for me do, so I have to make stuff up.
But I do have some cool stuff planned for the rest of the summer. I’m going to watch the ATP masters tennis tournament in Cinncinati (8/14 to be specific); where Novak, Federer, and Nadal will all be playing. So that will be super exciting… I’m also going up to Chicago for three days with my friend Nate to visit our friend Julian who lives, so that will be a lot of fun as well.
Most importantly, I will also be visiting my friend John.
So the past week at work was pretty boring since almost everyone took their vacations to supplement the day we had off for fourth of July… So I had pretty much nothing to do and little motivation to do it. Speaking of the office, I started watching the show (like in chronological order) and I think I’m obsessed now haha. I guess I can relate to it a lot more now since I’ve worked in the corporate environment. I’ve also developed a fondness for French press coffee (There’s a french press at my apartment). It’s so clean and simple… And I’m definitely getting one for back at school so I’m sure you guys will get to try it out or at least here me talk about it repeatedly (I tend to repeat myself a lot).
I’m just getting kind of frustrated with myself and feeling that I somewhat failed at making any friends here my age (because I haven’t and it sucks…). It’s tough for me to go anywhere because I’m by myself, and everywhere I go I’m reminded of it. Whatever though, enough of me complaining about things that are my fault.
Wednesday on the day off (Go USA!), I took a stroll through Condado to take some pictures of the area and see the festivities going on. There’s a really good restaurants all around me, and a delicious bakery called Kasalta. Barack Obama actually ate at this place (which is apparently a big dea in Puerto Ricol) and I sat at his table. But this bakery is filled with every type of sweet imaginable. Good thing I am only living here for two weeks, otherwise I would be diabetic by now haha. They actually had a big celebration going on in the city, which was cool to see.
After all the good times together I think I’ll have to let you go… You were well worth the $10 I spent at Walmart.
View from my place
Couldn’t get it to rotate :( but it was good
Told you he ate here
Beach at Ocean Park (3 blocks from my place)
Condado on a stormy day… (but of course with festivities)
Friday after work I went to a bar with a few people from the office. Actually, we went to that bar called The Plan B (if you remember my previous story about the contraceptive misconception I previously had with that bar). It was a lot of fun; beer, pizza, and good conversation.
So Saturday, I went to Ponce for the day (1.5 hour drive). Ponce is the second largest city in PR. There is a bit of a rivalry between people from San Juan and Ponce (just ask everyone in my office). They are two very different cities, both with a lot to offer. But Ponce is a much more tranquil, relaxed place. So my cubicle neighbor, Nelva who is from Ponce, said her daughter Maria (who lives in Ponce and is my age) would show me around after she got off work. So that was that. I went early to see some of the things where you have to wait around a lot because I knew that’s the last thing Maria would want to do. The drive down to Ponce from San Juan is actually one of the most of the beautiful things about the trip (I would highly recommend it).
View of the drive from El Monumento al Jibaro. Monument to the Puerto Rican country people.
They have letters so you know you are in Ponce, one of the cities many advantages to San Juan…
I first visited La Cruceta observatory that overlooks the city. It was super cool and had great views of the city.
View of Ponce from La Cruceta
After that I went to the Castillo Serrales, the famous mansion of the owners of the Puerto Rican Rum Don Q. Don Q rum is a big deal here, and crazy enough I’m told you can get in West Lafayette. So I’m sure there is more to come on that. But the Castle was pretty cool, and it had good views of the city.
Castillo Serrales- House of the founders of the rum Don Q. Now a museum.
After that I finally met up with Maria to get some food. Maria is my age and just graduated from the catholic university in Ponce and plans on going to med school either in mexico or the Dominican Republic. It was too funny (since her mom is my cubicle neighbor) how much she reminded me of her mom. After dinner, she took to La Guancha, a really pretty boardwalk where people in Ponce gather for drinks, music, and just enjoying the beach atmosphere. After some drinks, we went back to the city square just to check out some things I missed. We got some ice cream in the plaza and just chatted it up for a bit. It was so nice to finally hang out with someone my age. Maria was a really sweet girl, and I’m bummed that I just got to meet her, considering I have one week left here.
