Thursday, June 4, 2009
Here I sit, peering down from the galerìa, or balcony of our home-away-from home at Pedrito and Arelis house in Hato Mayor outside Santiago, Dominican Republic. Pedrito just left on his motocicleta and Arelis is at work for a while longer. My girl left for home this morning. I hope she makes it through customs okay. I pray her flight is smooth and she arrives home safe and sound. The recent loss of a plane carrying 200+ people over the ocean does nothing to ease my worries. Gotta have faith.
So here I am. Alone for two weeks with my friends who speak no English. Me who barely understands Spanish. Barely. I wanted to go on an adventure and here I am. I'm very curious as to what this adventure will bring me. My adventures will be limited to what I can do with my friends as I will not be left alone except for brief moments like this. Pedrito is very protective. I'm amazed that he let me walk around the corner alone to use the internet this morning. Usually, he goes with us and waits. I feel as if I need to rush because it can't be much fun for him. He is a good and generous host. It is my only contact with the technological world and I need it like I need water and food. There is a TV in the kitchen, but it has only been on one time in a week and that was to entertain a 4 yr old boy who can't sit still. World news has been fleeting. With limited time on the internet, I forget to check out news websites. It is strangely discomforting and comforting at the same time. A throwback to simpler times.
Things will get much simpler still next week when we head to the other side of the country to a more remote area, Los Patos. I love Los Patos. That is a story in itself. I am looking forward to seeing Arelis grandmother again. She will be 121 years old this year. No lie. She was born in 1888!
I am scarfing cookies like no tomorrow. Cookies are my downfall and I bought a package at the supermercado last night when Jordan and I went to stock up on vanilla (the best anywhere! Makes for a great and cheap gift). Anyway, I love cookies and was having a bit of withdrawal. Arelis is a good cook and has filled my belly with typical Dominican food---red beans and white rice, plantains, yucca, lachosa, mango, pineapple, mangoo! Mangoo is a dish made of mashed plantains. Yucca is like a potato only a bit denser and the flavor is different. Hard to describe, but it is yummy. She also makes delicious juices with fresh limes and oranges and melons. Chinola juice is my favorite. Chinola is the real name for Passion Fruit. LOVE it You cannot get anything in the states that tastes like it. I know, I've tried. No
comparison. We have also eaten a lot of fried salami and queso frito (fried cheese—it's the best!). My little mum always said food tastes best when you don't have to cook it yourself. Maybe so, but Arelis cooks with a lot of love, too. That adds to the flavor.
Electricity is iffy. Sometimes we have it. Sometimes we don't. There are two or three car batteries hooked up outside the kitchen that serves the electric for the downstairs. Three more feed the supply for the newly constructed upstairs Warm showers are infrequent. With the warmth and humidity, I find I welcome the cold showers anyway. Last night, we sat in the dark talking by candlelight. Arelis cooks on a gas stove, so that is not a problem. Dominican coffee is deliciously rich and strong. We use a lot of milk and sugar. I can buy Santo Domingo coffee here by the pound for about $2 and it is a real pound, not
I was stung by a wasp on Saturday. We were almost in a car accident on Tuesday. On Tuesday night, we rode a carriage around the city's monument. The monument was once erected by the dictator to honor himself. It now honors the heroes and heroines of the revolution which overthrew the government maybe twenty-five years ago. It's a beautiful and massive structure. Yesterday, we ventured to Jarabacoa (ha-rah-bah-co-ah) and ate beef and pork grilled over a fire from a little street vendor.
I know, I was nervous about it, but I figure if Arelis can eat it, so can I. No indigestion yet. Jordan bought shoes. Go figure.
Ah, Pedrito is back and Arelis just arrived home from the preschool where she teaches. Their friend, Cesar, has arrived as well. Time to go.
Maybe tomorrow I can tell you about the police captain who visits to insure the safety of the guests (me).
Adios, Amigas y Amigos!