Saturday, January 24, 2009

day in the life

Day in the life! January 6. 2009. This is a holiday in the DR—the Epiphany. I would offer the holiday as the reason why I didn’t do any work on a Tuesday, but the actual reason is just that Peace Corps isn’t a real job. Without further ado, here is a day in my life.

I wake up and gaze out through my mosquito net at some of the many teen idols that decorate my house.

Then I lay in bed for awhile and play Brick Attack, the game that comes with standard issue Peace Corps cell phones and to which many volunteers are addicted.

Next I head for my bathroom, only to discover that I still don’t have running water. (Water and electricity are sporadic in this country.) No problem, I head out behind my house to fill a bucket from my cistern.

I put cinnamon & nutmeg in my coffee, which is probably the most Dominican thing I do.

It’s done when it steams! Or when it explodes all over my stove.

I start my day with a balanced breakfast and an episode of Arrested Development.

I light a mosquito coil to keep my feet from getting bitten. Also, because I like inhaling toxins.

Why did I take a picture of my clean dishes? WHY NOT.

The Jesus sticker came with the house; the tinsel is just for Christmas.

Here’s my street! My house is the yellow and white one in the middle-left.

Here’s the school/prison I sometimes work at. It’s not really a prison, but that would explain the huge barbed-wire wall, right?

This is the only restaurant in town. It put up that big new sign a couple months ago, except do you see how there’s a picture of a taco under the “Plato del Dia” sign? They didn’t used to have the Plato del Dia sign so I mistakenly (and excitedly) thought they were going to start serving tacos there. But then I finally went to the restaurant and they don’t have tacos :( And then they amended the sign to stop giving people false Taco Hope. They do actually have pizza though.

Here’s a colmado! These are mini-convenience stores where you can get everything from cold drinks to bootleg DVDs to giant cans of ketchup. Or you can just buy a spoonful of ketchup and they’ll put it in a little plastic bag for you. I stopped at this one (which is larger than most colmados) to get a Gatorade on my way to the carro publico stop, since it was a pretty warm day and I was sweating a lot.

Here’s my carro stop. The way public transportation here works is that it’s actually privately run and it’s basically just some dudes with cars and minivans that drive along set routes. Carro publico drivers will fit 7 people in a regular-sized car and at least 10 in a minivan like this. They’ll get you where you need to be, but you’ll be sweatier when you arrive than when you left.

Luckily, I still have my Gatorade to combat the sweatiness. Mmm, limon fria.

Here’s how much it costs for me to get from my town into La Vega, the nearest city (about 25 minutes away). It’s 30 pesos, aka about 90 cents.

Taken out the window of my carro; this is pretty much what my ride into the city looks like.

Welcome to La Vega! It is way less exciting than Las Vegas.

So, from La Vega I got a guagua (small bus) into Santiago, which is the 2nd-largest city in the DR and it has nice restaurants and fancy grocery stores and movie theatres and such.

Look closely! One of the businesses in this complex is called FAG and I always giggle when I go past it on my way into Santiago. I am a 12-year-old boy, basically.

I met up with my friend Karina at La Sirena (The Mermaid), which is basically like Dominican Wal-Mart. LOOK: peanut butter!!

So lifelike!

Next up, we went to the post office. (I don’t have one in my town.) Sandy’s getting some mail!

For lunch, we stopped by this restaurant called Satay that we always used to walk past on our way to the grocery store, and we always assumed it was Thai food because of the name. Turns out: nope! Still pretty delicious, though.

This (a Caprese salad with eggplant) was seriously the best thing I’d eaten in at least a month. Yum.

SKIM ICE PENGUIN!!! Skim Ices are these awesome tube-popsicles that guys sell in the streets for five pesos. (They are way, way better than American tube popsicles.) Usually the dudes just have lunchbox-coolers they wear around their necks, but sometimes they have big penguin-bicycle-coolers, and they are basically my favorite things ever.

This was the fanciest day ever! First swanky stacked-salads, and now a coffee drink that includes its own paper pinwheel? This is really not at all a typical day in my life. But it was a DELICIOUS day in my life. (All Peace Corps volunteers are obsessed with food. It is highly likely that you reading this are currently taking for advantage the wide variety of food available in your community. Please think of me while you are eating it.)

We witnessed this brutal Barbie carnage on the way to Karina’s site, near Santiago.

Bienvenidos a la casa de Karina!

Observant readers will note that this is the second time this day that I drank something out of a Hello Kitty.

When Peace Corps volunteers get together, the first thing we do is exchange movie files on our laptops.

Also, we went to Karina’s Centro Tecnologico Comunitario to check our email.

No porn allowed :(

We started making dinner, and I was given the important task of draining the beans!

Karina busied herself with other tasks, like opening the cans.

I didn’t take any pictures of our completed burritos, which were delicious, thanks for asking. After dinner: Scrabble time!

APEOLEI is totally a word, right?

Then: bedtime, under Karina’s rad stripey sheets!

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Hey - did you hear? Neil Gaiman won the Newbury Award!