Monday, March 2, 2009

2/21- 3/2: 9 days with Jake

POSTED 2/25- 3/2 Monday: Whew
A lot has happened since I last wrote and to tell you the truth, I’m just too lazy to write it all. So, in a nutshell:

When we went to Samaná the place we were going to stay lost Jake’s reservation so we ended up getting a free upgrade to this house called The Cave. It was really freaking cool. There was a cave part of the house! Jake is really good at taking pictures so he took a lot of them. Check them out; I can’t explain it well enough to do it justice. I posted a bunch of pictures from Jake’s visit on myspace- the link is to the right still.

Even though we were staying in luxury, we still used our provided mosquito nets and I somehow ended up taking a cold shower. The one full day we were there Jake wanted to go for a hike to the top of this hill. It was a big hill. He said there was supposed to be a trail but we never found it and we ended up lost in the freaking jungle for about an hour and a half or two hours. Jake compared the walk to swimming since we had to use all of our limbs to get out. The stupid jungle plant/vine thingys were grabbing us, making it nearly impossible to get around. Plus, it was hot. Where is a machete when you need one?! I still thought it was kind of funny though and had Jake take my picture. Once we got to the half way point, a beach called Playa Madama, we took a load off and plopped on the ground. There was no one else there. It was a tough hike and a little while after we arrived a tour group came walking in behind us, staring, probably wondering how long we had been homeless. They were there for about 5 minutes before they continued on, following the path.

We went snorkeling for a little while and then after we cooled off, we followed suit and took the path as well. Although Jake and I weren’t able to find the peak he was looking for, we found the second beach, Playa Fronton and with it boats that were taking people back. With some persuasion from me, Jake and I were on a boat, comfortably heading back to the main beach.

Friday, the 27th (Independence Day in the DR) Jake and I left Samaná and met up with Kelly and Rachelle in La Vega but not before getting a flat tire. We met up with them to go to Carnaval which is supposed to be the best in La Vega. Carnaval is something that all Latin American countries do but I think that they all do their own variations of it. Here in the DR they have people dress up in extravagant costumes and walk the streets. In La Vega the people in costume are called Diablos or Devils. There are groups of them and each group is different. The Diablos walk the streets with bags full of sand (actually supposed to be goat bladders but I don’t know how many of them actually are) and smack people on their butts. It’s supposed to hurt really bad so I was actually kind of afraid. Why would I go to this place where I may end up welts you may ask? I have no idea really. It just seemed like a cool cultural thing to do and if I get a welt, well I guess there’s not much I can do but take lots of pictures and cry after from the pain. It actually added to the experience though, it was really fun trying to not get hit. I looked like a retard a lot since I literally took off running a few times but out of the group of us 5, I was the only one who didn’t get hit really hard.

Sometime during this chaos some dude came up to me and asked me if I wanted to do an interview. Heck no I didn’t want to give an interview in Spanish, are you nuts!? So the guy went a few people down and asked my friend Kelly who said she would loooooove to! Great. Rachelle, Kelly and I all went up on stage and made our first tv debut with someone I later found out was a semi-famous tv personality in the DR. A little later Wandy text me and told me he saw me on tv. I told him I was famous.

That night we went to Rachelle’s site (which was on the way home) since the next day was her birthday and she was having a little party with her youth group. They played a game and poor Jake ended up having to dance a little with a partner (Rachelle) in front of everyone but all the guys did. I thought he handled it quite well.

Sunday I went to the Plant Class in my site but this time the professor didn’t show up at all. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I mean, I guess I know how I feel. I think that it’s complete crap but I’m not sure if I’m going to stop going to class (where there are classes) or if I should still go. After that we had some dance classes in my house and the Ernie, Wandy, Jake and I headed to the discoteca to get our grove on. A fight almost broke out between some random people but aside from that it went well.

This morning Jake and I woke up at 6 and drove to the airport, only getting semi-lost once which is pretty good since we didn’t have a map and they’re aren’t really signs. I dropped Jake off, bargained a taxi to take me to the grocery store for less than half the normal fare, walked really freaking far in search of free internet with all my groceries and finally arrived at Aloha Sol, the hotel PCVs in my area consolidate in when PC makes us. They have Wi-Fi here and let me use it for fee, which is nice since I’ve been on it for like 5 hours now. Well, that’s it for now. I have so much more to say as always but I guess I’ll save it for another day
2/24 Tuesday: First real day of “Vacation”
Well, this has been an eventful few days. I want to start by telling BCHD thanks so much again for the Christmas gifts!!! I never got a chance to write in my blog really about it when I was home and there was power. I shared some of the starbursts, hid the skittles and hot chocolate and am saving the great smelling bath stuff for when I really need it (although I may smell now, who knows?). I appreciate it a lot, it was really thoughtful and nice of you all to think of me:) Thanks again.

So, back to my last few days; first when I picked Jake up from the airport, the airline forgot to put his luggage on the plane with him so the poor guy had nothing! I had meetings to go to in Santo Domingo and couldn’t miss them so Jake had to wear the same clothing that he was wearing from Thursday until Monday when we could get back to Santiago.

2 ½ of those 4 smelly days we were in the capitol. When I wasn’t in my meetings, we went to the Embassy (to look at the pool since Jake didn’t have his swim suit:(, we went downtown to the Colonial Zone to look at the cathedral (1st church of the New World), we went to the 1st paved street of the New World, and we went to the old ruins of a hospital and a monastery among other things. One night Randi, Jess, Kenzie and I went to the famous Cave Bar (not the actual name but the name I gave it) which, as my given name indicates, it’s a huge dance club/bar in a cave. It was super cool but there were hardly any people there so we didn’t stay long. If you ever got to Santo Domingo on a Saturday, I recommend stopping in there.