La Guancha - Neat Boardwalk in Ponce where everyone goes to hang out and enjoy the evening over drinks/food
View of the bay at La Guancha
City Square of Ponce at night. None of my other photos of the city really turned out because it was dark :(
So the weekend before last I was a complete sloth, and I’m pissed at myself for wasting a weekend. I did nothing except watch soccer and tennis. On Saturday, I decided I wanted to go out for the Noche de San Juan (another big waste of time). It’s a big festival in honor of the patron Saint John blah blah blah… You can ask five Puerto Ricans the tradition and I guarantee you will get five different answers. Pretty much everyone (yes everyone, the entire population of Puerto Rico) goes to the beach at night, gets drunk, and at the stroke of midnight they all jump backwards repeatedly into the ocean. Sounds great right? Spanish holidays are mainly an excuse to celebrate anything, which is great haha. When it’s someone’s birthday in the office we all have to stop working to go eat cake and sing happy birthday to them. What a coincidence my birthday is next week haha… So anyways, back to the story, I texted my total of 4 friends, and as usual only Roberto was able to do anything (everyone else has excuses). I picked him and his friend David up and we went to one of their friends house’s to “pregame”.
You will notice pregame was in quotations because in my opinion it was more like gaming. It was super boring and lasted until about 3am when they were all super drunk and passed out. Not really something I do if I have to drive and be conscientious of my surroundings. After that, we went to some gas station that they said was a hangout (it was hoppin let me tell you…). Roberto was passed out at that point, so I decided we should head back. So I didn’t even make it to the beach, but I did manage to watch the sunrise from my place so I guess that’s a consolation prize (sorry I was too lazy to take pictures and I didn’t have my camera).
This past week was supposed to be very chill. I was going to clean my villa slowly and organize myself a bit since I had to move to another apartment on Sunday. But of course the best laid plans of Mice and Men go astray. On Tuesday, my friend Lucho messaged me on facebook and told me he would be arriving in San Juan on Thursday (WTF?! Thanks for the notice bud). Luckily I didn’t have much going on and it was easy to coordinate around but that didn’t keep me from stressing about it since I was basically responsible for making sure he had a good time. But it’s better when I’m with someone anyways because it forces me to get out and see the island more and the fact that we only speak Spanish really gives me a lot of practice hanging out with him. But I’m going to give him zero notice when I visit him in Peru haha. Seriously, if you are reading this Lucho I am just going to knock on your fucking door one day down in Peru. But he got in town too late to do anything on Thursday, so we just chilled at my place. Friday, I dropped him off in Old San Juan for the day since I had to work. Friday night we went to Condado and had dinner at an Italian restaurant called Via Appia. Then we stopped at a few bars just to sight see, it was pretty dead that night. Lucho had to try all of the local beers; Medalla (PR), Magna (PR), Presidente (Dominican Republic)
Saturday, we drove all along the west coast to the southwestern corner of the island to a beach called Playa Sucia (Dirty Beach). Contrary to what the name would lead you to believe, it is actually one of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Rico. The drive was long, but worth it, and we spent our whole day there. I packed a cooler with Blue Moon’s and tropical fruit, great flavors to enjoy on the beach. It wasn’t too hot and the water was nice and clear. I even started talking to a girl reading a physical chemistry book on the beach (I’m such a nerd), and got her number (I’m 3 for 3 on the island). Later we drove north to Rincón, a great area for surfing and enjoying the picturesque coast. We got some good dinner right on the beach; mofongo, fried pork, and chicken broth. Very local and flavorful food. We also stopped by the lighthouse on the coast on our way out.
Salt Flats in Cabo Rojo
Cliffs at Playa Sucia
Playa Sucia, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
The Tornado on the ocean we saw, luckily we were right next to an observation tower
Lighthouse at Rincon, Puerto Rico
Sunset at Rincon
Mofongo, fried breaded pork, chicken broth
Sunday, I had to clean my entire villa in the morning (whew! That’s over with…). Then I had to move into my new apartment for my last two weeks. The apartment is nice and has everything I need and the owner is super customer oriented, which is great. It’s a lot closer to everything (3 blocks from the beach, 3 blocks from Condado), perfect location so I’m sure I will enjoy it here a bit more (I’ll put up some pictures soon). But that day we went to El Yunque (the rainforest), which I have now been to four times so you could say I’m a bit of an expert on navigating there. Afterwards, we went to the nearby beach town of Luquillo to get some local food at the kioskos:
Piononos, Mayoketchup (yes, they actually produce it as one product!), bacailitos, papas mojadas llenas de carne
So now I only have two work weeks and one weekend left in PR! It’s crazy how time flies. I have done a lot here, but there is still a lot I want to do before I leave!
