Thursday, April 16, 2009

what have i been up to

I've had an eventful week-ish! For Semana Santa (Holy Week- the week of Easter), I spent a few days in my site, then went to Karina's site on Wednesday. The Main office was forcing her computer center to show a religious-themed movie that turned out to be sponsored by the Church of Latter-Day Saints, which made for... interesting viewing. I learned that reading a regular Bible is like going hiking with a map with a hole in it, compared to reading the Mormon Bible (presumably a map with no hole).

A few other friends came and we had a lovely, relaxing few days. We also made Easter eggs! It's not a Dominican custom, so they don't sell egg dye here, but we used Kool-Aid.



We tried for pink ones and orange but they all basically look the same.

Then, bright and early Saturday morning, Arianna and I left for our VAC meeting. (VAC is Volunteer Advisory Committee, or something like that--basically volunteers get together by region and talk about Peace Corps policies, but mainly it's an excuse to hang out and get officially reimbursed for it). So our region's meeting was up in the mountains in the town of Constanza. On our ride there (which involved two guaguas and a ride up a mountain in the back of a pickup truck) we overheard a hilarious conversation.

Cobrador (guy who collects money on guaguas and passes on information to the driver): Pa'donde vas? (Where are you going?)
Haitian passenger: Pa'lla (over there)
Cobrador: Pero, donde? (But where?)
Haitian: Pa'ca (over [slightly-closer] there)

It was so funny, because Dominicans ALWAYS use pa'lla and pa'ca to give directions, even though they are basically meaningless phrases.

Anyway, we got up to our destination, and we had arranged to rent a big truck to ride around in the back of to see two nearby attractions: the waterfall Aguas Blancas and the Pyramids monument that former president/dictator Trujillo had built at the exact center of the island. At the last minute, the big truck doubled his price and we hitched a ride in the back of the pickup truck of some Dominican tourists. (Asi es life here.)

At first, it's all fun and games:


And beautiful scenery:

Aguas Blancas was beautiful too:

But then it started raining, and it's COLD in Constanza. Not Caribbean cold, for real cold. See-your-breath cold. And the Pyramid turns out to be FAR away. Like two hours. (OK, not that far--but very bad mountain roads means it took longer.)

So, we're unbelievably wet and cold. For two hours. And we finally get there, and see:


Maybe you can't judge the scale from that photo. How about this one:


It was so tiny! And stupid! And so not worth two freezing, painful hours in the back of a pickup truck to reach! Dios santissimo.

All around, though, a good week. We did a lot of Region 6 bonding-through-freezing.


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