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The flight was more tedious than you thought it would be, but finally, your plane touches down in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. You are glad, however, that you paid less than half of what most paid for the 10 hour flight. And after the landing process, there is your contact in his black SUV, smiling with the door open in the loading area, amid the usual throng of busses, cabs, and limos, waiting help you load your bags. Jumping in the shotgun seat, you meet Randy for the first time. It was an arrangement suggested by Scott, who rented you both rooms in a leased house in Arecibo. That is about fifty miles from the airport which is in the city of San Juan, so you get a a little tour of PR, as they call it here. Randy hails from the Seattle area, and you are from a town not far from there, called Port Hadlock. You are really grateful that he is driving, because San Juan is a big city, with lots of traffic, busses and trucks and plenty of streets to get lost on, and the signs are mostly in Puerto Rico’s own brand of Spanish, which is slightly different from Mexican Spanish, which you are vaguely familiar with. Puerto ricans and tourists there hav their own idea of driving.Once rolling down the highway, Randy tells you about his mission in PR, and some of the interesting points of historical interest.
Spain brought the Catholic church to the island hundreds of years ago. They built great churches and forts and fought with everybody it seems, including Pirates. You drive by big stone artifacts of a diverse past history. The most eye catching thing a PR is the lack of exposed dirt. Like Washington State, any vacant area is covered with grasses, shrubs, the occasional tree, and horses. They are smaller than Quarters or Arabians and according to locals, are one vertebrae shorter. The owners simply tie them up in a field or beside a road But no pine forest here, no, it is after all tropical. The greens tend to be less dark , and more yellowish green than you are used to.
You are a little amazed at some of the malls and stores like Wal Mart, are here just like home. Kinda deflates a certain amount of mystique. After all, you are now inside of the Bermuda Triangle, and you are adventurous. So your first night is uneventful, sharing an old but nice house in the professional section of Arecibo close to the beach. There is a transition evident, of old and new architecture side by side. The house you are in is definitely old. Built without air conditioning, it has no windows, only screens, with metal louvers to shut during hurricanes, and open for the cooling breezes to flow right through the house. The ceilings are twenty feet high, and the fans run constantly in the Summer. You’ve got a bicycle to ride, but no car. there is a nice walking and riding path that runs along the beach, which has a lot of rocks, points, coves and bays, one nearby is named,”Crashboat Bay”. Ouch!
On one of your first journeys of exploration, you meet a four foot long green marine Iguana; running along the concrete rail that follows the beach path. This is all fairly new, and made out of concrete, obviously for tourists. You stop, and he stops, staring at you as you unload your camera and get some great pictures of him. Your next fun thing is Randy decides to go up to the Arecibo Radio Telescope, up in the mountains. This is about 30 miles from your room, and small twisting roads to get there. Puerto Ricans don’t bother with things like the lines in the middle of the roads, so once again you are treated Randy’s driving skills. You and Randy explore the visitor center, and gladly pay extra to see the control room of the telescope. This is where Contact was filmed, and the tour was worth the price. many times you are confronted with the Natives who speak only the local version of Spanish and no English, but are some of the warmest and friendliest people you have ever met. Constantly the weather is a reminder of where you are, as it is humid and warm. Shorts, sandals, and tee shirts is all you wear, though in some parts of the cities, the professional class, like lawyers, do wear suits! The beaches have so many open air bars, that are so inviting you want to stop in every one just to experience them. Not so many Starbucks or espresso shops. And amazingly you have to help the occasional barista build a cafe’ mocha!
It is time to see the south and east sides of the island, so you rent a car, and head off alone, stopping every where you feel a desire. After going along the west coast, you eventually find illumination bay, where the krill are phosphorescent, and glow at night. along the road are the occasional open air purveyors of everything from tacos, fish, drinks, fishing supplies and bait, and everything else under the sun. But as you drive, two things disturb you. One is the number of lost dogs and cats displaced by the hurricane, and the other, is the number of Iguana road kills. After having met an Iguana, it makes you sad to realize they are no match for the automobile, and like the pavement for some reason. Coming back from the east side, as you drive down into a small town not far from your room, you see Iguana in the middle of your lane. Without hesitation you block traffic with the fully insured rental car, and remove this Iguana from traffic, and scold him for being out there! He seems quite happy to scamper up into a relative of a Eucalyptus tree. Then, later that day, you repeat the process again!
Complete and share your assignment here.