Well again, I have failed to blog anything in the last week and half due to two factors; my family visiting and my rotation in the trauma unit with Juan (one of pharmacists at Lilly). After Jack left on Monday, I had a bit of time to clean before my family arrived on Wednesday. Juan is pretty much a superpharmacist in that he does everything. He is a clinical research scientist in charge of cardiology products in Puerto Rico and soon to be diabetes, in addition to working at the university hospital as a clinical pharmacist and being an honorary faculty member at the University of Puerto Rico School of Pharmacy. So mainly Juan thought that rotating with him in the hospital would be great exposure for me, and it was.
I got to spend a total of seven days in the trauma unit of the university of puerto rico hospital (I should have taken my camera there :( sorry). I got to watch a few surgeries; a tracheotomy, a debridlement of an arm, and an abdominal hematoma removal. The hematoma removal I was actually scrubbed up for, and these were my first interactions with live human tissue. At the beginning of the hematoma removal when they started to cut I began to get a bit nauseous and I had to sit down for a few minutes to regain my composure, but after that I was fine and watched the rest of the surgery. Doing rounds with the medical team was awesome, the head of surgery Pablo is a genius. He was grilling me with medical questions, but I impressed him and gave Purdue a good name. It was too cool to be in an environment like that. The MDs there love the pharmacists and seek their therapeutic opinion. I also got to give a presentation on hypertension management in trauma (completely in Spanish) to the entire medical team of about twenty. I did an ok good job, considering the lack of information available on the subject. But I had such a great experience at the hospital, and I think I might be able to go back to do a rotation there, if I get that set up right (fingers crossed).
So back to the other reason I have failed to blog, my family. On Wednesday night after work, I took them to Raices, a touristy Puerto Rican restaurant in Old San Juan. It’s ok food, but very overpriced and pretty touristy. I would recommend finding a more hole in the wall restaurant.
The next day they toured Bacardi and Old San Juan while I got to give a presentation on the Puerto Rico Affiliate to all of Lilly’s Medical team in PR. It was mainly a presentation on the type and number of active industry funded clinical trials, and it showed how we were doing in comparison to our competition. Not to brag, but I did a really good job making the PR branch look good, so they want me to present it to corporate in Indianapolis. Friday Max had a freak accident and we think he pinched a nerve in his neck or something because he couldn’t turn his head to the right. Max has a pretty high pain tolerance (#bigbrotherexperience) and he was in a lot of pain. Fortunately he got better with a day and a half rest in bed, unfortunately him and my mom missed the rainforest that my dad and Anne went to that day.
Saturday we went west to see the Caves of Camuy and the Observatory at Arecibo. I had already described the caves for you guys so i’ll leave that out this time other than some photos. But the observatory is suppppperrrrr coooooll. It’s actually the largest radio telescope in the world, and even cooler…it’s where they filmed Goldeneye. I actually decided to walk up to a girl working there who looked about my age and made some conversation and exchanged contact info, mainly due to the fact that Anne said I wouldn’t do it. Friend count = 5.
The next day we took a plane out to Vieques for a day on the beach, the other Spanish Virgin Island that is part of Puerto Rico. We rented a jeep and drove along the coast of the island beach hopping. Since it was father’s day, we had many of the beaches to ourselves, which was super cool.
Sun Bay, Vieques (with no sun haha)
Entrance to the secret beach
Secret Beach, Vieques - We had it completely to ourselves… It felt like LOST haha
View of the coast from the Boardwalk
On Monday I took off from work and we went back to Old San Juan to see some things they didn’t get the chance to see the first time, El Morro and Paseo de la Princesa. Afterwards we went to Plaza de las Americas, the largest mall in the Caribbean to do some shopping. Tuesday I had to work so my family was back on their own for their last day. After being so active with me, they kind of needed a day to relax a bit. They left first thing in the morning on Wednesday, and I was sad to see them go. But I was really glad that they had the opportunity to visit me, and I was glad I had the opportunity to spend time with them (love you guys).
Since I have had visitors for the last two weeks, it’s weird to be living here by myself again haha. Actually, I am only living here until June 30, when I have to move out. Fortunately, I have secured a place to live for the last two weeks of my internship. I found a nice furnished apartment 3 blocks from the beach in downtown San Juan.
