Stinky Alien Mushroom

I love getting up early to take Teli out for her morning walk.

Teli and I having our morning walk.

Teli and I having our morning walk.

When there is no one in the streets we can walk and enjoy the quiet of the Colonial Zone. Usually Buenagente joins in and sometimes we pick some other dogs along the way that want to come along on our morning adventure.

Teli, Buenagente, Yote and Fuzzy in the lights of the Alcazar Colon at 5:30AM

Teli, Buenagente and Fuzzy in the lights of the Alcazar Colon at 5:30AM

Today on my morning walk with Teli and her friends I ran into a weird wild thing. It looked to be some type of alien plant growing in the mulch in Plazoleta Padre Billini today. It was a bright orangish-red with holes. It had a dark green to brownish ooze surrounding each of its many openings and insides that the flies seemed to enjoy.

Alien looking thing at Plazolita Padre Billini

Alien looking thing at Plazolita Padre Billini

I went closer wondering if maybe I would get sprayed with some alien mist and transported to some mother ship to be poked and prodded. (Yes, I have always had a vivid imagination)

I proceeded to touch the ball with trepidation not knowing what to expect from my curiosity. This red ball was soft and pliable as far as I could tell, I did not squeeze it very hard because I was not sure what to expect. Then I noticed a not nice stench coming from the spongy ball. No wonder the flies were so happy dancing around the brown sap-like substance in those holes. It smelled like rotting meat!

Stinky red ball in Plazolita Padre Billini

Stinky red ball in Plazolita Padre Billini

I called a man over that was sitting on a nearby bench. I had to share my sighting with someone. The brave attack dogs, Teli and Buenagente, did not want to get anywhere near to the poop-stink thing.

The man came over and I showed him. He looked at it, said wow and that was it. He did not seem to be very impressed with my discovery. He did say he never saw anything like it before. Me, on the other hand, when I see something different, interesting, weird or just pleasing to my eyes, I get excited. I say lots of oohhs, awwhhs, wows and just plain oogle whatever is interesting to me at the moment. This was very interesting and I was doing big wowwees privately inside my head.

WiffleBall or Lattice Stinkhorn in the Plaza.

WiffleBall or Lattice Stinkhorn in the Plaza.

I took my pictures and headed home to the trusty computer to see what the heck this interesting item was.

This is what I found.

The fancy name for this is a Clathrus Crispus (Clathrus Ruber) in my plain and simple English, a WiffleBall or Lattice Stinkhorn. Like other stinkhorns it grows from a white – cream colored egg type ball that connects to the ground with long cords. They grow in mulch, wood chips and organic debris. As the mushroom grows the egg membrane tears and the stinky red alien fungus exposes its bizarre looking self and continues to grow. This is when the odor happens. Flies and other insects are attracted to the stench of the green slime that grown inside the ball. They transport the spores of the fungi to its new home to start growing again. The life span of the mushroom after it has hatched is only a day or 2 and it is very delicate. It is a very delicate plant, that glows in the dark slightly, with a not so delicate stench. (references,

Clathrus Crispus -  WiffleBall or Lattice Stinkhorn with the flies dining on the greenish brown ooze inside.

Clathrus Crispus – WiffleBall or Lattice Stinkhorn with the flies dining on the greenish brown ooze inside.

Clathrus Crispus - WiffleBall or Lattice Stinkhorn with younger egg-type mushrooms growing near.

Clathrus Crispus – WiffleBall or Lattice Stinkhorn with younger egg-type mushrooms growing near.

Looking closer I did notice an Alien in the mulch. There are Aliens among!

An Alien hiding near the  WiffleBall Stinkhorn - Alien Chronicles.

An Alien hiding near the WiffleBall Stinkhorn – Alien Chronicles.

A Baptism Type Thing on the Playita

I see so much strange stuff going on here that I want to write about. Then I decide not to write. I worry that maybe I might write about something someone does and then they might see it and think that I am making fun or them when I am only making an observation.

There are so many pictures I would love to take of so many interesting people but I try to have permission, especially if I am taking a picture where you can see a persons face, which sometimes is not easy to get.

