From The Slums To The Sun — A San Juan, Puerto Rico Visual Recollection
San Juan, Puerto Rico proved to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, even after the wake of 2017’s Hurricane Maria.
However, amongst all beauty lies a less attractive reality that must be kept hidden so that the beauty is able to shine brightest.
This is La Perla. The Puerto Rican slum known for being the backdrop of the much less intimidating hit single Despacito — which became the most viewed music video of all time in August 2017.
That’s just a month prior to Hurricane Maria.
Against the advice of many locals, we decided to venture into La Perla on our own in order to uncover what little beauty may be left. On top of that, we made it a goal to find our own way into a small neighborhood called Old San Juan. A gorgeous part of San Juan that one must travel through La Perla in order to truly enjoy.
This was a difficult adventure due to the fact that we were told that locals would grab phones/cameras out of the hands of whoever they deem fit (something which did happen to me) and never give it back (something that didn’t happen to me). Whew!
This is a visual recollection of From The Slums To The Sun.
Old San Juan was beautiful and well worth the wait. The walls of antipolitical graffiti. The strong standing Albizu University. And my personal favorite, The Caribe Hilton Hotel where you get to sip on a Pina Colada while sitting in the very same bar that Ramon Portas Mingot created the first ever Pina Colada.
But even as I was leaving the safety and beauty of Old San Juan, a part of still felt a strong connection to the realistically grounded slums of La Perla. With that, I looked back once more to see if the slums were visible from where I was. Instead, I saw the most beautiful couple draped in yellows walking towards what could either be the slums or merely just the sun.