Due to popular demand (Linda cough cough), I will try to put up some more photos of food over the next few weeks.
Well again I am sorry to have kept you, my readers, out of the loop on what is going on in Puerto Rico. This past weekend my friend Jack came to visit me, and needless to say we had quite a span of exciting adventures. It was great to finally have someone else to go on excursions with. On Thursday, I left work early to pick up Jack from the airport. We hit up Old San Juan, and I somehow managed to find a parking spot on the street (this is usually impossible in Old San Juan). I took him to El Morro, Castillo de San Cristobal, along the Paseo de la Princesa, and through the city gates. Then we stopped at a local place called Punto de Vista (Point of View) for some lunch. I had some fish tacos and Jack tried Mofongo, which I have described to you before as the token Puerto Rican dish you must try if you come here. Then we came back to my place to chill for a bit before we headed out that night.
That night we decided to meet up with our mutual friend who lives here, Harold. Finding his house in the first place was an adventure on it’s own, especially when no one around here uses street names, highway numbers, or cardinal directions. They tell directions based upon where other things are (and usually those things move haha). Yea you drive to the burger king and turn right, then you turn left at that blue house, etc. We ended up finding his house, and we discovered he lives in the Fort Knox of Puerto Rico…Seriously, we had to pass through two security checkpoints, both of which called him to confirm our presence on the premises. After that we headed to a Mexican restaurant to meet up with some people, and then later we shifted to Old San Juan. I saw a cute girl in the bar who looked about my age and the guy she was standing with looked gay, so I was like meh what the hell and I went up and started talking to them. Turns out…she’s 30, and dating the guy, whoops… But they were nice haha and we chatted for a bit. On the way back we got the Puerto Rican version of Fat Franks, El Churry… It was uhhhmazing
Friday, we went to El Yunque (the rainforest) in the early afternoon. We had set out to climb to the top (standard American stereotype), and by accident we ended up climbing the mountain peak (2952ft). It was well worth it, we were at cloud level and the wind up there felt great after an intense climb.
Jack and Casper the friendly ghost
We kind of overshot our time doing this climb, so we decided to head over to Luquillo to check out the food at the kioskos and the beautiful beaches there. Apparently, the rainforest closes its gates at 6pm…what gates? There are no gates anywhere around the entire forest!!! But we weren’t going to take our chances here haha. Don’t take your chances in Puerto Rico, trust me on that one haha. Except paying for parking, f that noise it’s a scam. Find somewhere to park on the street, or just make your own spot. I don’t even think Puerto Rico has tow trucks so it’s all good. I’m going to compile a montage of the most epic parking I have seen on the island.
Remember we will lock you in with our invisible gates…
We didn’t end up getting back until real late so we decided to call it a night. That next day we were up and out of the house at 6:30am to catch a ferry to Culebra, one of the Spanish virgin islands. Unfortunately, when we got there we found out that the tickets were sold out for the whole day and that people usually camp out at like 4am for these tickets. Thank you online travel sites for recommending the easy/convenient ferry, you were spot on. But this place was a madhouse hundreds of crazy people. A group a young tourists heard me speaking Spanish with the guards, so I got to be translator for a bit and explain the situation. I don’t do lines… so I figured out what was going on and got out of there. But whatever, we were going to this island regardless. This trip had been so hyped by everyone we had talked to, everything we had read, and our own expectations. So we decided to book a flight for Sunday to head over there. If you go to Culebra, FLY! It is so much easier, more convenient, and there is no chance you will be stranded anywhere. Yes it costs alot more ($90 versus $5), but you save alot of time, dealing with massive crowds, and worrying about transportation. Since our plans for the day were all messed up, we decided to do what we do best, wing it. We went back to the rainforest because we didn’t get to do half of the trails we wanted to due to time constraints yesterday and that invisible gate.
You see that speck up there? Yea we climbed that and more…
After that, we grabbed some food on the road at a local place and hit up the Seven Seas Beach. It was beautiful…
This beach is probably where Corona advertisements are made
Yes that is my photo…
That night, we had booked a trip to take a tour of one of the biobays in Puerto Rico. If you visit PR, this is a must see!! There are only 5 bays like this in the world. There is a certain species of microorganism in the water that bioluminesces at night in response to agitation. Since this was a kayak tour, I didn’t take my camera :(
We got back pretty late due to traffic, and called it an early night to prepare for Culebra. The next morning, we took the 12 minute flight over to Culebra in this super small plane.
