Waterfall Adventure – Chapter 2

Chapter 1

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


Waterfall Adventure – Chapter 1

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

June 15

First off, congratulations to the Bruins and all of their fans for winning the Stanley Cup kicking the teeth out of the Canucks through the back of their collective skull. Wish I was there. I’ve been experiencing the rabid fanbase from up close all season, and I’m glad it didn’t end in futility like said rabid fanbase saw with my beloved Seahawks this year (I’m still ‘In’). I don’t really follow hockey, but through osmosis the Bruins seemed to be a team I’d root for. They have an unconventional old goalie who is funny, doesn’t worry about contract situations or anything like that, and puts up beastly numbers alongside ghastly ones. I’m pretty sure he’s getting MVP. They also have a pretty ugly (Marchand, Chara), old (Recchi), and tall (Chara) squad, and beat the best, dirtiest, and favored team in honor of their compadre who was unfairly taken out of the series and endangered bears worldwide. I guess you can compare them to the Packers this year (#6 seeds). Oh also, I hate two Boston teams (Celtics and Patriots), mainly because of the way some of their fans are, but the only Bruins fans I’ve met have always f…reaking loved them more than anything, which makes them better, although sometimes not less obnoxious. I actually think in 6-10 years I’ll know about 5 little babies with the names “Tim Thomas ___”, gender unseen. Did I just write that much about hockey?

Anyways, this week:

– Today I left the house with about 330 pesos (~$9) on my way to following another set of meetings in a new barrio different from last week. That’s not that much, but it wasn’t hard at all to make it last. This is how it broke down:

  • 7:45 – 25 pesos for carro público to meet up with my ride to Los Alcarrizos
  • 12:30 – 94 pesos for lunch; a serving of arroz somethingsomething and a serving of cerdo (pork)
  • 4:15 – 200 pesos for the taxi back to Santo Domingo proper, which dropped me off where a carro publico route starts
  • 4:30 – 48 pesos for the carro publico. I started from the very beginning and apparently halfway through you have to pay again if you’re taking the whole route. I only had 23 pesos left at Avenida Abraham Lincoln (they love naming streets after foreign dignitaries)
  • HOLY #$(% the biggest cockroach I have ever seen just flew by my head in my room
  • Anyways, the guy let me get away with 2 pesos, and I got home safely.

– Seriously, about that cockroach. I had no idea they flew, no wonder they have survived for so long (and will outlive us when the second coming happens in May October) and have a song just for them. I wish I did. I towel-whipped that thing as hard as I could against my door, and it just landed and crawled to the corner. I hunted that mudder down and hit it again, and it had the balls (seriously, bigger than mine) to crawl through me to get to the door outside. I even had a 2-month old vicious beast guarding the doorway…Fine, the pup didn’t even notice.

– I went to the local gym with a buddy for the first time after running along the Malecon yesterday. It’s on the sixth floor in Zona Colonial, with an awesome view all the way around. As for the inside, the thing is a true sweat-box. It’s pretty awesome though, there are three floors of pure working out, just steel and rubber and club music and reggaeton and Dominican music and Dominican women and power lifting and sweat and all that. The windows are open and a few ceiling fans are on for ventilation, but this place isn’t about comfort. It was twice as hard doing my normal routine, but I like it. I don’t know how anyone could work out in Marino (NU gym) anymore, it’s so comfortable compared to this I’d feel like taking a nap. “Oooh, can I please have the latest Home & Garden, I’m going to grab my favorite Stairmaster near the air conditioning, then move to the treadmill with the television in time for the re-run of Real World.” They had a couple stairmasters with televisions on them in this place, but they were either off or had a very blurry man in a beater yelling at the person telling them they’re demasiada gorda, gorda gorda gorda!!! Also, this place is only going to set me back $17 a month.

– I’m leaving for Cabarete tomorrow night for 3 days of surfing and partying and staying in a “Tarzan’s Treehouse” on the North side of the Republica. I’m not going to brag too much yet, but this is going to be a great kickstart to seeing the whole island (I know…Haiti).

