Many Travels – Puerto Rico Part 3

Ponce (Corina and Stacey, Kelsey)

Same song, third verse – a little bit louder?  Corina and I joined up with Kelsey to attempt, once again, to visit Hacienda Buena Vista.  This time we ascended the slopes in two cars, confident that we’d just barely make the tour schedules for 10:30 am.  Alas, for us, evidently you need reservations to join a tour even at the published scheduled times.  Of course, the Hacienda does not proclaim this, even on the sign directly outside their front gate, nor did the tour book we referred to, but why should a vacation go according to plan?  We were, however, able to get inside to at least buy some of he famed coffee, for which I give my personal thanks to the gate guard.  The gift shop employee was also very helpful and informative about the programs and initiatives the Hacienda was involved with, and we did get to see a bit of the natural beauty of the complex.  Here’s a bit of info, in picture form (and Spanish).

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Following that, we were on our way to Tibas, one of the largest cultural sites for the Pre-Taino and other native Puerto Rican groups.  It was awesome.  We took a look at some of the excavation sites, various ball courts, a model village (several pictures below), and also walked through a nature preserve atop the site to protect against erosion and overzealous archeologists.

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Pictured in the hut below are Kelsey, blowing a kiss, and Corina, to the left and back.

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Our tour guide was delightfully knowledgeable both about past cultures and about native flora and fauna, and clearly explained a variety of native cures for all sorts of ailments.  My favorite involved boiling a plant in honey, siphoning off the liquid, and drinking it.  Yum!  Finally we met a very nice man who gave us the first passionfruit from his garden and invited us to a drum circle later that evening, which we were unable to attend.

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Evidently, the thick outer rind is not meant to be eaten.

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All in all, Tibas was delightful.

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Yay!  Us three!  Especially note my clam-white legs!

Cabo Rojo (Corina and Stacey, alone once more)

Following that outing, Corina and I again ran off on our own to explore the coast even further west, and to stop off at one of the more picturesque clifftop lighthouses on the island.  Sure you have to tromp through a bunch of weird red salt flats to get to the actual lighthouse, but who cares?  Lively water not far from a protected bay with a beach? Perfect for late afternoon relaxation.  Plus, the lighthouse itself had character.  Where else can you find 500 copies of the Odessey available for the casual read, in a variety of translations?

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Book on the table?  Of course it’s the Odessey!

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It may have been at this point that our stupid garmin first led us to a dead end, or it may have been the tropical downpours decreasing visibility or it may have been coming from the far side of the island – regardless, we got back to San Juan late.

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Book!

I’ve just started reading a new book by John Barth called The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor.  As the title might employ, it’s a book full of frame stories, ridiculous and unreliable narrators, fantastic events, and clever revalations.  So far, I thouroughly enjoy it, though it’s not a style that’s for everyone.  If you like linear narrative, or realism, beware.  but beyond the merits of the book itself, I felt highly moved to share a selection of the contents of the back cover, entitled “Praise for John Barth”:

“Barth can pick literature apart in a narrative, play with it, and finally make restoration just in time for it to accomplish its ancient purpose of amusement and revalation.”

The New Republic

” There is no one writing today who has the resources of Barth’s imagination or his depth of understanding about the nature of narrative.”

Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Barth’s cunning is to turn daily life into mythology while turning mythology into domestic comedy.”

Time

“There’s every chance in the world that John Barth is a genius.”

Playboy

What my job needs.

So, I was browsing online today and came across this.  Now, I was a big fan of the idea behind the “eats, shoots, and leaves” book (even though I never read it) and this seems in line with that whole idea.  So I’m excited about that, and about possibly getting to the library.  I had heard of the book before, but now I’ve been completely sucked in by the endorsements.

And then I thought, ‘You know, everyone in my office could use this book.  In fact, you might as well call us ‘Comma Splice City’ and be done with it.’  But endorsements can on occasion be wrong, so I’d better read the whole thing first myself.  Then I only have to convince my supa-cool boss man that everyone in the office needs one.  Here’s my argument: not only will they be funny (because they are), but they will also be educational.  And guess what?  We work at an educational institution! It will increase worker productivity too.  Really.  Especially my productivity if people actually use it and I don’t have to correct them every five minutes.