I take the dogs, Teli and Buenagente, down the Playita Montecino. This is the beach behind the Montecino statue along the Malecon in the Colonial Zone. to play and run along the beach sometimes. I just wish that I could swim there. The beach is very polluted, I would never get in the water. It is so tempting when you stand there and hear the waves rolling in. The sun is beating down. The water is a crystal turquoise. Then I see the sewage running into the water and the trash that ends up on the beach each day. I know its not good. But it is still a nice place for the dogs to play and for me to enjoy the view and clear the hear for the start of the new day.

Playita Montecino Teli and Buenagente playing on the beach.

Playita Montecino Teli and Buenagente playing on the beach.

One Sunday morning I saw an interesting thing and it happened many other Sundays as well.

A car pulled up to the beach. A woman in all white got out. She had a bunch of flowers in her hand that looked like daises.

There were others in the car as well. They got out and started changing clothes. They were putting on shorts and water clothes.

The Lady in White went to the water alone. She stood there with her arms stretched out. Then she just stood there looking out to the water.

I was far from her so I could not see exactly what she was doing and I did not want to stare or disturb whatever was going on.

She took the flowers and kept dipping them into the water. It looked like she was cleaning or blessing the water with the flowers.

Lady in White doing a type of baptism at Playita Montecino

Lady in White doing a type of baptism at Playita Montecino

A person would go into the water near her. She would talk to the person awhile. The other people just stood by the car or near the water talking and not paying attention to what was happening in the water.

Then the person that joined the Lady in White stood by her. The lady took her flowers and swirled them around in the water and splashed the water from the flowers onto the person. With one person she dabbed the flowers onto his head. Then the person went under the water and would swim around a bit.

Lady in White doing a type of baptism at Playita Montecino Sunday morning

Lady in White doing a type of baptism at Playita Montecino Sunday morning

The lady did not do a baptism-type dunk. The people just went into the water with her standing in the water watching. She went into the water enough to get her long white skirt wet but she never went into the water entirely.

After that person was finished the next person would come to the Lady in White. It was very leisurely. Everyone took their time. Some when finished went back to the car and changed their clothes back to the street clothes while others just hung out near the waters edge.

I have seen this happen in the same way at least 5 times. There have been from 2 people with her up to 6 coming in 2 cars.

I took the pictures from a distance trying to look like I was not looking.

This is one of the many interesting things that I see almost every day in this country that I call home and love.

Maybe Chikungunya and I Fell Down

I am feeling better today. I had a sickness that came on me Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday morning I thought I was going to die. I am not sure if it is just the plain ole gripe (flu) or if it is that new virus Chichimigiunguangan…jejej.

Really the correct spelling is Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Its a crazy name that came about when the virus was first discovered in Central/East Africa in the Makonde Plateau, a border area between Mozambique and Tanzania. The name chikungunya comes from the Makonde (the language spoken by the Makonde, an ethnic group in southeast Tanzania and northern Mozambique) word meaning “that which bends up” because of the stooped posture developed as a result of the arthritic symptoms of the disease. In Swahili this means “the illness of the bended walker”. More information at chikungunya virus net

Ok, we are done with the lesson now back to my story.

I have to take Teli out for the morning walk. Buenagente can go out on his own since he is a street dog but I have to walk Teli. If I don’t then I feel guilty as she stands and gazes out the window.

Teli and Buenagente looking out the window

Teli and Buenagente looking out the window

I got up moaning and got dressed to take the kids out. I told them we would only be walking around the block today because my body was so sore still. I have problems with the Achilles tendons all the time but today they are extremely sore.

We got out the door, walking in semi-pain. About a half block away as I was picking up a little momentum down I went! I fell down. The legs just gave way and I went down. Not straight down but it was like I sliding into 1st base!

My first thought was did I tear my pants, I do not want to be down another pair of walking pants. 2nd thought was to see if anyone saw me to let them know I was ok. Last time I fell, I am a frequent faller (too bad they do not give frequent faller, about 4 people came running all trying to help me up and seeing if I was OK. I wanted to stop the onslaught before it happened. Nip it in the bud. But no one was out, thank goodness. 3rd thing was to get up on my knees and check to make sure all my body parts were attached and functioning. All 3 first steps – check!

When I started to get up is when I felt an owie. The heels of my hands were scraped, my left fore arm had a nice, or not nice, scrape. Both of my knees were a bit torn up. There was a little blood on the hand and knee but other than that I was ok. I did not check much because I had to finish the dog walk and if I checked all over and found something nasty then I could not finish the walk because I would become squeamish. I am not the best when it comes to a big boo-boo or blood. So we continued the walk around the block.

