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June 10, 2007
From journal Yarr, Matey, It's the Arecibo Lighthouse!
The three of us had an absolute blast properly commandeering the ship. We took pictures with the Jack Sparrow impersonator, hanging from various ropes, standing in the cross timbers, saluting our fallen pirate forebears. We got closeups and shots from the ground showing the entire ship we were taking for our own. It was a rather large ship, but with three of us, we finally made ready and left port for Tortuga (meaning we had so much fun climbing and taking pictures that we were afraid everyone else had left us, so we left the ship--stil stuck in its grass anchorage--to go find them).Later, on reading the Arecibo Lighthouse website, I saw that the pirate ship was described as "a replica of the 'Queen Anne Revenge' ship, once owned by the famous pirate Black Beard. This section represents different nationalities that left some kind of influence on the Island. Here you will learn about the pirate's life, classification, those that visited Puerto Rico, their food, and customs. You may climb aboard the ship." We learned about pirates' lives to the extent that they commandeer pirate ships, but I'm not sure about anything else there. I do remember a few signs here and there, but we were so preoccupied that we didn't look at them.Neither Emily, Tiffany, nor I had gone anywhere near the Lighthouse, which purported to be the attraction we had paid for (although the official name of the Lighthouse and its grounds is the "Arecibo Lighthouse and Historical Park"). We could see it, standing tall and white on top of the hill, and knew that it was built in 1898, in the midst of the Spanish-American War, from the big sign at the bottom of the hill. We stood, staring at its whitewashed glory, for just a second too long; we had forgotten that we had just committed a cardinal sin against the British Empire and must now be punished for it. One by one, we were put in the pillory and mocked by all around us, but for some reason, the Empire decided to forgive our sins and let us go free.
There really were pillories there, as well as an awesome rack that I didn't actually see. You could actually put someone in it, strapping her hands to the top of the slightly tilted wood-and-rope contraption and strapping her feet to the beam of wood near the ground. Then, when the offender didn't answer your questions correctly, you could slowly crank the two beams apart and stretch the person to death or confession, whichever came first. I have a picture of Diane having a blast doing this to Miri, who was actually in pain by the end! Playing on these instruments of torture, funnily enough, made us enjoy the playground even more.