Tuesday, January 24, 2006

D. R. Journal - Day Two

This morning I was awaken by the sounds of a rooster crowing at 6:00 a.m. I reached up to peer through the window leading onto the patio to see several chickens, roosters and chicks strutting about on the patio. Last night I saw the dog and cat lounging about in the cool breeze. This morning, after falling asleep a second or third time, I was awakened by the blaring sounds of merengue music. At some point, I remember smelling fried foods, hearing the sizzle of a pan.

Once again from the vantage point of the patio window, I looked out to see Richard and Rosa having breakfast. After brushing my teeth, I ventured out to the patio and a breakfast I would not have expected; fish soup and fried fish [bones and head included]. One must get accustomed to the flies and mosquitoes.

The majority of the houses here don’t have windowpanes as I we have in America. The reason being the temperature is so hot, and most likely this being a Third World country, they are not too keen on air-conditioners. The cost of living, I’m told is a mere twenty dollars a day, and that most people earn two-hundred dollars a month. I know I couldn’t live here, nor would I want to live here. The areas I have seen thus far range in people, as it pertains to a class structure, not uncommon in any other part of the world. There are areas or districts I’d call modern, but in those same areas there are shacks in clear sight, off to the side and in thick tree-lined areas. Jungle or wooded areas.

After breakfast, I showered in COLD water, and then we went on a wild goose chase in an attempt to get Richard’s passport renewed. The bottom line is that he has to go to the capital on Monday. There was this guy with a mini-binder that approached in hopes of securing a renewed passport. Walking up a street and around another corner, Rich had to get a new passport photo. Going to some building, a civil service agency of sorts, Rich was still unable to secure the necessary document because of his not having an original document listing his Dominican social security number.

Stopping off en route to the beach to meet yet another one of Rich’s soon-to-be brother-in-laws, five in total. This one owns two stores. While there, I had a chance to ride a scooter. I’ve never ridden a scooter before, so on the first attempt he showed me how to operate the scooter. The heat was beating down on my head; the only thing I could think about was crashing, being involved in some horrible accident and having to be transported to a third world hospital. Fortunately we were successful, there were no major accidents. I learned how to maneuver the scooter.

Back inside the colmado, the merengue music was in full force, flies buzzing about, and beer was steadily consumed by the locals while children were at play. People here tend to stare at someone new, just because they are not from their territory. I think it a bit rude to park yourself in a comfortable position and gawk at another person. The first two days thus far there has been an insistence for me to drink Presidente beer. I remember Rich saying back in the states that he couldn’t wait until he arrived, that he would drink with no apparent end in sight.

The race has begun! Various patrons enter and depart the dimly lit colmado. There is one particular child that has taken a shine to me, albeit to eventually ask for money. As we were about to leave, he asked for a recuerdo. A memory of my having been there, and his having met me. So, I gave him a computer-generated business card with my production company’s name and e-mail address. This didn’t sit too well with the young tyke, he insisted upon un recuerdo de ti while extending his hand. Rich informed me that if given money, he’d remember me for a long time to come. I gave him a total of one U.S. dollar; his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. He even had the nerve to check its authenticity. Earlier during our stop at Alberto’s store, Rosa had given us a scare when she disappeared without a trace on the scooter. It turned out that she had gone to visit a nearby uncle.

My first memory of the beach, Monte Rio, is one of filth. I’m trying to remember more about our first trip to the beach. But it escapes me. I remember having to go to the toilet and not having a place to go. I walked away from the water and through a maze of buildings high atop a mountain in search of a hidden area. I only peed, not comfortable and or not being able to pull my pants down outside. I had taken along sheets of a legal pad to serve as paper to clean myself. Anyway, walking down the mountain, I noticed that there was a pool atop a country club of sorts and then proceeded to walk to the front of the seemingly isolated locale. There was no activity in front, which leads me to believe that passersby were not welcomed. Returning to the area we had decided to sit, I found the others tanning, or at least trying. I think at some point we headed to LuPrisma country club where the Pujols are members.

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