The kids played a little bit while I sat and watched. I so wanted to look at my booboos but I just brushed the street off my pants and forced myself to wait to check on my owies.

Teli sneaking in for the attack on Buenagente at the Fortaleza Ozama

Teli sneaking in for the attack on Buenagente at the Fortaleza Ozama

When the kids were done with their romp we headed home. I had to take a few pictures of the sky just in case I die from my injuries I had to have one more sky picture to share with the!

Sun rise at Parque Rosado (Plaza Pellerano Castro)  and the bust of Julia de Burgos

Sun rise at Parque Rosado (Plaza Pellerano Castro) and the bust of Julia de Burgos

We made it home. Climbing the stairs to the 3rd floor was a little difficult as my joints hurt, my achilles tendons were throbbing and now my knee boo-boos are rubbing on my pants and starting to ache a bit.

I got the kids settled in with their food and water. Now it was time for me to check out my injuries.

Both knees are a bit tore up. One heal on my hand has blood and a few little remnants of the street embedded in the flesh. The other hand heal is just bruised. My forearm to my elbow had a big scrape. My chin has a little mark on it so I guess I hit that also. I do not have any bone breaks. I am alive with no missing parts. I am sure that by tomorrow evening or Sunday I am going to be really sore.

Anytime I fall or hurt myself it takes a day or 2 for the joint and muscle pain to really set in.

Fall down boo-boos.

Fall down boo-boos.

You can see my arm and 1 knee booboos here. I survived for another day of bumps and bruises. Life is good even if I have Gripe, Chichimunguangamana or bumps and bruises!

Putrid Stench Dogs

I decided to take the dogs to the beach today. We headed down the hill to Playita Montecino. They fixed the bridge crossing the Malecon which is great because I just cannot cross that road when it has traffic. The cars go too fast and they frighten me. I keep thinking what happens if I make a run for it and trip and fall, which I do often it seems, then I would be bloody deceased or at least have a new tire tattoo somewhere in my ole body. I never used to think of tripping and falling when crossing a street until lately. Guess that happens when you get old ehh? LOL

We went a few days ago to the beach around 5AM and many of the local street dogs were there. Bruiser and his Harem, Ojo (she only has 1 eye, Mia and Lady who is very pregnant (they live at the Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco). Julio showed up too. 7 dogs in all. What fun they had.

Telis friends at  Playita Montecion. Teli, Buenagente, Bruiser, Julio, Ojo, Mia, Lady all enjoying.

Telis friends at Playita Montecion. Teli, Buenagente, Bruiser, Julio, Ojo, Mia, Lady all enjoying.

Teli and Buenagente were so happy when they saw all their friends there. They had a great time running around and romping. Me, I was thinking how I was going to get all these dogs across the Malecon in one piece. Imagining all sorts of nasty bad scenarios in my head.

I made sure we left the beach early before the traffic got bad. They all followed me. Bruiser led his girls. I was ready to get the help of a Guachiman (watchman) to help me stop traffic so all could cross safely. Thank goodness when we got there there was an opening in the traffic where we could all cross without us having to play traffic cops. I could breathe easier now.

This morning Buenagente was outside waiting because he was out partying all night and never came in. He does this a few times a week but he is always there in the morning waiting for his morning walk and then breakfast and time to sleep in the house to recuperate after a long night out.

We headed to Playita Montecino. We cannot go into the Fortaleza Ozama. The director does not like dogs inside. Teli hates this and puts up a fight every time we pass the entrance gate to the fort. She loves it there where she can run freely. But, there is nothing I can do, we cannot go in there, at least for a while.

We crossed the bridge. Got to the beach. I let the dogs go free so they could run. They were having a great time chasing each other and playing dog style. Until..

I saw Teli go down and start rolling. Buenagente ran over and joined in. I went running. My run is not that fast these days but for me it was a run. They found some nasty, stinky, repulsive putrid thing and were bathing in it. From the tip of their noses, down the back and onto their tails. They were covered in a white nasty slime that stunk a rotten fish rolled in chicken guts then dunked into a vat of baby poo all steeped in the hot sun for a week or so. They were so content rolling as I tried to get them away, covering the nastiness only to have them return and re-roll when I thought they forgot about it.

