(See the yellow star on the map)
After our Thursday evening kayak tour, we spread our wet things out to dry on the terrace. I admired the stars, then went downstairs to read a bit. Soon I heard something other than the chirping of the frogs. Looking out, I saw rain pouring down. I rescued the now really wet things and popped them in the dryer, then went to bed concerned. What would the weather be like in the morning?
It was about the same. Clouds, pouring rain, clearing, repeat. Rain interfered with one of our plans, but the other worked out all right. The GPS, with its terrible Spanish pronunciation, led us up some windy roads to the largest operational single-dish radio telescope in the world. (I see that it is about to be superseded by a similar structure in China, but Arecibo's dish was the largest when we visited.) You may have seen it in a movie or two.
James Bond was definitely not wearing the special shoes the staff uses when they must go out on the dish. But I'm sure the observatory was well compensated for the inconvenience of resetting the delicately balanced plates, and cleaning them up in the first place.
observatory for his master's degree. So we had a pretty good handle on how things work at Arecibo. We were surprised to learn about their broadcasting capability, though. The dish also performs active radar observations to study the ionosphere, asteroids, and other planets. We were impressed.
There was a nice collection of orchids along the walkway.
I expect, though, that very small business is usual in Puerto Rico. They have big box stores and supermarkets and fast food joints and pharmacy chains, many with familiar names. But there were also a lot of fresh-air eateries under simple roofs by the side of the road. We saw car washes consisting of a couple of awnings and some barrels (they weren't open on Friday with all that rain blowing around). Hand-painted signs advertised all sorts of services. A guy showed up at the beach every day with a truck full of kayaks, though he didn't stay long on Friday, either. I don't know if recent hard times send more people out to sell fruit. But in a land where such fruit grows all over the place, it seems like a good step toward self-reliance.
For more of the adventure, see: