cemeteries in the snow

national cemetery, salem field cemetery, cemetery of the evergreens, and knollwood cemetery in the snow.

national cemetery

snow in bed-stuy

i'm normally not a huge fan of snow. i don't mind it while it's coming down (snow globe!), and i LOVE a full on blizzard, but the aftermath of a typical snow in brooklyn is messy and depressing. the streets get plowed and create mountains of ice that block your car in, there are slush puddles of street runoff and garbage at every corner that freeze at night, and drifts on the sidewalk that at best conceal dog urine and feces, and at worst a dead body. (it's brooklyn, use some imagination.)

fortunately this past snow was the best possible scenario. it came down hard, and was wet enough to stick to every surface, seemingly defying gravity... and then, just when it started to get messy, the sun came out and melted it all away.

arecibo observatory

the arecibo observatory had been on my bucket list for several years, so i was beyond excited to include it on our trip.

the reflector dish is the largest one in the world. some nifty facts about the scale of this whole thing:
  • the antenna (needle-shaped part, just to the right of center of this photo), is 96ft long
  • if you look closely at the reflector portion (the dish at the bottom of the photo) you can see a faint grid pattern. that grid is actually the aluminum panels that make up the dish.
  • each of those aluminum panels is approximately 3ft x 6ft
  • the dish is made up of 38,778 of those panels
  • the entire reflector portion weighs 300 tons
close up of the gregorian dome and antenna

one of the towers that supports the gregorian dome, the platform above the dome, and the antenna

cueva del indio

the taino indians of puerto rico held tribal meetings in the area around cueva del indio. they made numerous carvings in the walls of the limestone caves there, which were said to have been made during ceremonial activities. these petroglyphs predate columbus's arrival in puerto rico in 1493, and were likely to have been made even centuries before that.

the main cave is located on a cliff near arecibo. the platform where the people are standing below, is on the edge of a 150ft drop, and in the corner behind them, there is a ladder that goes down to a cave inside the bottom of the cliff.

view from the top of the cliff, looking back the other direction

the ladder going down to the bottom. neither of us wanted to spend the rest of our trip in a neck brace, so we just skipped this part. you can see some of the petroglyphs on the walls, especially above the ladder, and again to the far right of the pic.

you can get an idea of the scale in this shot of another tourist at the bottom

animal friends

made some new friends in puerto rico.

this weird fish in the mangroves on gilligan's island

this baby cow somewhere outside mayaguez

pups in guanica 

this little guy in culebra

some friends we didn't get to meet

an iguana in vieques (well, i wanted to be his friend, but the feeling apparently was not mutual.)

this ridiculousness in old san juan

star fish in punta arenas

this enormous snail, and what i presume is his poo, in el yunque

and some enemies in isla verde

the second most beautiful beach in the world

flamenco beach on the island of culebra, off the coast of puerto rico, is considered by some (ok, maybe just the discovery channel) to be the second best beach in the world. i guess i can cross the maldives, zanzibar, and all of polynesia off my to-do list...?

anyway, second most beautiful beach in the world or not, flamenco definitely won me over as a fan with it's giant horse-shoe stretch of soft white sand, secluded sea grape sun-hideaways, swimming-pool still water, and excellent wall snorkeling.

also, there's an old tank on the beach!

since we were island hopping, i didn't bring my slr. i think these phone shots capture the general idea though...

lots of little gar (at least, i think that's what these guys are?) in the shallower water

and a squid!