I was walking with my dog Teli this morning for her morning bathroom visit. I’m not sure exactly what time it was but my guess was around 7AM. We walk past the Fortelaza Ozama on Calle las Damas so she can go potty in the grass surrounding the wall. The grass inside the fort when it gets long looks like wheat waving in the breeze. It has a purple-burgundy tint to the top sprouting seed pods. When a breeze hits this grass it looks like waves. Like the line “Amber waves of grain” in the USA National Anthem. This view reminded me of that line. But today they were cutting the grass. It is a large open field with the ruins of the old fort scattered here and there. There were two men cutting with very antique looking hand pushed lawn mowers. I can remember my dad teaching me how to cut the grass. you had to go in certain directions, keeping the rows straight. You could not miss a spot or it would mess up the entire system Well, my dad was needed here. These guys were not following the grass cutting rules I grew up with. But the were cutting and I was smelling.
I love the smell of fresh cut grass. I even used to have some essential oil called Fresh Cut Hay and would burn it often here because there is not much lawns that need cutting here in the Colonial City. The smell was divine. I was really enjoying it while waiting for Teli to make her business.
Then tonight when we walked that way again on the way to Telis park the smell was still lingering. I had to stop and sit on the wall. The sitting part is easy but I forgot about the getting up part as I was so into smelling the essence or cut grass. Teli and I sat there for a while until the neighborhood kids wanted to play ball and Teli doesn’t like this so I had to get up. This is when, amongst the wonderful smells and the kids looking at me, that I remembered I need something to hold on to to get up. Of course there was nothing there.
I rolled my big butt off the little short wall and rolled over onto all fours. Teli was looking at me like I was either going crazy or wanting to play. Then I worked my way up using the dogs butt to stable myself, trying not to put too much pressure on her. Finally I was up. Laughing quietly out loud to myself and Teli and taking in the last smelling on that fresh cut lawn until the next time.
I learned myself a valuable lesson, that I learned many times before but always seem to forget. When stopping to smell the fresh cut grass always make sure that there is a way to get up if I decide to sit my big ole butt on or close to the ground. Must remember the back is not happy when it has to get up from a squatting position without help. And, to try and remember to take my camera next time I go for a walk.
>Well, I finally decided it was time to take the new Dominican subway called the Metro.
I took a walk from Colonial Zone to Ave. Lincoln and from there decided to go and get some chicharones (yes, I like chicharones) in the place that is known for making them, Villa Mella. I thought that maybe Xiomara and Jana would want to go so I gave them a call. It ended up that Jana and I went on this trip together. So I took my daughter (not really mine but she calls me mom).
The Metro was really nice and clean. I was impressed. It was really strange taking public transportation in Dominican Republic where there was no music being played, people were fairly quiet. It was very organized and all went smoothly.
After about 20 minutes we were in Villa Mella, the chicharone capital of DR and looking for a place to get some of that good, greasy and scrumptious pig skin and meat. We walked down a dirt road and stopped in the first colmado. Me for my beloved Presidente beer and Jana got a juice and some gum (she was so excited to find gum for 1 peso). The people sitting outside were very friendly and got us chairs and talked to us a bit. Very nice people. I even had to impress them with my mastery of dancing bachata (seems that people here are always surprised that I can dance bachata half way decent). We asked where was the best place close to get some chicherones and they directed us to a small, nice little restaurant called Tipico Villa Mella. The place is located on Ramon Matias Mella #77 and their phone is 809-568-1131 incase your ever in the area I highly recommend this place.
We placed our order or chicherones (both the hard and soft kind) and some batada (for info on these foods and more) and played with the cat until our food arrived. The food was great and so fresh, for sure different than buying it from the guys in Colonial Zone. The restaurant was playing some old music and the people were all friendly. They even gave us a taste of some foods that I never heard of. Jana has lived here most of her 10 years and she never heard of these either. I even did a search in Google and could not find these foods or what they were made of. But we had some chola and bobote (if anyone knows what the recipe is please let me know). One of these foods is yucca with coconut and the other, who knows. But it was all good. Even better with all the food, a beer and juice the bill was only $250 pesos. What a deal.
We decided to do a walk about but not too far from the Metro entrance so we would not get lost. We fed some pigeons. Talked to some people in different colmados. Then went back to the train as it was just starting to get dark.
We were a little more talkative for the ride back. We were playing with Janas little toy horses and laughing. One guy told us we should be a little more quiet as the police in the train was watching us. Could we be removed from the train for talking and laughing in a normal voice? Well, we weren’t removed and got back to the first station. From there we walked back to Colonial Zone. It was a far walk, maybe an hour or so and we were so tired when we got back home. We had some stories to tell Xiomara when we got back all dirty and sweaty with happy content tummies.