It was pretty awesome and super efficient. Then we spared no time in getting to the beach. The island is small, but take a cab. It’s $3 and you won’t break your sandals walking, thus requiring packing tape from a store to fix them…. Yes that happened to me. We got some snorkel gear at a dive shop, and the lady who worked there went to Jack’s high school…crazy. But then we made it over to Flamenco beach. This beach is the most incredible beach I have ever been on. The ocean is turquoise with soft white sand that goes all the way out into the ocean floor. I felt like I was swimming in a giant pool because I could see 30 feet around me.
Plane view of the island
So apparently, Culebra used to be a naval base and the US left a bunch of bombs underwater so you have to be careful…nbd. They also left a bunch of tanks onshore that are now decorated with graffiti, they look too cool.
All in all we had a great time on the island. Culebra is an incredible place, and I would recommend it to anybody. I would definitely go back.
In the gift shop, I overheard a lady complaining about how she had missed the ferry and was stranded here. She ended up being on our flight with her husband. I asked them how they were getting from the airport, and I had this compulsion to offer them a ride. They seemed like a nice Puerto Rican couple, and I felt like it would be the right thing to do. So we get into to the car and they start asking us where are from. We tell them we go to Purdue. Turns out, the guy graduated from Purdue…what are the odds…I tell him I’m from Louisville, then he tells me he is doing an iron man in Louisville in August…even crazier. We had a great time reminiscing about the good old times in West Lafayette. Then they kindly thanked us and we exchanged information so I can give him some places to check out in Louisville.
But we got back late again due to traffic. Today we in the morning we checked out the Bacardi Distillery before I took Jack to the airport. I felt like a true alchy drinking at 10am, but I got to try the rum that’s aged for 16 years!
Then I dropped Jack off at the airport and went back to work :( . It was the best weekend I have had here yet, and I really enjoyed spending it with one of my friends (especially one who appreciates my peculiar sense of humor).
My family gets here in 2 days!!! I’m super excited!
So the short work week was nice, but going to work is usually a nice social outlet for me anyways. I’ll have to post some pictures of the office and my cubicle soon haha. Everyone in the office is really getting to know me, and I have been shattering their American stereotypes which is nice as well. They told me I’m the best intern they have had, and my internship isn’t even halfway over yet (#winning). They said that all of the other interns just keep to themselves and don’t interact with the office staff. Considering that Spanish isn’t my first language (unlike all of the other interns before me), I’m pretty proud of myself for jumping out of my comfort zone to get to know my co-workers.
On Thursday, just as I was about to leave my boss asked me for a ride home because her son needed to use her car. So we walked out to the parking garage, and my car wasn’t where I thought I parked it…hmmm am I crazy? So I figured I would check the other floors since I tend to do stupid things. I began to pass through the other floors of the garage, but my car was nowhere to be found and I was starting to panic. Another co-worker and I even drove through every level of the garage, and no car… The even crazier thing is that the garage has two entry checkpoints with key card access, so you have to be an employee to get in/out. So my car was gone…I started to talk to security, and they told me I would have to call the police and file a police report. I was pretty stressed at this point, so I was walking back up to the office to use the phone. When I got there, about eight of the workers were in the secretary’s office, and as soon as I walked in I was informed my car was accidentally given away to another Lilly employee for the day (sigh of relief that an elaborate car heist wasn’t pulled off, but moderate frustration since my stuff was in the car). Luckily, I would get my car back Friday, but I had to drive a minivan for a day…fun fun. To the young secretary (who I tend to flirt with on a regular basis) who made the error, I took her my house keys the next day and asked her if she wanted to give away my house for a day haha…
This weekend was pretty fun. I finally cooked something on Friday, which ahs taken forever. Just a simple chicken marsala, rice, and a salad with a medalla to drink. Produce is really expensive here, so it’s hard to cook my usual dishes.
Friday night I went out to the Condado area again for a few beers. Again, I went to bars by myself, and I decided I was going to start talking to random people. I sat down at a bar showing the basketball game. I started talking to this girl Mirelys for a bit, and turns out she is my age and just got her accounting degree. We chatted for a bit, and she gave me her number to hang out sometime. So total friend count raised to 4…I’m so popular. Later, I met with my friend Roberto and we went to some local places. He was already nine beers in when I found him, and he said he wasn’t drunk…yeah ok. He introduced me to all of friends, but other than an introduction I didn’t really get a chance to talk to anybody (bar environment). Roberto is quite the character if I must say. We may not agree on everything, but he makes for good company haha.
