My first days in the Dominican Republic
- Day (or evening)
It is raining. Quite the opposite of what I had expected but it’s still hot (yes!). Together with six other students I walk out into the rain. We put our luggage in the back of a closed trailer which iss attached to a minibus we are going to drive in. I had to say goodbye to Emilie at the airport because she is going to stay in Santo Domingo. All the students whom is going to stay in the capital is taking another minibus. The seven of us get in the bus and we are travelling yet again. I have absolute no idea about where we are driving to. I am sitting next to a girl from Czech Republic. Her name is Kristýna and we met on the plane from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo. The other guys are from Hungary (4 girls and a boy). Since they are speaking Hungarian to each other and Kristýne and I can´t understand anything at all we begin a conversation in English.
The first thing a notice about the Dominican Republic is how crazy people drive here. First of all, there are no seatbelts in the minibus. I used quite some time looking for the seatbelts. Until I realized that there were none (what!). Outside the windows there are loads of cars, minibuses and surprisingly enough there are a whole bunch of motorcycles. The cars drive normally except that people are riding out in the open in the backs of trucks. Then there are the motorcycles. It appears the normal driving rules doesn’t apply to them because they drive completely insane. The motorcycles sometimes have four persons on them. But for the most part only two persons are riding it. It´s completely dark outside so I can´t see anything except for the roads and vehicles. I´m so tired that I half sleep half keep the conversation going with Kristýne (whom by the way is so sweet and nice). We are driving for between one or two hours.
The bus finally stops and I look out the window to see a big and beautiful house. After we get our luggage out we step into the house. An old man is welcoming us (I later discover that he is the owner of the house). He explains us that the rest of the students that are going to stay outside of Santo Domingo are first going to arrive late tomorrow. So tomorrow we are just going to relax and wait. Just what I need after all the traveling. The man is also saying to us that we must put our bags inside our rooms, so we can come down to eat. The boy gets his own room and us girls share one room. There is plenty of space for us. We each get a bed (I got the one on top with the blue-green linen).
The food is delicious. We are getting build-your-own mini burgers (burgers!). I was a bit worried that we were going to get something strange to introduce us to the new culture or something. The Hungarians are still speaking nonsense so Kristýne and I keep talking. I hated when they spoke in their own language because I couldn´t understand so I immediately felt excluded. Kristine are something along the lines of “I don´t think I can sleep tonight I am way too excited”. I´m just like “What!? I think I can sleep everywhere through everything right now”.
That was put to the test.
I am so tired but I can´t sleep. The fan in the room is spinning on full blast because it has stopped raining and it is now insanely hot. I am laying in the upper bed so the cold air keeps pouring down over me. The other girls have a blanket to protect them from the cold air. I don´t know why I don´t have a blanket in my bed. After laying in the bed for some time I begin to find solutions for how to get some warmth. Option 1: Go down and ask for a blanket. That wouldn´t work because the guy owning the place is properly asleep. Option 2: Ignore the cold and try to sleep anyway. Impossible. Option 3: Find something else to keep me warm. At the end of my bed my travel clothes are laying so I fetch my long black cardigan. It is nearly covering my whole body except for my lower part of the legs. So, I get my T-shirt and put it on my legs. I am laying completely still so none of my skin is getting exposed to the cold air. I finally fall asleep. Only to wake up a few hours later because I must use the bathroom. After that I only wake up a few more times because mosquitos are eating me alive.
After a long night of quality sleep (jk) I wake up because breakfast is ready. The girls and I begin eating the same place we ate yesterday. The breakfast consists of eggs, bread, lots of different fruits and cereal. To drink there is water (with ice), juice, coffee and a very delicious homemade hot chocolate. We are surrounded by palm trees and I can hear birds twitter in the background. We decide to chance into swimwear and go to the pool. The water is cold at first but I’m getting used to it. It’s very refreshing to be in the pool drinking ice tea.
It feels like I’m dreaming. I can’t seem to realize that I’m going to live on this island for a whole year. It feels as though I can wake up at any moment in by bed in Hinnerup. I have been waiting so long for this year and now I’m finally here. What makes it even more unrealistic is that I am surrounded by freaking palm trees. Real life palm trees. I’m floating in a pool with an ice tea in my hand surrounded by palm trees. Yesterday I was in rainy cold Denmark and now I’m here. Of course, I have been on vacation to hot places before and had the same sort of experience. But this is different. Normally I’m with my family and as far as I know they are on their way home to Hinnerup. Normally my family and I are going to stay in the country for between one and two weeks. This is going to be my home for a year and so far, I’m enjoying it.
A lady called Oiquidea shows us around the garden. I can see avocado trees, more palm trees, cherry trees, orange trees etc. It’s beautiful. We get over to one of the avocado trees and the avocados are ripe. Oiquidea is saying something about it being avocado season. I think to myself: How can it be season for avocados when it’s hot all year? How does the tree now when it’s supposed to produce avocados when it’s the same weather all year? In Denmark, it makes sense because you know the weather chances.
I should investigate that topic when I get internet again. I reach out and take one of the avocados and eat it. This is truly amazing. If the natives saw how excited I am they would think I’m crazy. In Denmark, we only buy fruits and vegetables in the supermarkets. The thing is Denmark is cold we can’t just grow avocados. That would require a greenhouse so instead we import a lot of things.
After that we eat some more food, swim in the pool, play ping pong etc. And suddenly I find myself in the same bed with the same problem. It’s freaking cold. I do the same thing as last night, but this time it’s not mosquitos that wake me up but people. They are so loud.
I still haven’t figured the tree situation out yet.