>I took my usual Sunday walk about and decided to cross the floating bridge and see what was on the other side that I had missed being in a car. I ended up walking on Avenida Espana pass the Naval base (after I was back home and looked at the map I realized I could have taken a much shorter route to someplace). It was a long walk going past the Naval base at there was only a long wall most of the way and the highway on the other side. Thank goodness I put a little sun block on my face and shoulders or I would have probably been quite burnt as there wasn’t any shade.
The first place available to get of that smoldering hot highway I turned and went on my little exploring trip. I was looking for a good Colmado to have a nice cold beer and wipe the dripping sweat of my brow.
There was a large group of men surrounding a pick-up truck welling and jumping around so I decided that I’d stop and see what the commotion was.
If I had my camera there would be a few pictures one of which I will try and explain. A small sized red pick-up truck with about 15 men of various ages all surrounding it. There were about 3 young boys standing in the bed of the truck. there was a nice looking family sitting on the bumper of the car parked in front of the truck. A mom, dad and 3 small children. All were very animated and watching the top of the cab of the truck. On the cab was a large gallon sized jar. In this jar was two small black fish, beta fish. The fighting ones. Everyone was watching intently as these fish were preparing for battle. This is the description of the picture, if there was one.
So I stood near by observing this event. People were betting, just like at a cock fight. These fish were bighting each other. It looked like they were going at each others tails (my glasses need replacing so I couldn’t make out exactly what part the fishies were biting).
This went on for over an hour. When the fish seemed to stop going at each other one of the men would pick up the jar and shake is ferociously. up and down (poor fishies heads getting banged around that way), then in a circular motion as to create a whirlpool in the water. then the jar was placed on the top of the truck and the people waited for the swirling fish to get their senses about them to start eating at each other. Then as the fish fighting slowed down the poor fish were put in another shaking and whirlpool.
this went on for ever. Many of the people seemed to get tired of the fight. The family left. the 3 boys were gone. Just the die hard men that bet their pesos on the death of a fish remained.
It rained two times, hard, and they grabbed the jar and went inside the Colmado to continue the fight. When the rain stopped they went back to the truck.
I was tired of waiting to see the outcome of this fight so I walked on. the rain made some big puddles, small pools, in the street so it took me a while getting around some of them. I could just imaging me walking near a puddle and some fun loving person decides to get the Gringa wet (I remember this happening when I was young and daring in USA when I was hitchhiking to Massachusetts). So I waited until the road was clear to pass by the larger puddles.
Finally I came to a cross road area and asked at a tire place which was the best road to take to get back to Colonial Zone. stupid me, they said it was really far and I forgot that to many Dominicans a few blocks is far. The moto concho offered to take me to the Zone for $100 pesos. I said no way. Did he think my head screwed on (lol!). So I finally got him down to $40 pesos and I hopped on. I never took a moto concho in the city before and reminded him that I like my flesh attached to my body and not spread across the street so he drove really slow for me. We passed a few people I knew and of course they all had to yell out their car windows about seeing me on a motorcycle.
Then to top it off, the zone was only about 10 minutes ride on the moto! I could have walked that, but oh well, it was refreshing on the bike. Which was the climax to another successful and eventful Sunday walk here in Santo Domingo.
Couldn’t sleep last night. Who knows why.
I’ve been trying to make a web site but just can’t figure it out so a friend told me to start with a Blog. The big problem is I have no idea where to start…I was born…LOL!
Lets see…Why did I move to Dominican Republic. The weather? The beaches? The people? The beer? Yea..That’s it! The beer is great! But really, I think its the life style there. So many ask me why I would chose a third world country when there are so many other places. I can’t really answer that with a solid reply. It’s just after visiting this country I fell in love with it. When I left my heart stayed behind. Its still there now. As far as I know it always will be.
It wasn’t a man either. Even though those Dominican men are pretty great. Maybe its the attitudes of the people. Most are friendly and giving people. The lifestyle is slow, tranquilo. In general, things move slow. Takes a while to get used to taking life slow. Walking slow is especially difficult. The Dominicans say they can spot a tourists just by the way they walk. Long strides. Walking fast. After living there for a while I noticed this and concentrated on walking slow. It was work at first, very deliberate on my part. But I achieved. When I had to return to USA I really noticed this in the humans here. It’s not easy trying to keep my “Dominican stride” here. But I’m trying.
Anyhow, all I do know is that Dominican Republic is my home. Even if I’m not living there at this time. It is the place I call home and always will. Its not easy living there but then life anywhere has its ups and downs. For me the good out weighs the bad. The good people outward the bad. I love it. I love my life in DR. I can’t wait to return.