On Saturday, I toured the caves of Camuy with Roberto. The Camuy cave system is the third largest in the world, and it was pretty incredible. Camuy is just an hour drive west of San Juan, and I would highly recommend it. Check out all these photos:
After the caves, we went to this really cool restaurant in the mountains Roberto likes. It is a mix between German and Puerto Rican food, which is crazy. But it is called Casa Bavaria, and it is tucked away in the mountains of Orocovis in the center of the island. The view from the terrace was almost as good as the food. I had a schnitzel, rice, and mofongo (the iconic puerto rican dish).
You are probably like, what the fuck is mofongo? Well it’s that stuff towards the back of the picture… It’s a dish made of fried plantains that are combined with olive oil, garlic, broth, and whatever meat. It is amazing…
On Sunday, I went to a local region called Pinones, which is famous for it’s kiosks. This is Puerto Ricos contribution to fast food. Here you can get all kinds of crazy delicious fried foods. Sorry I forgot my camera :( but I’ll paste in photos from the web. There’s also a beach there, so I attempt to tan and fail miserably haha. Here are some of the foods I tried with the descriptions:
Alcapurrias-seasoned meat covered in fried, mashed up root vegetables. Favorite dish of the day.
Ok this one is less common, this was the best photo I could find
Piononos- (Far Right) sweet plantains surrounding a meat filling. The plantains act as a sort of sandwich, and the entire thing is deep fried (like everything else haha)
Bacaladitos- deeply breaded and fried cod fritter…mmmhmhmh
My family gets here in nine days!! Crazy how time flies.
So this weekend, I got to attend some annual physician conferences as a Lilly Representative, which was pretty cool. They also decided since I live a whole 15 miles away that they were going to put me up in a hotel in downtown Condado for the weekend (doesn’t make sense, but I’ll take it haha). So Friday, we attended the cardiology conference at the Ritz Carlton. These conferences mainly consist of lectures sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry to promote evidence based medicine. There is supposed to be minimal bias in the content of the presentations, but that doesn’t always happen as I found out. The cardiology conference was nice, and I learned a lot about several disease states I had never heard of. That night, I went to check into my hotel to find out that for some reason my reservation had been cancelled?! Why would that happen I asked? After several phone calls, I found out my boss’s assistant had cancelled my reservation in place of someone else’s by accident (whoops, way to fuck up). So I was like ok switch the reservations, but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to use the corporate credit card on file and I had to charge it with my own (luckily I be reimbursed). After that 2 hour ordeal, I had plans to meet up with my dad’s co-worker’s daughter Amanda who lives here and is about my age. I met her and her friends Natalia and Roberto. They are pretty cool, and after dinner we bar hopped a bit. It’s good I am finally starting to make some friends here. Here are some pictures at Condado at night
The Stop and Go Bar on the left. Great place for cheap beer and memorable company
So Saturday and Sunday we attended the Rheumatology conference. It was really cool, and I have about 20 pages of notes on disease states so I learned something. It was a great opportunity to network with physicians and other professionals in attendance. As expected I was the youngest looking person in attendance by far, but I saw a younger lady who looked like she had just graduated medical school (it helped she was pretty attractive haha). I started talking to her about where she did her medical training and when I said she looked close to my age she laughed and said I made her day. There was also a guy at the conference with an italian espresso machine handing out free coffee, and this made my day. I started talking coffee lingo to him, and turns out he’s a coffee consultant…what a badass job. So I got his business card, and now I have a professional coffee hook-up.
Saturday night I decided to go out to a nice restaurant in Condado called Yerba Buena. It’s a mix between Cuban and Puerto Rican, and it was really good. I had picadillo a caballero, which is like seasoned ground beef with a fried egg and fried potato on the top. That description was bad, so here’s a picture:
It also came with black bean soup, and it was amazing. I had a cuba libre to drink, which is coke and rum (Don Q is the PR rum of choice although the bacardi factory is here). The bartender pretty much filled the glass with rum because I couldn’t taste any coke and I was feeling it after haha.
Live music at the restaurant
View of the beach from the conference… distraction maybe?
