Hello again! I am sorry for the long delay in posts. The end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 was crammed full of me getting sick, James hurting his back, and death in my family. I have lots of content on the way, though, starting with a recap of an awesome weekend that we just spent visiting DeLorean owners in Puerto Rico!
Earlier this year, the Puerto Rico DeLorean Club extended an invitation to DMC Houston to attend what was going to be the biggest gathering of DeLoreans in the history of the island - 15 cars out of the 21 known to be in Puerto Rico would be in attendance at the XXIV Gran Feria de Autos Antiguos, a huge gathering of all makes and models of cars in Puerto Rico to celebrate the island's love for the automobile. James and I have always wanted to visit Puerto Rico, so we jumped at the opportunity to not only set off on another adventure, but to visit with the very proud and active local DeLorean club. Puerto Rico itself also represents a giant "could have been" in DMC history, as it was the other major contender along with Belfast, Northern Ireland to host the production facilities of the DeLorean DMC-12.
James and I flew out on Thursday afternoon from Houston and arrived that evening in San Juan, PR's capital city. There was a local time difference of +2 hours from our time zone. We decided to pick up a Mustang convertible (which we sadly didn't take any pictures of!) from the car rental facilities and use it to cruise around the island on Friday, since the show didn't officially begin until Saturday. We set the alarm for our usual get-up-for-work time and watched the sunrise over the water from our hotel balcony. We then got ready for the day and jumped in the Mustang to grab some breakfast on the way out of town. We hit a Krispy Kreme on the outskirts of San Juan... don't judge... there aren't very many in Houston. Then we continued counter-clockwise around the island for the remainder of the day. The day was sunny and about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A wonderful break from the sudden cold front we were dealing with back at home. The island is a little over 100 miles long, and about 40 miles wide, so it was easy to fit a loop around it into a day trip. The scenery was beautiful and there was plenty of wildlife to watch.
Saturday and Sunday were reserved for the Gran Feria, and it did not disappoint! James and I headed over to the tent that housed the DeLorean club and we were given an impressive welcome. DMC Houston does a lot of business with its members, so it was awesome to finally be able to put faces to all of the names and voices that I have heard over the phone in the last few years. I could always tell by the conversations I would have with them that they were an extremely close-knit group that had a lot of pride in their cars and the ties that they had with Puerto Rico. That pride was even more obvious in person. To all the club members - You guys are amazing and you are true fans of the car! We can't wait to see you again!
You can check out their Facebook page here!
And if you would like to see more pictures, check out the full album here!
One of the very last places that James and I got to visit before our Japan trip came to an end was the Tori no Iru Cafe, or Toricafe for short. It uses the same concept as the cat cafe that James and I visited, but this time we were given ponchos to wear instead of the soft slippers that we received at Mocha. Poop ponchos. Because this particular cafe is full of birds. And birds have extremely fast metabolisms. So fast that their average body temperatures are 106 degrees Fahrenheit! That equals a poo about every 15 - 20 minutes. Multiply that by the 50 or so birds that were in the room... you can imagine how glad we were for the ponchos.
The cost per person was 1500 yen for 60 minutes with the birds, or about $15.00 USD. Well worth it, if you ask me! The cashier area also held some gift items for purchase as well as a few owls that were perched away from all the ruckus in the parrot room. There was a double set of doors leading into the parrot area that made an airlock of sorts, so you had a chance to make sure you had no cling-ons on your way out. We could hear the chatter and squawking getting louder as we opened each door, and soon we were among them. James made the mistake of lifting his arms up scarecrow style to adjust his poncho and BOOM - he was covered in parrots that had come in for a friendly landing.
It would be a disservice to Toricafe to call it just a parrot cafe. It also housed ducks, toucans, a trumpeter hornbill who loved neck rubs, and a bright green turaco.
Being a bird owner, I was concerned that the birds would be stressed or in cramped conditions, but I was pleasantly surprised with the bird enclosure. All of the lights, wall outlets, electrical cords, and anything else that could be dangerous to a curious bird were covered over with safety grating. There were plenty of perches and corners that they could fly to that were out of reach from humans if they wanted a break. There was also an employee present in the enclosure at all times to make sure the birds weren't being harassed by the customers (luckily we had the place all to ourselves), and to monitor the food and water that the birds had. She also kept the poop cleaned up so that it didn't accumulate. None of the birds had broken feathers or appeared sick, and they were all fully flighted (no clipped wings!) so they could just enjoy being birds. The cafe also opens in the late morning or early afternoon (depending on the day) and stays open for only seven hours per day, so the birds have plenty of time to rest and wind down and aren't forced to be on display for people for excessive amounts of time. They need more sleep than you think.
And boy did these birds LOVE people!! They were all extremely friendly and at some points we each had about a dozen on us. They would land on your head and groom your hair, stand on your shoes to play with your shoelaces, snuggle up under your chin or ear, and chatter to you from your arm. There were a few long wooden benches in the enclosure for you to shuffle slowly over to and take a seat to just let the birds go crazy. Neither of us were bitten or lunged at, and lots of them were eager for head scratches and neck rubs. They were all extremely docile no matter how large they were or how intimidating their beaks looked. Neither of us were without a bird for the entire time, and that was by their own choice, not ours. James and I both agreed that this was the coolest place we went to on the trip and that we would definitely go again the next time we came to Japan. It will make you smile, even if you have never considered yourself a bird person. The only warning I can give is to wear shoes with laces you don't care about, as the birds WILL remove the clear plastic ends on them - they think they're not supposed to be there and they want to be helpful.
Hi, I'm Sarah and I'm a car nut, bird lover, and musician. I have recently transitioned from music teacher to automotive service manager, and there have been lots of cool stories and crazy characters along the way!