Cabarate Part two of Awesome like a G6
Louise here- I did not title this one... as you can tell we have many stories to share. Some started 6 word memores for tonight's Blog then Rick and Kailey added a real blog. Hope you enjoy-
Six Word Memoirs About...
More rice, beans and meringue please
I don’t know, it was fun (Starcie about her birthday)
Have a big bruise, don’t care
Want to be a Dominican Man
Don’t even notice skin color anymore
I want to take ChiChi home
Hola Chitica, Que Bueno, Eso, Eso
Ay yai yai ay yai yai
You want a bracelet? Te quiero?
I am from Barack Obama Place
Hey, no more tequila for you
We’ll come back alive, don’t worry
Weeeeeeeee. Like a G6! Power flirt!
Move your hands, move your feet
Jumping off 8 meter waterfalls. AHHHHHH!
Looking down and jumping: it’s far!
Shooting star, can I stay here?
hiking up water falls is fun
I might really be a Dominican
More drawings, than words. My journal.
The sink is stuffed with color. The window is open without even a screen. The room is empty but bright. I am remembering the past few days. Bliss.
The hardest parts of being in Cabarete are finding time to write anything and, even harder, is getting to the computer when there are 12 people who want to use it. We are trying to put an internet moratorium on for a while until we get stuff posted on the blog (hence this from me!).
So, since getting to Cabarete....After the initial shock of the more civilized world (and our rather cushy, albeit cheap, “hostel” (built at “Het Kasteeltje” by some Dutch person in 2001 and then abandoned as any good castle should be)—flat screen tv, kitchen, hot showers, pool table, pool, lounge....all for $10/nt), we have been exploring the more traveler’s side of DR life. Spent the first afternoon at the beach, watching whipping windsurfers and kite boarders (in the aptly named kiting capital of the world), then purposefully searching out the much recommended Dominican food shack recommended by both guide books, only to finally learn it has been closed for about 4 years (despite both guides being dated 2010). Having scoped out town and no one being ready for non DR food, we happened upon Parilla Luis, which turns out to be the current local favorite, and had grilled chicken and fish, beans, rice, yucca, french fries, and sodas for everyone for about $40 total! After our happy stop at Helados Bon (almost as much in cost), we headed back to catch a bit of Super Bowl mania (or for most, swimming in the pool at night).
Yesterday, we headed to nearby Sosua for snorkeling, learning the ropes of the local public transit, the gua gua, where they easily squeezed in 8 of our group in one (which eventually held quite a few more at one point in one van (the exact number of which will be held secret so no one worries). The other 4 of us waved down the next one, and we all met easily at our appointed spot. While I made deals for snorkeling with North Coast Divers (an American run outfit), the kids scoped out a thrift store, and then ran the gauntlet of art/souvenir shops on the way to the beach. This first foray with sales hawkers was a bit daunting for some, especially as a group of 11 makes a nice target in the morning for the hard sell to start the day. We processed this part of global commerce a bit once we made it to the beach, and later in the day, everyone was much more comfortable with our new “friends,” even learning to chat rather than buy things, learning that many were Haitians who had come here since the earthquake and hope to return home with money when things improve. We learned most worked for Dominicans who own the shops, and one Haitian I met gave me info on his foundation for his village that was destroyed in the quake. This was a useful lesson in engaging with others, by being as open with these more aggressive sellers as with the rural villagers we became so enamored with in the campo.
Snorkeling was a great experience for all—the proverbial 3 hour tour that took us first to a hard coral site for lots of colorful fish, and then to a soft coral site with a bit more diversity of coral, urchins, and other aquatic life. Then it was back to the beach, where I could nap while Louise and Kailey explored in the water for another hour while everyone else lounged on the beach in the afternoon sun. Then it was back to the main road where we all got on the same gua gua (again stopping along the way to pick up more than a few more passengers).
After washing up at the hostel, we headed back to town to celebrate Starcey’s birthday at this hip beach restaurant, complete with white beds to lounge on while we awaited our food and atmospheric jazz music playing on the mongo speakers. A stop for gelato apres dinner topped off the rough day.
Today we awoke early to head to 27 Charcos, this amazingly cool waterfall site that was about a 90 minute drive (in our own private van!). Outfitted with life jackets and helmets, we headed up into the jungle, soon reaching the falls, where you actually have to swim up sections, get pulled up through moving water, climb little cliffs, and tramp up the stream bed—and this is supposedly the not as fun part. Just going up was amusing enough but the adventure down was another step up (to mix metaphors). The first waterfall involved climbing up a ledge to jump about 12 feet into a crystal blue pool, and this turned out to be just a warm up for the rest of the journey from one leap to another, eventually getting to one cliff that was about 15 feet high, which seemed plenty high for most of us (except Patrick, who always willingly was the first to jump) but then the next was like 18 feet and one might even have been well over 20. This could have all been made really scary and “character building” in the right hands (with some pushy teacher types asking kids to confront fear and consider the lessons about life and overcoming challenges)—leading to a bunch of us too scared to jump without major reflection. Instead, these guides (who all come from a village 5 minutes away that have benefitted from this development project started by a grandson of Bobby Kennedy) made it more just fun and goofy, and every single one of us leapt away, with the rare slight hesitation being met by a guide’s humor or encouragement or gentle ribbing. It was wonderful to see every kid make these wild leaps through these narrow canyons into these lovely blue pools of river water, living in the moment and doing things I think many never thought they would do (and even commented once or twice it was good their mom or dad wasn’t here as they might have worried a bit more about this than was necessary). With big smiles on everyone’s face, we walked back to the start, where an all we can eat buffet filled us up, and now, finally, we are back at the hostel to chill for the evening—looking forward to cooking our own dinner of pasta and garlic bread and ice cream, with a relaxing morning tomorrow for french toast and our remaining maple syrup, and then our one kind of open day before we head to Santiago to meet with a couple peace corps projects, then to Santo Domingo for a different slice of Dominican life.
Except for a few tiny stomachaches that have slowed no one down, everyone has been terrifically healthy (we kind of laughed at the irony of Julia getting sick back there while we are all so healthy here). We are hoping to get the kids to write more themselves, and I know most have been in touch privately through email or the all too prevalent facebook, but we are trying to get them to share more publicly so you can all connect with their experiences. Best to all, Rick
I am standing on slippery rocks. Life vest around and helmet on top, I look 25 feet down. I am waiting for my turn to jump while laughing nervously. I warn myself with stories my mom has shared about how people ended up in a hospital after jumping into water. The line is empty and the memory of my mom must be pushed aside so I can jump. I take a step forward and hear encouraging shouts from below. I am leaping. I am falling. I am no longer afraid of heights... (Kailey)