Trip to Hato Mayor

Trip Start Sep 06, 2008
Trip End Nov 25, 2008

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Monday, September 29, 2008

This past Wednesday was a country-wide holiday in the Dominican Republic - it was Virgin Mary day.  So, as such, everyone had the day off, and Sindy invited me to go to visit her mother's family, which is in the province north of San Pedro de Macoris (where Consuelo is located), called Hato Mayor.  The main town in that province has the same name, and that is where Sindy's mother's family lives.  We went on Tuesday night, during one of the down-pours.  I was actually quite glad that I had remembered to bring my waterproof rain gear that I use for camping, as it sure came in handy when we were waiting for the bus and travelling from the bus to her mother's house!  It actually isn't far from here - about 30 minutes on the bus.  Her mother's house is very small, and less well-constructed than Elena's.  I would say that her mother's house is more typical of what most Dominicans live in.  There is a living room, a small kitchen, and two bedrooms.  The bathroom was like an add-on extension in the back of the house, with a toilet and a drain in the floor opposite the toilet.  The drain is where you stand to take a "shower," which is really pouring water on yourself from a large bucket next to the drain.  There is a tap low to the ground for filling the bucket, but water does not always come out of it if the water supply for the day has been used.  If this is the case, then water is collected outside from rain run-off, etc. (which there was PLENTY of over the last few days!).  When I took my first shower there, I was thinking of my sister, and how I think she may have a heart attack if she had to shower this way (by the way, there is no shower curtain)! 
The house was very warm and cozy, and her family is really nice.  She has 2 brothers, who are 21 and 24, and they are both crazy!  They are really funny and silly, and they really went out of their way to talk to me and be nice to me, and tried to include me in some of their antics.  So on the first night, since it was pouring, it was decided that a few cousins would come over with some Dominican rum (or "ron"), and that we would sit around and chat for the night.  So sit we did, and so did we drink (the rum is quite strong - I needed many ice cubes to dilute it!).  The family seems to be very close, and they spend time with each other almost every day.  It was a good night, although I didn't talk much until after I had a few drinks! 
On Wednesday, we got up and made breakfast, got showered, and went to "the market" (aka the grocery store).  Sindy wanted to get a few notebooks for school, and so I went with her...and much to my surprise and delight, I discovered an AWESOME find (well, at least I think it's awesome - Donna, you will too)!  On the shelves opposite the school supplies, there was a small book section, with a mix of various novels, cook books, etc.  I just happened to glance at them while Sindy was picking out her stuff, and I saw sitting there...Le Petit Prince (the Little Prince) - in SPANISH!!  There were 3 or 4 copies of it, and it was only 36 pesos (or about $1.50 Canadian).  I was so excited to have found it, so of course I bought it!  I also stumbled upon a mini Toblerone bar, which I quickly snatched up (I have been dying for chocolate since I got here).  After the market, Sindy's brothers and cousins wanted to take us to the pool, which was located in sort of a mini low-scale resort.  Anyone can go there and pay 100 pesos for the day to use the pool, sit around, play dominoes, etc., but you can also pay to stay the night and have a meal.  Anyway, it was great that it was raining, because we were literally the only people there!  Aside from the hotel staff, there was no one - which was great for me, because I was able to swim from one corner of the pool to the other (about 20-25m) and do some laps for 45 minutes or so. I had been really missing getting my swims in, so this was perfect for me.  The staff put the music on for us, brought us many bottles of beer, and told us that since we were the only ones there, we didn't have to pay (I think it was also b/c her brothers know the owner)!  It really could not have worked out better if I had wanted it to...and I also got my first meringue lesson - poolside (and yes, I suck)!  After a couple of hours at the resort, we went back to Sindy's mother's house for the afternoon.  In the evening, I was able to check my email via HIGH SPEED at her boyfriend's computer shop...I was in heaven!  Finally, Sindy's brothers insisted that they take us dancing (in the pouring rain) we got ready, drank some more beer, and off we went to the meringue disco.  I was totally not into it at first, as I was clearly the oddball in the room - and ALL of the people there looked like professional dancers!  Anyway, after a few drinks to loosen me up, one of Sindy's cousins tried to teach me...with mediocre success.  I did have fun, but I find it really hard to be "natural" and swing my hips in any direction...I definitely need to practice. 
The next morning, I went for a run around Hato Mayor, and managed to locate some kind of main country road, which was beautiful.  I ran 3 km out of the city, towards lush green fields and some small mountains, and then made my way back into the town.  The road had been newly paved, so it was the first time I actually had a decent surface to run on since I've been here!  After the run, we had to get ready and come back to Consuelo, as Sindy had a class at the university in San Pedro.  I had a really good experience in Hato Mayor, and I was forced to use only Spanish the whole time, as Sindy's family doesn't speak any English.  Next, I am off to Juan Dolio...
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