Alright, let’s do this. I’ve procrastimicated long enough on transcribing my……hold on here…..11 pages (!) of journal from Cuba. How does one count pages? I counted by the amount of flphsh sounds I heard turning the pages, you can almost double if you’d prefer your pages numbered. I went to Cuba on December 1st and returned to the Dominican Republic on December 8th (allegedly, for all intents & purposes* this is a work of fiction – Jaaaaaanet Napolitano looking at you). I wrote in an Ubaldo Jiminez on the Rockies-themed composition notebook that I named
Gossip Girl journal because I’m a man and do not name inanimate objects (I miss you Leo, stuffed teddy lion). I am writing everything as-is except for minor spelling and grammatical errors, and some excerpts which I may deem too racy for public broadcasting – but I’ll tell you that a part is missing when it does happen so you get the he’s so mysterious vibe. This is my story. *Cue Law & Order theme music*
*Who else thought it was ‘intensive purposes’ until they were about 12? Also, I thought ‘made you look’ was ‘major look’. Hukt on Fonix wurkt 4 me.
As the saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men often go
awry much better than expected.
On Friday morning, the plan was originally to meet in Las Terrenas, me via bus from Santo Domingo and Robin by moto from Cabarete, where he was staying and surfing at the time. It didn’t work out that way, at all. Continue reading
Quicker turnaround than usual for the second part, as we resume our story in the seat right behind the pilot on a vinyl-wrapped seat in Santiago, about to head to the 27 Charcos. Nos vamos.
Usually when you’re on a local guagua at a main stop, men with boxes or bags come on to sell their food products or sunglasses; generally fruit, coconut or sesame candy bars, chips, etc. This time there was a guy at the window selling rolls. They looked like wheat rolls and only cost 10 pesos, so I bought 5. Great purchase, as they were pretty filling (breakfast), tasted a bit like coffee cake, and held well as a post-game snack. ‘No’ isn’t always the answer for street vendors. On our way to the charcos, absolutely nothing notable that I can remember happened, which brought my “consecutive bus rides without an issue” streak to a record-shattering three.
Our guide intern directed us to get off at a rocky path off the side of the road, then laughed at us and drove off. Really cool, Caitlin. Continue reading
I’m going to try and get this done in two parts, because we all have things to do. By the way, thanks for reading – whoever you are. I have almost 1,900 page visits over the course of a month and a half, averaging about 52 a day they tell me by cool picture graphs. For only really marketing it to my friends and family, I am humbled by some of the big numbers that are showing up from time to time. If you’re a random person stopping by on the Internets, I don’t know how you found me but thanks. As long as you keep reading, I’m going to take it as a call to write further.
In what will probably go down as my last trip of the first half of July, the summer interns decided to head to Santiago for the weekend, and from there participate in one of the more popular adventure destinations in the country, the 27 Waterfalls of Damajuagua. Us guys left from the central office at around 5, getting in smoothly to the second-largest city at around 7:30, ready for dinner. Continue reading
- Why do you do such things?
I’m leaving for the weekend today, so I’ll finish up this story before I endanger myself again and want to write about something else.
After 2 hours of sitting by the side of the road throwing rocks at walls and children, watching the same motoconchos shuttle people to the towns that we were in between, the host came back to take us to the ranch. By this time, my snack bag of almonds and pistachios had dwindled to nothing and I was starving. Getting back to the ranch, a very rich smell of some braised meat greeted me. I had found out in the morning that depending on how many people came to stay that night, we were either going to have one of their rabbits for dinner or cow leg. Possibly due to unfavorable weather conditions, nobody showed up. I
showered up hosed off and within fifteen minutes had a huge plate of steaming hot rice with two side bowls. One was the typical red kidney beans, and the other was pulled and spiced beef. Needless to say, I housed it. There was still something on the stove and my hosts told me to come back ‘ahorita’ (see below for what that means) to try it out. I went back to my quiet room, read more of the Gatsby (thoughts on that here), and came back in an hour and a half. The second dinner was a stew called ‘cocido’ with the main ingredient being the marrow of the cow bone. It kind of had the same color and consistency as fat from a steak or chicken, but was much more flavorful. Also, there was a surprising spicy (finally) kick to the whole dish, and had a side of boiled green bananas. Muy rica.
To grandmother's house we go
“Day Two”, I say to myself with conviction before realizing I was convinced of nothing. Where am I? What have they done with my horse? Is Denzel still alive? I have to alert the others – Huh? Back to the story.
I woke up at seven well rested on account of the silence and despite the mattress springs prodding me through the night in very uncomfortable places. They were so prominent I could probably tell you the diameter, metal composition, and layout pattern of the coils. Breakfast was served at 8:30 so I had some time to read and get myself prepared for the day. All I planned on bringing to the ‘Killer Hike’ was a bottle of water, bag of almonds/pistachios, my D60 – a.k.a. ‘Beast’ –, rain jacket, Five Finger shoes, and a bandana. It did look like it was going to rain a bit, but I felt prepared.
I eschewed going to Juan Dolio beach with mis compadres in favor of going about an hour and a half deep into the heart of the country to do some back-country hiking and relaxing. I enjoy these quick solo trips on occasion – it feels like a reset. What I do not enjoy is planning, so I usually skim over it when
it’s easy toever I feel like it. In this case, I didn’t really plan how I’d get there, leaving that up to my ability to get around through questions and limited knowledge of the city’s port points. One thing I had down: the way to Bonao was through Tareabus. That would take me right there to where I could catch public transportation to my hostel in only an hour and a half. I ended up leaving at 10am and got to the place well after 3pm.
Eight days will mark one month that I’ve been here, and ten days is two months after my graduation ceremony. The events of my arrival here and departure from scholasticity seem like a distant memory, and this already feels like the new ‘normal’, which happens every time I change locations. A trend a co-worker tends to experience in his writing is the eventual lack of surprise or wonderment at the daily life, even living in far away places. That causes him to assume nothing ‘new’ or ‘interesting’ is happening and therefore stop writing ever so slowly. I’m going to try to stay alert for some things that you wouldn’t see elsewhere, and keep it interesting. Continue reading
I use a rash guard because I don’t like to self-wax while surfing.
Delica L300, a.k.a. the “Mystery Machine”