26 September 2005

Stepping Out

This week we all got to visit current Volunteers scattered throughout the DR. I was super lucky and got to visit one up in the mountains! Everyone in the capital kept telling me it was cold up there, and indeed it was cooler! (Although, definitely not COLD by our standards - merely nice out!)
The trip up was very easy. Carribe Tours runs bus lines to various parts of the DR, and the buses are caoch buses with AC. The trip took a couple hours, and when I got here, we went to lunch - 2 volunteers and 3 "Aspirantes" (Trainees). We ate lunch at this very conspicuous place that the local volunteers call "Starbucks" simply because it doesn´t fit in here. In any case, we had a nice break from Dominican food! Shortly after that, I got my first "motoconcho" ride! I was glad the volunteer was there to get me one, etc and I didn´t have to negotiate it myself! So, I got to use my helmet and lo and behold... I did it! :o) (Still not a huge fan though!)

There´s too many stories to recount here, but here´s a brief overview of the week: I got a tour and explanation of the coffee factory and how it´s produced; Thrus we went to a junta in Santiago for the coffee growers; Friday we went to visit some coffee fincas where I got totally eaten by bugs!; and Sat we went to a little known waterfall which was absolutely beautiful. Of course, then we had to come back to the hot, sticky capital. I didn´t realize quite how LOUD the capital is until I got back!
It´s been a busy week! But one quick guagua story before I go...
We were riding in a guagua (bus) back from Santiago, and naturally it was packed full. There were 3 people in the front seat (plus the driver!), and someone mentioned the front door was open. Without warning, the cobrador (the man who collects the money, etc) swung around and opened the front door while we were moving! The lady up front was super surprised! When she got off 15 mins later, she poked her umbrella at him! Wow, gotta watch out for those crazy cobradors!

Hope you´re all well & not encountering any crazy cobradors of your own!

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