About a week before the carpenters/roofers show up, the concrete man is hard at work making the columns that will support the roof. He starts by making careful measurements using a piece of string. I never saw a take measure! Once he has the layout he digs a hole for each column and pours cement in the hole. Next he places a long triangular structure of re-bar into the cement and uses just his eyesight to make sure it is plumb. After an hour or so, he places a 4" PVC pipe over the re-bar and then pours cement down the pipe making a solid, re-enforced column.
Besides the re-bar, twine is the only thing holding the ramada together.
The machetes were used to cut the poles to the proper length. The ax was used to split the end. The guy put the ax blade on the end of the pole and used a 2' piece of a pole to pound the ax in and split the pole and then pounded a wedge into the split. When the two split ends were pounded together (again using a piece of pole) they formed a movable joint that could be aligned with pitch of the roof.
Once all the pole rafters and battens were installed and tied in place with twine, the palapas (palm fronds)
were added. Each frond is split in two lengthwise and then the first one is attached running along the plate. From there, each split frond is placed 6" up the roof providing an overlap of about 12". I would bet that this roof will last for years and be completely watertight.
This is the finished product next to the columns standing in wait for the next ramada. The workers thought it was funny that Bob and I moved beach chairs in and got comfortable while we watched them work. It doesn't take much to occupy my mind.