It’s Sunday evening here in San Juan with the sun just starting to dip. I got a little kick in the butt to do this blog today (thank you Mom) instead of pushing it into the week where there is never an obvious time to blog.
I’m sporting a tiny sunburn from strolling by the ocean daily this week, but it was worth it. I made a list of local things that improve my mood, and I’m trying to do them more often. There’s been so many periods in my life where I’ve neglected the best parts of the city that I live in. Those places/activities that every time I do them I wonder why it had been so long since the last time.
I’ll share a few from my little San Juan, Puerto Rico list:
- Getting coffee and drinking it at Gusto’s in Santurce. Not only is the coffee extremely good, but the service, design, and open-air ambiance makes this one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. I have great conversations with friends, intense coding sessions, blog, write fiction, read, and journal about my life here. There isn’t wifi and it’s more of a social place than a work spot, but I enjoy that aspect of Gusto’s. On my list this was a pretty obvious one, even factoring in the fact that I’m consuming caffeine here and naturally going to be happier.
- Ocean Park beach. This is my favorite local (semi-walking distance/short Uber) beach for hanging out. The waves are pretty small, there’s a nice amount of people along the beach but not too crowded, and plenty of options for shade or sun. The water is clean, warm, and often very blue. Sometimes I go now in normal clothes without even planning to swim. I just like to lay in the shade, read a book, call my friends, etc. It’s also a block from the hipster street Calle Loiza which has some fun food spots.
- Copamarina Beach Hotel Guanica. This is a few hours away by car in the south part of the island, but it’s currently my favorite local getaway place. There are hikes and other things to do nearby, but I like using the hammock and hanging on their beach relaxing. The food is quite good, and in the evening it’s fun to sit by the fire pit and in the hot tub.
- Spending a day in Old San Juan. They have some great hidden restaurants hidden, several good coffee shops, and I enjoy walking around and seeing the unique architecture.
Three out of four of those things are free (the coffee is $3.4 so close enough) and I can do them regularly. I’ve been going to Gusto’s almost everyday to do my morning journal/plan my day even though I have a good coffee maker and coffee at home. Same thing with going to the beach (I often substitute a local piece of the ocean that is closer to my apartment and pretty nice too). I’ve been purposely spending more time there, particularly when I’m going to make some long phone calls/read for a while.
My natural default isn’t always to get out of the house, even when I know I’ll be happier if I do. I travel so much that I can become a homebody, especially when getting back from a long trip. It’s made this past week so much more enjoyable taking advantage of the little things I like here in San Juan.
Outside of coffee and strolling by the beach I did a lot of coding this week. Eyes burning at the end of the evening, forcing myself to quit type of coding. I’ve had an idea for a trading project since last summer, but could never get myself to prioritize it. It took 3 days of 6-8 hour max effort sessions (with only few pacing back and forth breaks, no eating even), but I finally got a working version of a new bot running in the financial markets now. I forgot how much work goes into optimizing a bot after it goes into production, but it’s probably a good thing because I would have procrastinated longer on it otherwise. It does seem promising though, so keeping my fingers crossed I can fine-tune it enough to become a new money maker. It is an empowering feeling knowing that I can code pretty much anything I want, even if there are rough patches along the way (when the program finally worked without giving me an error message I was shocked and suspicious).
Other than that I’ve been low key just cooking, reading, and training. Book wise I’m still on the same few, rotating through a few novels/short story collections. Going to leave with you a few pics from Bali (taken about three weeks ago) that I found on my phone (thanks Johanna). The second photo was a smoothie from Crate, one of the infinite healthy/hipster/millennial places that I loved in Bali. The third was a personal nitro cold brew contraption at a cafe in Ubud that I thought was cool. Ubud probably has the superior coffee on the island, although I would still prefer to live in Canggu. Lastly is a picture from a local pork satay street food vendor…. my mouth waters just writing this. I didn’t eat much street food, and only found out about pork satay at the end, but I miss it badly.
Have a great week!