January 19, 2011

Culture Day: Arecibo

Yesterday, I went with Julio, Jon, and Jon's kids to Arecibo for a culture day. I shall henceforth refer to the Marshall kids as a single entity, known as Benellogan (Ben + Eli(zabeth) + Logan).

Along the way we stopped at Cueva Ventana again, which Julio and I had gone to back in November. Great view from up there, and it's always fun to see how other people respond when they see something you already know is beautiful.

In Arecibo, we went to check out another cave, Cueva del Indio, this one right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Two culture days so far, and three caves... I'm garnering some advanced spelunking skills. It's kind of a non-descript place, like something that might have been on Route 66. Pay $2 to park and see something kind of neat. This place, which I think is legitimate, has carvings in the rocks from hundreds of years ago, put there by Taino Indians who lived here before the Spanish arrived. There's a sort of sand/dirt/gravel parking lot and a bunch of palm trees with spray-painted imitations of Indian carvings on them. The guy who collected our money was lying in a hammock, and barely slipped off his headphones when we greeted him. There was a little open-air shelter next to him, and the ground was littered with beer cans. There was a table of coconuts with shoots growing out of them, ready for planting. I think he was selling them. It wasn't the most tourist-friendly welcome scene. It feels weird to notice this. Normally, I don't pay a whole lot of attention to that sort of thing. But on culture days, I guess we are sort of tourists.

The cave itself was pretty cool, but only for about a 5 minute diversion. Far more interesting was the coast around it. I haven't spent a lot of time in the Atlantic Ocean. Not far off Puerto Rico's northern coast is the deepest part of the Atlantic, the Puerto Rico trench. On shore, the waves were huge, and they came crashing up against the side of the bluffs. Watching them was more fun than diving into the cave. A little down the road from here was a much cooler spot, where the surf came up over 30 or more feet of rock and trickled down in a foam onto a sandy beach, where it streamed around the rocks back into a cove with a private beach. There was no one there, just lots of signs advertising beer. It looked like the kind of place college kids go on Spring Break. It might be busy in a few months.

Anyway. Watching the waves crash, simple as it sounds, was a ton of fun. When we left, we all were pretty sure we'd waste no time in coming back.

One wave was particularly huge. Check it out, but wait til the end: (Couldn't find the song without dialog. Kind of annoying, deal with it.)

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