Monday, July 6, 2009

A Dominican 4th of July


I hope that all of you had a wonderful 4th of July, and all the wonderfulness that encompasses that holiday (save for potential burns, house fires and the occasional hospital visit…). I wanted to give a little update for how all is going down here in the Dominican.

I spent the most recent weekend and holiday in Santo Domingo, the country’s capital. Quite a few of us interns made the journey to the city, to unwind and generally enjoy the fact that there is no work on the weekend. Since the main office is in Santo Domingo, we were able to hang out with some of the others who did our training and are part of the staff. There is an apartment-ish place (which is more likened to a zoo based on the number of dogs, cats, birds and children) where a few of the interns live, and we hung out there a couple times over the weekend. Mostly, we just had a blast going out at night with everyone. On Friday night, we found an awesome colmado (translation: convenience store mostly filled with alcohol and sodas) next to a university and hung out there, and met random people from all over the place – including a crazy guy from Finland (he was a little…different…), and a really nice guy from Cuba. Sidenote: have you seen the movie Bedazzled? If so, remember when Brendan Fraser becomes the basketball player with bleached hair that sweats a ridiculous amount? That’s basically the same look this Finnish guy had.

Friday night, we all went out to this amazing outdoor terrace bar, which also had a dance floor. There was music all night to dance salsa, merengue and bachata, and it was such a blast. I hadn’t been able to dance since getting here, and that was easily my favorite night of the trip thus far. It was so much fun. Though I did feel quite a few eyes on me when the tall white guy with a backward hat was up dancing salsa amidst the Dominicanos…

Saturday night (during the day nothing happened at all: great success!), we all had a goodbye party for a couple of the Esperanza staff who are leaving to go study. Funny enough, both are going to UW, so it wasn’t really a goodbye for me, since I’ll be seeing them around Seattle come September! We just hung out on a balcony that is at the apartment building where the other staff lives, and then went dancing again at night. Not too bad of a way to spend the 4th of July! Nothing necessarily “American” happened (save the fact that we ate Pizza Hut ordered to the apartment…), but that was fine.

We actually tried to call the embassy to see if they had any sort of party for the local Americans…but it turns out their party/fireworks were on FRIDAY night, not Saturday. Leave it up to the American Embassy to celebrate the “3rd of July”. Due to this, we clearly missed the party, since we missed the memo of Independence Day occurring a day early this year.

I’m now at the office, about to finish up my first day in the (quite stormy) city of Samaná – I woke up several times last night due to the incredible lighting/thunder/rain/wind storm that blew all night. I got rained on while sleeping quite a bit, and generally sleep wasn’t easy because the wind would howl through the shutters that I have. I don’t have any windows, just these blinds, which don’t necessarily do a 100% job at keeping water and wind out.

Anyway, that’s all for now – I’ll write another update sometime soon!


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