Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 6

This day began with grand plans. Drive all over the area and see as much as we can see.

We were already up and out the doors eating breakfast by 7am. Our first destination was a beach called Mas Chiquitas. I'd seen a picture while looking up places to go but didn't put much effort into finding out about it. The guy Nathan sat next to on the plane, a native, gave us great ideas on places to go and told Nathan that this was a 'must' if we were going to be in the area. We found where it was in our lovely "Places to See" book in the hotel room. The problem with it was that all we had to go on was a dot on a very large map. Let the fun begin! We headed off toward the general area with the trusty Garmin in hand. Nathan's job was to keep his eyes on the road and I would navigate. After MANY wrong turns and turn-arounds we finally made it! We didn't have time/take the time to change into our suits and swim but it was a great place to see and we'd make time for it if we ever go back. Oh, and I also found some sea glass. Score!

We had to wait FOREVER to get down this road . . .

Only to find a locked gate that would have taken us down to the wrong beach anyway.

Yes, you too can climb rocks in a dress and a pair of Reefs!

The view from the top! Worth the climb.

Mas Chiquitas Beach.

It was time to re-fuel. Good thing the road-side stands are plentiful. We decided it was time for roasted chicken. Mmm. Good choice. Eating in the car is always a challenge but thanks to a 'borrowed' beach towel from the hotel we made it work.


I'd promised my mom and Krissy that I would find Puerto Rican coffee for them. According to the hotel website there was a coffee plantation nearby. Nearby is a relative term in that country. Everything is very close mileage-wise (it's only 100x35) but the roads are so insane that it will take you forever to get anywhere. The coffee plantation, Hacienda Patricia, took a couple of hours to get to but was a unique experience. The owner spoke NO English but thankfully an English-speaking neighbor was there hanging out. She got him to show us around and we got to see the inner workings of the place. He didn't usually give tours and only worked when he felt like so we got very lucky. It's an amazing process and is so simple at the same time. When we inquired about buying some coffee he took us into a room where he packages it all by hand. We only spent about 30 minutes there but it was worth the story and coffee. Too bad I hate coffee. My mom told me it was delicious.

I may hate the taste but the smell is fan-stinkin'-tastic!

The owner and Nathan actually trusted the structure. No thank you. They dry the beans in the sun after rolling the large trays outside on this contraption.

Whole bean or ground? Whole bean of course! We got 3 lbs. at a good price I might add.

Ok, moving on. We'd seen that there was a observatory in the area. Great. Let's go there. Only one day earlier my Dad asked me if we had plans on visiting Arecibo, the largest radio telescope in the world. Nowhere in my brain did I connect seeing ads for the Arecibo OBSERVATORY and the type of observatory Nathan and I thought we were going to. I was tired, ok? It closed the gates at 4 in order to make the last tour so we had to book it. After an insane drive we made it at 3:50. Ha! Suckers! (Thanks to Nathan's super skills.) If you are in any way interested in science then it's pretty cool to see. Moody teenagers would hate it for sure. A science teacher and an engineer thought it was cool at least.

Pictures do nothing to show the incredibly large size of it.

One more stop before the sun headed below the horizon: Jacinto's Well. After watching an episode of No Reservations I decided that i wanted to visit a blowhole known as Jacinto's Well. Legend has it that his cow fell down in the hole and if you yell at the hole (something in Spanish that I can't remember) then the water will fly up and out of the hole as it tries to give Jacinto back his cow. Well, I'm a smarty pants and thought I found it on the GPS. We get out of the car and see a huge wall of water splashing in the distance. Assuming this was it, we begin to find sea glass and get distracted. The sun is falling fast and we realize that if we're going to see this thing and yell at the water to give Jacinto back his cow we need to get over there. Let's just say that I was wrong and by the time we drove around and located what might be the right beach it was pitch black and we were starving. No blowhole for me. Oh, well.

You can see Nathan over my shoulder hunting for sea glass. He told me I was a "sea glass crack-head" but he was the one that couldn't stop picking up pieces.

Oh, look! The blowhole! And there are even tourists up there! YAY!

Except the tourists were locals fishing and THAT is NOT a blowhole!!!

After this we ate at some random place and fell asleep from exhaustion. I was almost too tired to eat. We had to wake up at 5am for what the next day had in store for us. Stay tuned.

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