11 September, 2009

in belize

It is 8:40 am EST, Tuesday September 8th. Dennis and I are sitting in the E concourse of the Miami International Airport waiting for our flight to Belize. The past 2 weeks have been totally hectic for me, with 2 major grant proposal deadlines today. On the flight from Chicago to Miami, I was still writing on one proposal, continued to do so last night at the hotel until midnight, and then got up at 4:30 am to finish my section so I could email it to my colleagues who will combine with their parts and submit it to NIH. Now I am ready for vacation.

Dennis outdid himself with packing this time. We checked 6 bags with an average weight of 60 lbs. Plus we each have 2 carryons that are packed to capacity. Included in the checked bags is an inverter to replace the inverter at our cabana. The inverter converts the direct current (DC) from the bank of car batteries that are charged by a diesel generator to alternating current (AC) that is the standard for house current. Dennis found the perfect bag to pack it in; the bag is a big round thing that looks like a bass drum would fit in it, mostly because a big bass drum would fit in because that is what it is designed to carry. The inverter weighs 62 lbs. Dennis used bed pillows to cushion the inverter. He also packed 2 drills, 3 circular saws (Belize is tough on these power tools), and I don’t know what else. I’m still pretty brain-dead.

Our mission this trip is to construct and install a solar water heater for our cabana. Dennis found a design that uses a highly reflective foil similar to a very heavy mylar with an adhesive backing. You use this to line the concave surface of 8 inch PVC pipe that has been cut lengthwise. Essentially you wind up with 2 troughs aligned to maximize solar gain. Water is circulated through the troughs and into an insulated water tank to store the heated water. Part of the installation involves making the support structure for troughs and situating it either on the roof or on a platform attached high on the south side of the cabana.

Dennis just got an email from Chris inviting us to join him and Sue for dinner at Central Englishtown this evening. Sue is a great cook; I hope I can stay awake long enough to appreciate the fine dinner and the fine company. I can hardly wait …

Friday, September 11

Computer baterry is almost dead. Will post an update later. Having a terrific time.

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