Saturday, April 28, 2007

Need A Ride?

This what I'm talking about. Imagine riding home like this in the rain for an hour. No thanks. Now I understand why they wanted to leave work early!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Truth About Rain

If you go out in the rain, you will melt, as if you were made of sugar. That is the truth. Ask any Dominican. Umbrellas don't help because it rains sideways here. And when it rains, the streets are empty of pedestrians. The people run for cover, and wait until the rain slackens a bit. Then they scurry along to the next covered area, darting here and there until they reach thier final destination.

Yesterday it didn't rain, but it looked like it might, so all the people who work in the shops went home early. They are always out in the streets and on the beach chasing tourists, trying to lure them into their shops. They cannot earn money if they go home early, but getting wet is worse than not earning any money. I asked why they can't just sit inside the shop. But, they said this won't help when they have to go home form work. They don't have cars. They have to walk. Or drive a motorcycle. Neither of which is pleasant during a monsoon.

Meghan told me about one man she knew who didn't show up for work at the beach once...his reason for missing work was because it was raining and he didn't want to get wet. They told him if he pulled that again, he wouldn't have a job. He said again that he does not work in the rain. He lost his job that day. Maybe he was afraid he would melt...

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I have been taking an open water diving course here. It is nice to have friends on the beach who are diving instructors, and knowing the captains who drive the boats that take us out to the dive sites makes it even more fun. On my first dive, I saw a barracuda. It swam right past me, minding its own business. That was fine with me, because it was quite large. Other fish came so close I could actually reach out and touch them. It was an amazing experience and I am looking forward to seeing what else is in the underwater world.

Friday, April 20, 2007

It is very loud in the cafe right now. Everyone is talking. About business, talking to friends, talking on the phone, placing their orders...clicking keys on the keyboards of laptops...barristas steaming milk for coffee...doors opening and closing...dishes being tossed into the sink behind the driving by on the street. When will there be peace and quiet? It is hard to think when there is so much going on. Some people can filter out all of these distractions and be in their own zone. Like meditation. But why can't I just filter it all out while I'm sitting here? Maybe I just need practice.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Smile, it's a beautiful day!

One cannot take the internet for granted here. Sometimes it works, most times it doesn't. There is no use complaining about it. Because this is just the way it is. An annoyance, yes, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter. It works at this moment, and for that I am thankful. I have said before, the gringos always get worked up over small things, and they just need to relax. It is too hot here to hurry and worry about every little thing.
If I allow it to bother me, I could think to myself...I paid for this service, I expect it to work every second of every day. That is how it would be in Canada. And if I wasn't happy with the service, I could phone someone and complain, and help them have a miserable day listening to how this is now thier problem and they should fix it. Because taking things for granted is the way we live.
But here, you can take nothing for granted. And when things don't work out, the people don't focus on the negative. Just smile, because it is another beautiful day in paradise. And on days like today when it is a beautiful day and the internet works, I am the happiest person on earth. But even if it was still broken today, life would have still been wonderful. I have wonderful friends and family, and the beautiful caribbean sea at my door. There is nothing else I need. Everything else is just extra. Nice to have, but not essential. And knowing this is the key to my happiness.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I don't even know his name

For some reason I cannot upload any photos with this internet connection that I have in my house. It is driving me crazy. I never leave home without the camera, and I have taking pictures of just about everything here. So I am on the lookout for a satellite internet card...hopefully I find one soon so I can visually share my experiences with you. But for now, all you can have is words.

  If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then I have alot of writing to do! I will tell you a snippet of what occured yesterday...

Remember the boy who washed my flip-flops in the ocean? I saw him yesterday, in an area that Meghan and I refer to as "downtown" - if there is such a thing as a downtown here, this is where we were having a late breakfast and coffee at our favorite trendy gringo cafe. Meghan pointed him out as we were leaving, and he recognised us and came over to say Hola. School is still out because of Semana Santa, so he was out and about with his shoe-shine box trying to earn some pesos. He is 10 years old, roaming the streets alone trying to scrape together a meal. Sadly, this is all too common here.

  He is the cutest little boy I have ever seen, and I wanted to do something to help him. He was going to El Cortecito, which is the nearby beach strip of shops. We were all going in the same direction so we asked him if he wanted to come with us on the gua-gua (bus). If not for us, he likely would have walked, 30 minutes in the scorching sun to get to Cortecito. I paid 20 pesos for his gua-gua fare - less than a dollar. When we arrived in Cortecito, I asked him if he was hungry, and of course he was, so we took him to a friends restaurant and I bought him some dominican food (rice, beans, pasta salad, chicken) and water. Then we went our seperate ways.

  He went to find his friends, and I have no doubt that he will share that meal with all of them. In my culture, as a child, everything is "mine, mine, mine" We have to be taught to share, and as we get older there is still a sense of ownership, and giving things away without expecting anything in return is difficult at best. But here, that concept does not exist. Sharing is done without condition, without even a second thought. And yet, this is the third world country. The civilized world could learn so much from them...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Semana Santa (Easter)

Semana Santa on Macao beach. Old friends get reaquainted. New friendships are made. Children play in the water. Lovers play in the water. Presidente Beer. Hot dogs. Rice and beans. Warm sunshine. Clear turquoise ocean. White sand. Dominoes. Police. Rum. Ice. Music. Garbage. Laughter. Memories...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

What would the world be like if we all let our imaginations loose?

Many words can be used to describe this delightful hotel. It is a mixed fusion of architectural worlds colliding. None of it goes together, but somehow it all fits together like it was meant to be. What kind of person dreamed up this box of cement and windows? I envy this person. They had an idea and made it come alive. Without any thought of what other people might think or say. They just did it. Sometimes I wonder what the world would look like if we all let our imaginations loose?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Grocery shopping is for gringos.

It's simple: If you want fruit, you go to the fruit stand. Or, if you're lucky you can catch the guy who loaded up his pickup truck full of bananas or mangoes this morning. If you want meat, you go to The Butcher Shop. There are many to chose from in the village of Otra Bonda. Every other shop has raw meat strung up in front, baking in the sun. I asked someone once, "What about flies? What about food poisoning?" These questions were quickly dismissed with a shrug. Gringos worry too much and make everything complicated. Just eat it.
Sure, just eat it...
How about an empañada? See the 2 people standing with the tray of pastries? Go ahead, gringo..try one...if you're lucky you will keep your stomach intact.