The colonial city of Old San Juan, usually bustling with life, has been largely deserted since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. But a man named Jesus Santos, plastering the damaged cathedral, is spreading optimism by singing operatic love songs as he works. Jillian Kitchener reports.
In the aftermath of destructive Hurricane Maria, San Juan's picturesque old city is a ghost town. But if you visit Puerto Rico's colonial capital, you are greeted with a love song. NATS - singing Jesus Santos is not only plastering the damaged Cathedral of San Juan Bautisa… he's spreading some optimism throughout the Colonial City. He says, "After such a strong hurricane, I sing to keep spirits high. We've been through a hard time but we are looking to the future. we'll get through it." And Puerto Rico needs all the tourist dollars it can get. The bankrupt island is still struggling to get past a decade-long recession and a $72 billion debt crisis. The city's historic luxury hotel, El Convento remains full with dozens of U.S. federal employees… but besides that, locals say bookings have dried up. The hotel still doesn't have consistent water and electricity. And back at this cathedral, built in 1540, which has survived 496 hurricane seasons, the singing worker says; residents too will persevere in time.