This blog is a little late getting posted (2 weeks late), but none the less, here it is!
After my long day of transit to get here, including delayed flights and rerouting, I was happy that the Santo Domingo airport was easy to navigate and relatively no line ups. I was even happier when I saw a sign with my name on it at the end of a long line of people. Unlike when I arrived in Galapagos, it was clear that someone what waiting for me and I would soon have a home!
I walked out into the moist night making polite chit chat with Jesus, my driver, in broken Spanish. He was a smiley, friendly man and I felt welcomed after my long day.
As we drove through the outskirts of the city, it was quite and calm, but it was also after 9pm. That quickly changed as we headed into the populated areas of the city where, along the Malecon the traffic was heavier, there was music blaring from every other car parked on the street and there were people walking hand in hand everywhere.
As we turned into the Colonial Zone where I would be residing, the streets were packed with cars making it difficult for the taxi to navigate. Drivers don’t stop at corners and traffic seems to be moving constantly in all directions. There were people sitting out in front of their houses, in bars and corner stores and different types of music clashing from all directions.
Jesus pulled up to what we thought was my house address, but could not find a place to park and after stopping for 10 seconds, got honked at continually as there is not room to pass on the small streets. So, he looped around the block again. This time, stopping to check with folks sitting outside to see if we had the correct location. With the van blocking traffic, I quickly grabbed all of my luggage and was ushered to the street. I barely even had a moment to say thank you and Jesus was rushing off into the busy-ness.
I was welcomed to my new home by a lovely older woman named Angela, who promptly gave me a hug and a kiss and said ‘Mi casa, su casa’, meaning, make yourself at home.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure how I got through the first night at Angela’s as my Spanish was pretty basic and a week later I still wasn’t able to understand anything that Angela said. I guess my first night she spoke particularly slowly, talked with her hands a lot and I probably used my dictionary a lot!
She had a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers for me to welcome me to her home and she prepared me supper even though it was after 10:30pm.
I didn’t look around the house much that night as I was tired, but she showed me around briefly. There was a sitting room, a small nook where there was a computer, a living room with a television and stereo, my bedroom, a dining area, the kitchen and a bathroom. There were also three or four doors to areas that I was not shown. Later, I understood that these were the bedrooms of others who were staying at this home, however they were gone away for the weekend. After supper and a brief chat about my plans for the next day including what time breakfast would be served, I went to bed for a good night’s rest with my industrial size ceiling fan that really did very little to make the room cool.
A little overwhelmed and a lot tired, I was glad to be somewhere safe with a roof over my head and a bed to rest my weary head.