Last night when I was walking home some guys yelled out the window, “Where is the Plan B?”. I said, “There’s a Walgreens down the street”, to which I received a mad/confused look. Turns out, Plan B happens to be a bar I passed on my way out of the hotel this morning haha
On my way home today, I stopped by the largest mall in the carribean, which happens to be right across the street from my work. This place blew my mind, and the picture doesn’t do it justice.
Pretty much every department store known to man is there. I will have to go back soon!
Sorry for the super long post! And to repeat the grammatical I made somewhere above, I be more organized and try to space it out a bit more next time.
So these weeks keep flying by faster and faster. I have already been here for three weeks, which is nuts (I only have 7 more weeks, so I need to pick up my pace on adventurous encounters). On Monday, I got to go to one of the leading diabetes centers in Puerto Rico. This center basically functions as a private contractor to conduct clinical trials for big pharma. The experience was great to see how patients are enrolled in the process and how data is collected and what not. I got to sit in on an initial patient visit to check eligibility for a trial, during which I caught a drug interaction. This led me to ask, “Why aren’t there any pharmacist here?”. Not really sure, but that needs to change (I’ll spare you the rant).
On Tuesday, I met with a Purdue grad that works for Lilly in their grant office. He was visiting PR to give training to some of the associates here. He taught me a lot about Lilly’s standard protocol to award grants (usually for conferences related to continuing medical education). He also talked a lot about Lilly’s fellowship opportunities, which is a very interesting path I am considering. Then we reminisced about Purdue and all of the pharmacy classes. The other days I mainly just worked on some projects and sat in on some training sessions. I am currently coordinating a visit to the University of Puerto Rico hospital with one of my co-workers Juan, who is a specialty pharmacist in the critical care unit, so that should be fun.
So Sunday afternoon I toured the Barcardi distillery a few miles down the road, and it was awesome. As you enter the facility, the guard gives you a parking pass that has drink recipes on the back, and the entire tour is free! You start out in a sort of pavilion area where the tour meets and two free drink tickets are provided. You then proceed to travel by a shuttle car 100 feet across the pavilion to the distillery center. They then give a bit of history about how the company was started and how rum came into existence. Rum is produced by the fermentation of the molasses from sugar cane (it has quite an interesting smell). From there, we proceeded upstairs where a bartender told us about the Bacardi products, and showed up how to make three classic drinks: the dachary, the mojito, and the cuba libre. Here is the lineup of Bacardi’s products. From left to right: the original, gold, 8, and limited reserve. Original is fermented for 1 year, gold for 2, 8 for 8, and limited reserve for 12-16 years. The longer the fermentation, the darker the color. All of the fermentation is done in american white oak barrels (all from Jack Daniels I might add…). The limited reserve is only available at that gift shop and a few stores in Puerto Rico, so precious commodity? haha maybe i’ll buy a bottle for $90…
After that, we got to see the fermentation vats and here about the unique strain of yeast Bacardi uses and their efforts at preserving the environment. Then the tour ended, and we were taken back to the pavilion and gift shop for more drinks!
After that, I took a ferry from a small town called Cataño over to Old San Juan for the afternoon. I would highly recommend this because you avoid trying to drive and park in OSJ, which is almost impossible. My first stop was lunch, and I happened upon the place where the Piña Colada was invented. So needless to say I had to have one.
After lunch, I went to roam around the city a bit. I walked around the streets, along the wall of San Juan (constructed in 1630), and into the two fortresses on the islet. San Juan is a really cool city just to walk around and take in the atmosphere. It is the definitely the cultural hub of Puerto Rico. It is a great place to go any time of the day to sit back on the terrace and enjoy some good food and conversation over a few Medallas. I am sure I will frequent OSJ many more times.
So this weekend I was determined to do some exploring, and I did just that… One of my friends Jack (who is coming to visit me in June) has a friend who is from here that goes to Purdue (Harold). So I messaged him, and we planned to meet up Friday night to check out the Condado area. Condado is a vibrant area located east of old san jaun. This area is where most of the younger crowd goes out to on the weekends. We met up and had some drinks at a hippie bar called Cantina. I tried a good Dominican beer called Presidente, which came in a giant bottle with a shot of some licorice rum that was tasty. After some cheap drinks, we made our way over to a jazz/dance bar hybrid called Miro. That was pretty cool, but the crowd was a bit too young (the drinking age is 18 here). I met one of Harold’s friends (Sofia) who is also from Puerto Rico and goes to Notre Dame. They are both really cool, so now I have some friends my age haha.
