Thursday, August 04, 2005

Island Hopping

For the past 10 days we have been out of the country - sort of. We went first to Puerto Rico and old San Juan. We stayed in an art deco hotel called the Normandie. I thought it was wonderful. It was built by a guy who met his wife on a ship of the same name - it looks inside and out like an old cruise ship. We spent our first day in old San Juan - visiting El Morro - the fort and some of the shops and the San Juan Bautista (the patron saint of Puerto Rico) Catherdral. We ate at a local restaurant called El Jibarito. The fort is very impressive - massive and designed to scare off but also to ward off intruders into what looks like a great harbor. The restaurant was just home cooking but very nice.

On the second day we went to the rain forest (El Yunque) That was most of a day and we had a guide who was a cross between Newman on Seinfeld and digger o dell. The trip was a good explanation of how rain forests function but also a chance to see several levels of the forest. It was, of course, lush and humid (*duh) - but it was also a range of plants working together. I was impressed at how much more active the forest was than a traditional forest in North America - the processes are all going on there - but they were much more visible.

On Sunday we went on a 20 minute flight to St. Thomas. That was for a meeting of people who do what I do around the country - which meets each summer. We stayed at the Frenchman's Reef. I was not as impressed with St. Thomas as with Puerto Rico - My wife was just the opposite. The cab drivers in USVI have a real racket. On Monday for five of us to go about a mile away from the hotel was $30 - $6 per person. The first day I was there I was stuck in an elevator. I hate small spaces and this one really bothered me so I finally pushed the door open. I was hailed a being resourceful - what it really was was me wanting to get out of the small space. We played a croquet tournament - which I won. And went to a fancy smanzy dinner in a place called the Greathouse - really quite nice. The business meetings were interesting.

Today we went on a trip to the British VI - we strarted early in the morning and then went on to some major geologic uplifts - then to snorkeling (water was not as good as Palau - but few places are) and then to lunch and then to a beach. It was a fun low key day. Tomorrow we simply will veg out by the pool. The addresses of the shots from the US and British Virgin Islands are as follows -

US Virgin Islands with lots of Iguanas

Trip to British Virgin Islands

I have yet to complete the posts for Puerto Rico.

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