Sunday, September 27, 2009

Guide to Cabarete

If you should ever find yourself wandering the streets of Cabarete alone, use this simple guide to keep yourself out of trouble...
There are basically two streets you need to know. Street numero uno is the calle principal. If you are from Utah, you might compare it to a State St. of sorts. It is the main paved road that goes through all the nearby towns. This is the road where you find taxis, guaguas, and drunk drivers. There are basically no rules so don't be surprised to see a crashed motortaxi or a drunken 14-year-old driving a truck full of bananas. The calle principal is parallel to the beach, where you will find all the hot spots: restaurants, discotecas, surf lessons and if you're feeling wild, prostitutes. Seriously.
Street #2 is the callejon. Callejon de la loma I believe is the formal name. I wouldn't know as there are no formal street signs, addresses, etc. It's the street where most locals live and where all the local stuff goes down. Colmados, legit Dominican food and dead cows are just a few of the many delights within walking distance of any home on the callejon. The callejon is a dirt road littered with trash and pregnant, rabies-infested dogs. It's the best place in the world. Once again, I am serious.
The callejon leads you right up from the calle principal into the beautiful jungle of LA LOMA. The loma is where you can find real-life jungle children, caves full of water (Playboy mansion grotto style) and men headed off for a days work doing who-knows-what with a giant machete. 
Here, a few common sights in Cabarete...
the aforementioned machete-wielding gentleman.

posa (sp?) aka cave of fresh water where you can swim with kids in their undies.
far right, yes that is a cow head. muy delicioso!
loma boys!! hey hotties!!
duchando. en la calle. its cool.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In case you haven't had enough...


Dominicanisms parte 2.

1. Colmado: Corner store. Usually playing really loud merengue or reggaeton music. You can't really buy anything good in these stores.
Pronunciation Guide: Kohl-mah-dough
Example: "I'm going to the colmado to pick up a packet of 2 aspirin. Need anything?"
"Yeah, can you get me an individually wrapped roll of toilet paper?"

2. Guineo: Banana
Pronunciation guide: Gee-nay-oh
Example: I wrapped my naked body in leaves from the guineo tree and went to the colmado."

3. Guapo: Angry, ready to figh.
Pronunciation Guide: GOO-ah-poh
Example: "That boy is very guapo. When I called him a 'maricon' he ripped out one of my braids."

4. Presidente: THE beer to drink in the DR. muy famoso.
Pronunciation Guide: Preh-zee-dent-ay
Example: "You wanna come with me to meet the Presidente?"
"Si, seƱor!" (wake up next morning in an unfamiliar room with a hangover).

5. Motoconcho: Motorcycle taxi. Dozens line up on street corners and offer rides. Generally driven by loud sweaty men who will say anything to get you to hop on. Cheapest, most dangerous and exciting form of transportation. The more people you fit on the seat, the better.
Pronunciation Guide: moe-toe-cone-CHoe
Example: "Today I pooped my pants on the motoconcho."


Language survival guide to the Dominican Republic:
NOTE- all these words are Spanish words. The examples are in English for your convenience.

1. Chin: A lil' bit.
Pronunciation Guide: CHeen
Example: "How much toilet paper did you accidentally flush down the toilet?"
"Oh, not much. Un chin."

2. Sanky Panky: (AKA Sanky Pank, S.P.) A guy who hangs on the beach and picks up hot tourist women in hopes of getting anything from a free drink to a green card and passage to the United States. Characterized by hot, muscled bods and sunbleached fros.
Pronunciation Guide: saynKEEpaynKEE
Example: "Why did you marry that guy from the beach that you hardly know?"
"I got sanky pank'd."

3. PSSSSST: A common noised used on the streets and in the classroom. Used by old men to catch the attention of young women. Also used to chastise children and to achieve silence in a classroom.
Pronunciation Guide: Psssst...pretty straightforward.
Example: "PSSSST! Helllooo Freeeeeeennnnd!!!"

4. Buen Provecho: Bon appetit
Pronunciation Guide: Booehn Pro-vehCHoh
Example: "Thank you for this delicious feast of yucca and ketchup!"
"Buen Provecho!"

5. Guagua: Van taxi overflowing with Dominicans. Van must be really old and falling apart and people must be hanging out doors/windows. Extra points for chickens in the seat next to you or an old man sitting on your lap.
Pronunciation Guide: GWA-GWA
Example: "The guagua driver was definitely borracho today."

6. Que lo Que?: What's up?
Pronunciation Guide: K Low K
Example: "Que lo que?"
"Nothing much, just getting back from a wild guagua ride."


See SaraBeth Swagerty after a couple drinks for Spanish pronunciation. 
Where does one stay while in the Dominican Republic, you ask? well, if you're lucky enough to be a DREAM volunteer, you might get to stay in your own personal slice of heaven: The Hummingbird. Oddly enough, I did not see a single hummingbird during my entire visit. 
This place isn't exactly what you'd call a's more like apartment-y. I was pleasantly surprised to see that our rooms didn't have dirt floors or rats feasting on my pillow when I walked in. A wonderful German lady, Birgit (Baguette, if you're sassy) owns the place and rents it out to Norwegian study-abroaders during the year and DREAM volunteers during the summer. We eat breakfast and dinner, try to catch at least a couple minutes of internet in between power outages and diarrhea our little hearts out all right here in our home for the summer. For the record, I never had diarrhea. Boo Ya. Anyway, there are ten rooms, It's a small place and most of the time you can find volunteers in anyone's room but their own. Especially in room 4, where the AC is always cranked. The Hummingbird boasts a beautiful pool and a great staff who keep us well fed and the sand out of our beds. That kind of rhymed and I wasn't even trying.
The most important and hard-working staff member at HBird? Princesa, the guard dog.

This is what a typical day at the bird looks like! laundry hanging, great pool, people sweating...
Sunday dinner/meeting for DREAM volunteers. What a delight.
Little guy hanging out in the room...
Homegirls. They provided us with bangin food and clean rooms...
Princesa doing what she does best...


Kite surfing capital of the world. Cabarete is a beautiful little beach town on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The weathers hot, and the DREAM volunteers are even hotter. First order of business when plane lands: hit that beach.

The beach is where the party is at. The sand is hot, the water is a beautiful turquoise (and devoid of sharks, I might add) and the palms are blowing in the gentle breeze. Everywhere you look there are kite srufers, wind surfers and people enjoying the warm water. The first day we were there it was windy and all the sports enthusiasts were out to take advantage of the weather. It was a circus! It looked like this...
Luckily, most days it was not that crazy. But there were always amateurs out in the water to make fun of. There were also these crazy Americans who decided to go skinny-dipping in broad daylight...
Yes, that's me in the middle. Old man with goggles swimming by, you are welcome.


Not long ago in a place not too far away, I had some experiences that changed my life. i went to a tropical paradise like this...

Saw people that lived like this...

Helped kids that looked like this...

With a bunch of crazy people like these...

This is the story of Sarah's summer abroad.
Dominican Republic 2009, baby!
More to come...