After Miro, we got some food at the Five Guys of Puerto Rico (Buns). Then we went to a few smaller bars, and decided to call it an early night at around 3am (not so early for me). But apparently they usually stay out until 6am, but Harold had to work at 8am so that was his definition of an early night. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera :( I’ll get some pictures next time!
So despite going to bed at 3:30am, I managed to wake up at 9:30am. I decided I was going to venture over to El Yunque rainforest, the only rainforest in the US parks system. The island is small, so it took me like 40 minutes to get there mainly out of me trying to read the shitty road signs. The Yunque is super cool, and it’s free to get in (don’t let the visitors center fool you). There is a nice road that runs through the entire park, and each main attraction has a sign. The neature here is breathtaking. There are some really cool trails, waterfalls, and observation points that really culminate the essence of El Yunque. The only problem for me was that my camera decided to die about half way into the rainforest.
But no worries, I plan on going back for another visit since I didn’t hike to the mountain peak to get the best view of the rainforest. Here are some of my photos below. Afterwards, I drove to a nearby beach town called Luquillo to get some sun and enjoy the ocean. Unfortunately, it decided to rain as soon as I sat down. May is the rainy season here so it rains almost every day, but the nice thing is that
it clears up really fast.
Yokahu Observational Tower
View of the forest from the tower. You can see the beach 10 miles away!
Yea I felt like I was in Jurassic Park
Woah…This has definitely been the longest gap between posts. Sorry to keep all of you readers waiting with bated breath. So I will give you a run dun of my first two weeks in Puerto Rico.
So first, I will talk a little bit about my awesome job with Lilly. So far it has been one of the most incredible and diverse experiences that I have ever had. I get to act on almost every front of the healthcare system. I interact with other pharmacist, physicians, clinical scientist, students, and people in marketing to name a few. I also get to interact with a lot of important thought leaders and political groups in Puerto Rico. I work out of the office, but I also get to field visits almost every week. In the past week alone, I’ve gotten to visit the University of Puerto Rico hospital to correspond with a client about a clinical question, visit the diabetes center of Puerto Rico to learn about the services offered there, and participate a meeting of the Puerto Rican healthcare council. Everyone in the office is super cool, and they all like me so that’s good. I won’t bore you with any more of the details. Work takes up my weeks, so I don’t get to do any cool exploration outside of the weekends :( but I’m going to plan a bit better and try to integrate my excursions a bit more.
Last weekend I briefly toured Old San Juan. On Friday night, I went out with my boss’s son and his friend to bar hop in Old San Juan. San Juan lives up to the hype in having a reputation for the most vibrant nightlife in the Carribean. We went to some really cool bars with good beer. The Puerto Rican beer is called Medalla, and it’s pretty good (nothing special, but a good light beer). Puerto Rico is better known as the rum capital of the world. This weekend when I go out I intend to try Don Q, the local rum of choice. One of the cool things about the nightlife in Puerto Rico is how welcoming the Puerto Ricans are to the tourist population. There is usually an even distribution of locals to tourists at most bars, and the locals enjoy a good time mingling with you.
Saturday through most of the day I slept in and was worthless, but that afternoon I went to Old San Juan to tour the city a bit. Old San Juan is a smaller islet that is accessible from the main island by one bridge. It is about 3 miles long, so the it is very easy to cover on foot. But the old town is a culmination of all the mixes of culture Puerto Rico has to offer. Since I didn’t get there until late afternoon, most of the attractions were closing, so I opted to just walk around for a few hours. Of course I intend to go back for a more comprehensive tour later, but here are some photos:
View of the city from El Morro
I’m sure you guys have seen these photos on FB, so I’ll have to take some more. But I’m finally getting more comfortable with the area after almost two weeks haha. I am slowly meeting people and getting more extrovertive with myself. Not that I’m so much of an introvert, but I need to make a more conscious effort to make relationships with people here. I started here very by myself and out of my comfort zone, so changing that and assimilating myself with the culture is my goal. Also, I have slacked on my documentation of cultural exploration. That will change from this point on! I plan on giving a better breakdown of the island than Frommer’s haha.
So I have been using running as a productive way to become familiar with the city. Here are some photos I took on my run tonight