Another night we went to Lady’s Night at the Hard Rock. The last time I went there was when I got mugged with Ryan! No worries though, this time I didn’t leave the group and I also took a taxi home. I know I shouldn’t focus on Lady’s Night at the Hard Rock Café but I think it’s funny that the last time we went there, the girls were getting free drinks and handing them to the guys all night long. This time there were security guards watching for it and when they saw a guy with the special Lady’s Night cup, the guy got busted and had to pay. Then the bartenders must have gotten mad because they stopped serving the American girls at the bar! Ha! So, after I managed to get two free drinks we headed to a little colmado called the Rinconcito (which means “the Little Corner”) We were all there just hanging out, talking until about 1 am then we called a taxi and called it a night.

After we finally got Jake his luggage on Monday, we rented a car at the airport. As we drove down the road in the car I began to feel a little free, like I had gained a teeny bit of independence back. It was a nice feeling but weird how a car could make me feel like that, and not even a car that I can drive since PC has rules against PCVs driving here! I can understand that though since the driving here is crazy and the roads are in baaaaad shape. At first Jake seemed nervous about driving Dominican style but he adjusted to the craziness quickly enough.

We drove to my site and of course stopped at Minga’s. She was thrilled to see him and feed him too. We went to my house where we unpacked (and Jake brought me a hiking backpack so I don’t have to bring two book bags with me anymore and I can pack a towel!!!!!) and I repacked just in time for se fue la luz. There was nothing to do so Jake decided to show a magic trick to Noel and Vangie who were in my house at the time. Jake lit a match, let it burn down a lot and then wrapped a “magic frog hair” around it that was “so small no one could see it”. At the same time that he “pulled” the frog hair he secretly flicked the bottom of the match and the top, burnt part went flying making it look like the magic hair wrapped around it and pulled it off. It was sooooo funny to see the looks on Noel and Vangie’s face. It was like they were 6 years old! I wish I had taken a picture.

While I was in my site, Wandy never stopped by. This as you know, is very weird. Today in the morning I saw him and he completely ignored me. I was kind of irritated that he was acting weird again for who knows why but didn’t feel like dealing with it. I went to the school to do some Escojo stuff and then Jake and I left. Later I sent Wandy a text to see what his deal was and he replied saying that he was mad at me because I was mad at him on Thursday when he didn’t do anything. First of all: What? It took me a minute before I remembered that he was talking about how he told my bola that I was still sleeping on Thursday. Dang! I was supposed to be mad at him still! So much for that, I’m not cut out for this grudge thing anyways. Well, I wasn’t sure how to respond and then kind of forgot about it so he actually called me to talk about it. I guess it’s good. When I asked him if he really thought I was sleeping he said yes (which I don’t believe really) but what am I going to do? So, I said we were all good and that was that. Man, I was home for a day and never even talked to him but there still managed to be Wandy Drama.

When I was in the capitol I was super psyched to happen to talk to Kevin (the dude who lived in LR before me) on facebook! I mentioned that Wandy was my best friend (by default not choice) and Kevin was shocked. I guess Wandy was no different when Kevin was there so how is it possible that we’re besties? When I mentioned the annoying thing Wandy does like pout and put his coat over his face Kevin said, “Oh yeah, I forgot about that.” I thought he was talking about the pouting but no, he was talking about the coat over the head thing. You have got to be kidding me. I need a new sidekick in life. I felt bad talking for long with Kevin because Sarah and Jake were waiting for me to go to Provacone (the best chicken place in the DR) but it was so great talking to him and getting some info on LR. I’m sure I’ll get a chance to talk to him again later though (I hope).

Today Jake and I left LR around 10 and drove to Sarah’s site, which is on the way to Sosuá. I’m glad I live in LR. Sarah’s Don sat there and talked to us about how there is a God of Good and a God of Evil for waaaaaay too long. Her Doña served us moro, chicken and sugar cane for lunch. I decided that sugar cane is really good for cleaning your teeth if you eat it right. Sugar cane is pretty tasty too if you can get over the fact that it’s like chewing on a piece of wood (and I recently found out that you are supposed to chew on it and then spit the pulpy-wood piece out. Thanks Juan for telling me I was supposed to eat it!) We walked to the house Sarah wants to live in and it made me even more grateful for the fact that I have a great house, ready and waiting and free.

We were at her site until about 2 or 3 and then left for Sosuá (a town in between Puerta Plata and Cabarete on the north coast). The place we’re staying at is pretty cool. It’s a bungalow with space for three groups of people but we’re the only ones right now. We got here, unpacked a little and then went to the pool. Afterwards I took a great, hot shower with water pressure and wished I wasn’t so fast at showering now. We went to a delicious, cheap little Italian place and tomorrow we’re going to wake up early for the free breakfast then hit the road. Jake is kind of an adventure-vacation type of guy and I’m realizing that I’m more of a sit-by-some-body-of-water, sipping-a-coke/juice, reading-a-book type of vacation person so I’m trying to make the effort to be less lazy. I think it will be fun though. I talked to Kenzie and Randi today and they want to come back to my site on the 28th (after we meet up in La Vega for Carnaval) and stay for a few days. I hope they can, that would be sooo much fun! But then after this week of Samaná, Sosuá, beaches, hot water and pools, I think I’m going to go back into culture shock when I go back to my site! Guess we’ll see:)

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