Playita Montecino. Teli and Buenagente covered in stench

Playita Montecino. Teli and Buenagente covered in stench

I had to get them home and get then bathed fast. As we were walking you could almost see the smell rolling off their bodies as we walked. Thank goodness they were down wind from me. But I got some on my hands and it stunk BAD. I was gagging and could not even cover my face because both my hands were tainted with the putrid stench.

I got the kids home. I let Teli in the house and had to make Buenagente wait outside until I bathed Teli then he could get his bath. We head right for the shower and Teli got her bath.

I went out to get Buenagente and he was outside in his sot on the sidewalk. I called him. He would not even look at me. I went down to the street to get him. When I got close he ran from me. I went back to the door and he returned to his spot. He was mad at me! He would not respond to whistles, food or my smiles. He either knew he was next for a bath or e was angry because I closed him out while I bathed Teli.

So, Buenagente is outside in the street spreading his stench to all his haunts. He thinks he is going to be the tour guide like always but just wait until he gets close and they get a whiff of him. I hope he gets back here soon so I can bathe him. The longer that smell is on him the harder it will be to wash it off. As it is right now, Teli is going to need another bath this time with some baking soda because i can still smell the nasty on her.

Dogs..problems, cost, worry..but I so love them. It is all worth it. I love my girl Inteliperra (aka-Teli or Nummy) and my foster boy Buenagente (aka-Bubby)!

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The Hard Lives Of My Kids

The kids, Teli (nickname Nummy) and Buenagente (nickname Bubby) pretty much occupy my life now. First thing in the morning I make sure they get out for their morning walk – run. I like to get them out early, usually between 5 and 6 AM, before anyone is in the street so they can enjoy freely. I take care of them before I take care of myself.

Inteliperra and Buenagente on Calle Hostos in the early morning hours.

Inteliperra and Buenagente on Calle Hostos in the early morning hours.

I really enjoy being out early also. It is much cooler before the wicked summer sun comes out. I love taking pictures at dawn. The sun rises sometimes just take my breath away. The way the lights make the Colonial Zone look sometimes is just so incredible. I so love where I live.

Rio Ozama at 5:30AM. The lights reflecting off the water.

Rio Ozama at 5:30AM. The lights reflecting off the water.

Then after the walk is over, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours later we get in the apartment. Sometimes Buenagente does not want to come in. He is still a street dog and he likes to check out his area and make sure all is good. Sometimes he makes his rounds in the morning and returns in the afternoon. Sometimes he does his walk about in the evening and returns in the wee hours of the morning.

After we have had breakfast and I settle down to do some work. this is what the kids do. What a life my girl Nummy and the foster boy Bubby have. Oh, and yes, Teli sleeps with her eyes open. Eerie isn’t it?

Teli and Buenagente sleeping sound after the morning walk.

Teli and Buenagente sleeping sound after the morning walk.

NYC Condoms At My Door

I have been reading about the free New York City Condoms (“The New York City Health Department gives away 38 million NYC Condoms a year in an effort to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and limit unplanned pregnancies”) that made their way to Dominican stores. These free condoms are being sold in some Dominican stores and pharmacies at about half the price of the regular condom brands. I really did not pay attention much because it did not effect me in any way…until….

Yesterday when Teli, Buenagente, Zippy and I returned from the morning walk something caught my eye. It was in the street directly in front of the door to the building where I live. It was a shiny package and just looked like something good. I am not beyond seeing something good in the street or trash and confiscating it. So, I picked it up. My eyes are not in the best shape and reading little print without some reading glasses is impossible unless my arm grew 3X’s as long as it is. I did recognize, from ancient memory, that it looked like condoms.

I got the kids in, fed and watered them. I put on my glasses and checked out my find. There it was NYC written on the package. It was the famous NYC Condoms and they came right to my door!

NYC Condoms at my door

NYC Condoms at my door

Now we all know how these condoms came to be in Dominican Republic. They jumped in a yola (a small to medium sized fishing type boat also used to transport illegal immigrants off the islands) and distributed themselves throughout the country by laying in the streets at everyone’s doors. They brought themselves here!

Maybe next time I find some condoms in front of my door they will be the new King Sized version of the NYC Condom just in case you know. wink.wink..nudge..nudge.