– My Kindle developed a case of epilepsy and is not cooperating with anything I want to do. It shows multiple screens at once and won’t get fixed through reseting. This is a real pain in the azucar. I’m 80% through the book I’m reading (another pain is the lack of page numbers and not knowing how fast your pace is), and now I can’t finish it. Hey Amazon, if you’re going to advertise that you have something just like a book but better because it’s all of them, make sure it works everywhere a real book can work. Especially the g-darn beach. Really? Did you do any field testing? I was even super careful not to get it wet or get it near any sand, but apparently I should put some sunscreen on that little turd next time. My 5 year old (ancient) computer is acting like a Tim Thomas right now through the heat and humidity and ants, and this brand new book has folded like a piece of used book paper (oh how I miss that). Alright, luddite rant over. There’s a reason a book hasn’t been improved in millenia.

Stay classy, hombres. See you Sunday night.

Reading: I don’t want to talk about it

Listening: In Through the Out Door, Led Zeppelin

Dominicanismo: I’m starting to run out of these, so I’ll just point them out when a funny one comes along.

Price Comparisons

I think my site is established enough to have features, right? I’m fielding advertising offers from Phillip Morris and Texaco (I’m not legally allowed to say how so exactly, but get ready for a return of Joe Camel in your local middle school locker rooms), so I can actually do whatever I want. Beware, if you are not already a registered subscriber to my site (I think look in the ‘About’ section) you may be hitting a pay wall soon. I hired Rupert Murdoch as my Chairman of the Board and official business consultant. My other board members include the entire band of My Morning Jacket, Gumby, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in the upcoming Dark Knight Rises film (OMG so excited) , Lolit Homay, and Sue Bird. Title IX is obnoxious.

For this little guy, I’ll start with just a post. My comparisons for the United States are based off of Boston, which is notoriously expensive and dressed in dumb pink preppy clothing with whales. If you want to compare to, let’s say Wyoming, halve the price and double the racism.

Santo Domingo / United States

A night out : $15 maximum / $30 mininum

Lunch (5-star guy near work, Dom Franklin / Q’Dolocopotle): $3.00 / $8.00

Rent: $250-$300 / $600-$1400

Public transportation: $.60 / $1.75

Converse Chuck Taylors: $70 / $45

4-hour bus ride (S.D-Cabarete / Boston-NYC): $15 / $15

40oz. beer: $3.00 / $2.50

Bottle of Dasani: $1.25 / $1.75 (and a loss of your dignity due to it being a completely unnecessary expense)

20 minutes of airtime on a cell phone: $2.50 / Free.99

All-natural coconut water chopped out by a saint right in front of you: $.80 / N/A

Gas (by the gallon): $6.00 / $4.00 (stop complaining)

Hostel room: $15-20 / $45-80

Bag of pistachios: Way too expensive / ditto

Reading: Stranger in a Strange Land (I’ll be done tonight)

Listening: Live at Okonokos (9.30.2006), My Morning Jacket

Dominicanismo: Piña – The fruit (pineapple) or a mosh pit

June 11

First week of work is over, now for the first weekend. Today marks a week I’ve been here, and it already feels like I’ve been here for a month. I’m sure after next week and the week after, my feeling of permanency will exponentially increase, as it always does. Noticias:

– Going to Duarte today to get some sneakers, then playing some Ultimate Frisbee tomorrow. There’s a tournament somewhere, and one of my building-mates knows a coach or something.

– Next week all of the interns are taking Friday off and going to Cabarete to surf for the weekend. On the North end of the island, It has a nightlife, off-shore reef, perfect conditions for surfing and kite-surfing, and….I don’t really need much more than that. We get 2 days a month off for vacation, so I’m excited to see where that takes me over the next six months. Also, the following week there’s a foundation-wide retreat that is taking us to Punta Cana for wicked cheap. Thursday and Friday are off, and we don’t have to use vacation days. Nice.

– Haven’t been able to catch either of the Finals series going on, but go ‘Los Mavs’ and….whatever I’ll roll with it….go B’s.

– It’s really hot here, and not conducive to sleeping. There’s a disconnected A/C unit in my room which they can connect if they charge more per month, but I’m going to stick it out and just adjust. The weather has improved, however. After raining every day until Wednesday, we’ve had 3 days without any serious showers.

Reading: Stranger in a Strange Land

Listening: Magic Potion, The Black Keys

Dominicanismo: Corn Flakes – Any kind of cereal