Just a few weeks after PokemonGo went live, I went on vacation to Puerto Rico. I figured that going away to another island meant I would have access to Pokemon that no one had encountered in New York and that I would possibly be open to opportunities that no one back home would come across so easily. Mew Two would probably be next to a stand that sells coconut water and I would have three Dragonite by merely going on a city tour. As I walked off the plane on July 11th at 10 am, I impatiently opened the PokemonGo app on my way to baggage claims, because there was no time to waste, right?
I mean, if JFK was brimming with gyms and other players, then surely the San Juan International airport had to be the equivalent.
I instantly discovered that there were no Poke stops or gyms in sight. I also couldn’t see any Pokemon “Nearby.” I figured that, just maybe, this was the situation at the airport but surely it would be different once I got to the main streets of the city. But it happened again. In the streets of San Juan, at the hotel, and everywhere else I went, there wasn’t anything at all, just blank maps all around me.
Puerto Rico had NOT gone live with Pokemon yet. My social media feeds were busting with Pokemon info and every article I came across was on tactics, discoveries, and always something new that i didn’t know was happening, due to my blank PokemonGo maps. My friends, who were also devastated by the Pokemon alienation, set out to Jet ski and enjoy the beaches and eventually decided not to look back on the app till they got home.
Exactly one week later, my friends went back to New York, but I was scheduled to spend another week vacationing on the island. They felt like they were one week behind everyone, but I didn’t much care anymore, since the mojitos and clear waters of the beaches were far more interesting then capturing an over abundance of Pidgey’s that seemed to be everywhere back home.
On a particularly rainy day, after my friends had left, I decided to go to the mall for some shopping. Plaza de las Americas is one of the biggest and impressive malls on the island and I figured shopping would be making good use of my time. While on line at hot topic, I noticed that all of the people in the store seemed to be looking at their phones. The girl in front of me whispered to her friend in Spanish that the store only had “Rattata” I looked around to see if there was a Pokemon section with Rattata plushies, but I couldn’t find any.
Was she talking about PokemonGo? I opened my app just to see and the PokemonGo app came to life. My phone vibrated and a Ratata was on my screen. The app had finally gone live. And had I not overheard the girl telling her friend in the store, I surely would have noticed all of the people in the mall that were hovering over stores and walking around with opened apps looking for the nearest Pokemon. A few cities away from San Juan I even bumped into players that would skateboard around their town searching for Pokemon to capture.
I didn’t find Mew Two the way that I hoped, but I found out that Old San Juan was functioning just like Central Park was back home. It was like a massive Pokemon farm. AT&T had even come out to welcome all of the Pokemon app users with representatives holding signs advertising their multiple charging posts at the foot of the famed tourist location, EL Morro. Six and Seven players would hook their phones up to charge, while they continued to play on their phones.
Locals were wearing Pokemon shirts, pants, and book bags. It was like a revolution took place over night. Everyone was very open to telling me what was in the area and where I could find the nearest pokestop. Everyone was talking to perfect strangers and sharing information. The most welcoming experience I’ve had in a long time. It was so exciting to have experienced the beginning of the Pokemon mania, since I found out about the game days after it had already gone live in the states. I can now say that I was there when it all started, atleast in Puerto Rico, and I was a witness to the catching madness that took over the island when the app went live.
What was your experience when the Pokemon app went live? comment below or message me here –>
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