A Few Miscellaneous Thoughts On Puerto Rico

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I have returned from Puerto Rico, my first experience of the Carribean. Anymore, travel is very tiring for me, especially if there are longer lay-overs and large time changes, as there were on this trip. I returned to Colorado Thursday and just now feel back to normal. The problem is, I must return to Puerto Rico on Saturday for 10 days or so. I hope that I will get to do a few tourist things on this next trip, since my schedule, at it now stands, has me there for a Sunday on the first weekend and another weekend. I hope to return early, but don't know if I will be able to or not.

As beautiful as Puerto Rico is, I remain a mountain person. Here in Colorado, one can look in almost any direction and see for miles. It is easy to know which direction one is travelling in, unless you are in a mountain valley, and to know what lies in each direction. In Puerto Rico, as you drive along the roads, all you see is trees and whatever lies a short distance ahead; we all remarked how uncomfortable that made us feel. I have also learned that I am a cold weather person, as well as a mountain person. The warm, wet weather made it seem like summer, not January, and was also a bit disorienting. It seemed incongruous to see Christmas decorations out(Christmas is celebrated at least until the 6th of January there), in what was to me, summer weather.

This trip was to Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, on the east coast of Puerto Rico. This base is relatively isolated from the rest of the surrounding area and I was reminded of an interesting phenomenon that I have encountered in my travels to remote locations around the world. I think of it as something Americans must have inherited from the traditions of British colonial rule -- there are Americans who have made themselves very comfortable living in remote corners of the world cut off for many years at a time from American "civilization." One man I met there, a retired Navy captain who had worked, since retirement from the Navy, in such places as Singapore and the Phillipines and, most recently, Puerto Rico, told me he hadn't been in the United States since the early 1980's. He was, I think, a bit uncomfortable, at the prospect of his return scheduled for early February. I have met many guys like this who have spent years in extremely isolated locations, such as islands out on the Aleutian chain, who would happily do so for the rest of their lives, given the opportunity. These folks are invariably characters, generally good at what they do, and nearly impossible for me to understand, but you will find them tucked away in isolated spots all over the world.

I will have to say that the waters around Puerto Rico are beautiful, breathtaking. The colors: blues, greens, teals, are beyond my powers of description. I was able, at one point, to see a pair of manitees (sp?) playing just off shore, an incredible sight. The trip has left me with a desire to explore more of the Carribean, which I hope to do later on this year. However, I must say that, except for some areas of San Juan, much of the rest of the island, are not much to look at.

In all of this, I can't help but be reminded of the incredible variety of God's creation. I wonder how anyone could think that this variety is the result of processes that occured simply by chance? Even the lives we choose for ourselves, and the tremendous variety of options God has made available to us, seem to prove what Christians have proclaimed for millenia, that each of us was created by God for a purpose.

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This page contains a single entry by Ron Moffat published on January 18, 2004 10:17 AM.

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