Follow the reluctant adventures in the life of a Welsh astrophysicist sent around the world for some reason, wherein I photograph potatoes and destroy galaxies in the name of science. And don't forget about my website,

Friday 23 November 2012

Told You So

Well, doesn't time just fly by. No, actually, it sort of trudges along with great reluctance most of the time. At first I couldn't quite believe it had been a month since my last post, and then I realised I couldn't believe it because it felt like a lot longer.

Anyway, I am pleased to report that my failure to acclimatise to Puerto Rican life has not been entirely total, contrary to popular belief. Firstly, I discovered during a drunken pre-convention Trek marathon (in a small, massively overcrowded flat) that my capacity for heat tolerance has improved tenfold. Those who mocked my former susceptibility to modest increases in temperature are now laughing on the other sides of their faces. Ahahahahah.

Secondly, just after returning from the UK, a small delegation from Arecibo participated in a mini-conference in a university in Rio Piedras, part of San Juan. Rio Piedras is a very nice place indeed. It's practically European. There are actual, proper streets. It has buildings more than 50 years old, and more importantly, bus stops.

My adaptation to the ridiculous climate of the Caribbean was verified through discussions with the Puerto Rican students who had been drafted - I mean, attended freely of their own volition - to the seminars. At least one of them thought it was too hot. I thought it was alright.

But wait, there's more ! The aforementioned student had spent some time in France, and wished that Puerto Rico had a similar public transportation system.

HAH ! Take that, whoever thought I was whinging needlessly about the lack of a bus service !

I should probably add that although there are buses in San Juan (and a train service too), apparently they don't go anywhere useful. Some say this is because the taxi drivers objected. This wouldn't surprise me, given that Puerto Rico is investing nearly $80 million to build a bus lane on the motorway. And yes, I really do mean building an entirely new lane, not just painting "Bus lane" all over one part of the road.

One would have thought that the great advantage of buses, over, say, narrowboats, is that they don't require any specially-constructed canals in order to operate most effectively. Actually, they seem to do best without them. In fact, they work really very well indeed - much better than trains - on plain old regular roads. Which is why building special lanes for them is one really quite spectacular way to throw away a large amount of currency that would have been better spent on, ooh, I don't know... a fleet of buses and a multi-city transportation system, perhaps....?

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