Poor Charlotte, NC has been in the upper 90's with slim to no chance of rain since I have been down here in Jarabacoa. We, on the other hand, have had rain at least every third day with temperatures in the 80's. As most of you know, we had a lovely shower here last night which has mostly passed. Power was off more last night than it was on, so I went to bed early and slept for at least 10 hours. It was grand. The other great thing about no power is that our singing neighbor also has no power. At least every other night she will sing at the top of her lungs (and believe me she should keep her day job.) Most of the time it is funny, but occassionally it is just obnoxious. So as Kimberly and I sat in our pitchblack house with our three candles clustered together so we could read, we reflected on how nice the rain (and the absence of other noises) was. Also, the crickets were not so loud last night (though, how would I know since I really was asleep within 2 hours of it being dark.)
*yawns and stretches*
Monday is a holiday. (I think it is when we are celebrating restoration day. Don't ask me why we didn't celebrate it on the 16th. I dunno. Restoration day celebrates the beginning of the fighting to regain autonomy from the Spanish in 1863. Interestingly, a few years later the DR offered itself to the USA as a colony. Grant supported the offer, but congress was against the plan. Grant had thought that freed slaves could go to the DR and escape harrassment from southern whites.) Because there is alot of work to do at the school (tearing down walls, painting, etc.) many teachers decided to take Friday as a holiday and do manual labor at the school on Monday. (after which we will rush home and shower and change because the parents will be visiting the school at 7.30 Monday night!)
So, we went to the beach on Friday. YAY!!! I realized on our almost 3 hour drive there that the small part of the DR I am becoming familiar with is probably not like what most people think of when they think of the DR. This was a happy realization as I needed to see beautiful things and other people than the things and people I am used to seeing around here. The mountains are gorgeous. We passed through a few different kinds of landscapes on the way. Places that looked like lush tropical rain forests, mountains that looked like they had more deciduous foliage, the small houses built on the side of the road with the mountain falling away beneath them. There are chickens everywhere in this country. Lots of livestock, donkeys, cows hanging around watching the cars go by. The road had many pot holes so we jostled and bumped our way to the coast, but once arriving there it was absolutely worth it. Leah parked the car, and we climbed out and walked down a street that was fairly dense with plants on both sides (and buildings) but at one place you could just peak through the leaves and see the water and it was breathtaking.
The water is so blue and clear. It was a perfect day when we got there, just a few clouds. Low 80's I would guess. It did get hotter, but never stiflingly so.
The pictures really do not do the view justice. I should have video'ed the space to give you a better idea.
It is amazing because you can be lying in the water and look around you and see the beach ahead and the mountains in the distance behind and it is just overwhelming.
While we were sitting on the beach a glass bottom boat came up looking for tourists to ride. (I do want to take that ride sometime.) Finding no takers, they began to push the boat back into the water. A little boy ran up and dialogued with the boaters (we could not hear what was said) but he was so cute as he helped them push the boat back into the water. I think they gave him some kind of treat for his help.
There was a place where you could shower off (in relative cleanliness) for 10 pesos so after swimming a few hours, I took a shower and went and sat in the shade and ordered a pineapple.
YUM! That pina colada drink (sans alcohol) was mighty yummy after a hot day. Most of the pineapple was crushed up inside. I could only finish a little over half. I was sad to leave it.
We drove back into Jarabacoa via a stop at the mall in Santiago for dinner. (KFC) and when we got home we found Rachel had made fantastic brownies for us and we climbed upon my new bed and watched a movie (I fell asleep.)
Yesterday we took a trip back into Santiago for groceries and went to a JUMBO supermarket - that is the name, "Jumbo." It was like a super walmart in the mall and it felt like heaven after shopping in the small dark supermercados here. Still, groceries are expensive here. At least comparable to the US and often more expensive. Meat and produce are relatively cheap, but if you want spices or anything pre-prepared then you will drop a pretty penny. I did find a very small bottle of prego on sale for 69 pesos (which is just over $2 US) and was excited because usually it is 90+ pesos. So, some night this week we will eat american style spaghetti.
The rain has almost stopped outside. The power is back on (for the moment) so I think I will go fix some cereal and read for a while. Buenos Dias!