Monday, September 19, 2005

OK, I'm here now.


As I write this, I’m watching a Dominican version of “Survivor” on TV. It’s exactly like the US one, even down to the corny “jungle” music, except that they make the contestants dress in pirate attire and have skulls and crossbones all over the place. I think the idea is to recall the Dominican past, which did indeed involve lots of pirates, only I’m pretty sure most pirates weren’t wearing bikinis or daypacks. Also the voting part is taking way too long and I’m getting bored. Surely someone should have walked the plank by now.

At any rate, I’ve been in the DR two days now and everything is going pretty well. Little has changed since when I was here last year – none of my friends have any news to report – except that there seem to be fewer and shorter power outages than before. I may just have been lucky so far, only time will tell. At least there are no hurricanes, no floods, and no Republicans. So far so good!

My apartment is pretty cute, and even includes a complementary set of porcelain ducks and cow, not to mention two ceramic babies wearing flower-shaped bonnets. Of course there are a couple of oddities (besides the flower heads). It’s kind of odd that one enters through the bedroom on the second floor and then descends to the dining/living room/kitchen on the first floor. It’s a bit odder that in order to get running water on the second floor you have to turn on a light bulb (the green one; the red one is for hot water, obviously). If the woman next door turns hers on, mine goes on too, but luckily I can tell if it was turned on by me or by her by looking for the red dot on the light switch. It’s all very complicated, so the landlady makes sure to explain it to me again every time she stops by. But she also gave me pistachio ice cream, so I really can’t complain.

I’m still getting settled in, organizing my things and doing necessary shopping, so other than the apartment there’s little to report at the moment. Yesterday I went to the Centro Leon (cultural center where I worked last year) to discuss my continued work there with the archives of the late Fradique Lizardo, a well-known Dominican folklorist. Today I visited friends at a couple of arts organizations downtown and then went up to Ingenio Arriba near the outskirts of town, where my accordion teacher and many other merengue típico musicians live. I handed out some gifts, learned a new tune (“El Lunarcito”) from my teacher, Rafaelito Roman, and practiced some tambora with my friend Chiqui. Also had some of those bizarre three-seeded Dominican cherries. Everyone in el Ingenio (I call them “ingenieros”) was fine. It’s kind of weird to come here after a year that was extremely busy with a lot of changes for me and find everything the same here as when I left it. Definitely a conceptual adjustment.


Got caught in a torrential downpour yesterday. I’d just finished a major shopping expedition and, thinking it was going to be one of those cute little Caribbean afternoon drizzles, thought I could have a pleasant stroll to an Internet center where I needed to take care of some business. Whoops. The newspaper today showed all the flooded streets I was literally wading through. Drenched and a bit cold, I ended up not following through on either of my evening plans: either to investigate the movie theater or to attend the opening of the Feria del Libro, a big literary & cultural event for the whole northern region that’s being held here over the next week. Instead it was Sabado Gigante and Cristina for me.

That’s OK, this morning I made up for last night’s boredom by finally solving the Pancake Problem. My major issue last year was that I couldn’t find a place to have brunch, my favorite meal. No pancakes or French toast anywhere – not even in the big hotels near my old place. Mangu is good and all that, but it just doesn’t cut it when what you want is syrup. Well, yesterday at this store not far from my new place I was talking to the chef and although it wasn’t on their usual menu (not that they have an actual, printed menu or anything) he said he could make pancakes for me anyway. Today I went and got pancakes with syrup, toast and marmalade, coffee, passionfruit juice, and an enormous pile of eggs scrambled with veggies for about $2.50. It made me very sleepy but it was yummy. And now I have the number, so I can call ahead next time to have my breakfast there waiting for me when I arrive.

So life is good on the breakfast front. The only major issues so far have been (1) the accidental erasure of ALL MY MUSIC from my iriver and (2) the enormous ant bite on my left leg that swelled up and turned red and purple. So unattractive. I don´t think I´ll be posting a picture of that.

1 comment:

Heather said...

You totally HAVE to post a picture of your bite! That's what the Blog is FOR!
: )
And, hey. I'm glad you're doing well. We miss you here!