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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Cooking and Shopping

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | Wednesday, 13 June 2012 | Views [1308]

Mangu was on the menu this morning as I woke up a wee bit early. It was tasty but I must admit it was better at Jorge's house. Monica was out of coffee and there wasn't enough time to prepare some at her sister's house. As I gaze at the houses here in Santiago it's easy to forget that I'm not in, say, Esteli or Sancti Spiritus. And if it weren't for the great influx of consumerism it'd feel like Cuba transplanted. Today in class we discussed descriptions in Spanish (e.g. "Ella tiene ojos azules" and "Megan se joven"). As I've mentioned the Dominican Republic is a very difficult place to learn Spanish due to the fastness of their dialect. Whilst I've been considering Japan or the Virgin Islands as a place to live for next year, the program has caused me to put Spain on my radar, perhaps Seville or Salamanca, Granada or Malaga. And I must not forget...my favourite...my Spanish duchess. Ah Maria! I cannot get over you! Anyways, I would love to become fluent in Spanish. Even though it's phonetically consistent it's a very tough language to learn; I've tried for over 20 years! I studied Spanish in Year 3, took a class at university, have had many Latin American neighbours and friends, been to 10 countries with Spanish as an official language, and have more than five months of travel combined in them, but I'm still not even beyond basic Spanish although it's better than it used to be. Lunch today was a tasty one! I had beef and pork with salad and beans. Fruits and vegetables are at markets everywhere in Latin America but unless you cook for yourself you're more likely to be served rice and beans with chicken or beef and usually something fried. Thankfully in this kind of climate I'm not hungry often. My days of McDonald's and fried chicken are long over. After lunch we got ice cream and then in class we learned imperative tenses whilst grey skies hovered and flashes of lightning struck outisde.

A heavy rain poured whilst we began our cooking class. All we made were sauteed plantains with cheese, which are easy enough to make and taste rather bland. Throwing in a dash of salt helps a little. Overall the cooking class was boring and there wasn't too much hands-on experience (although I don't like cooking with hot oil). I love to cook but I prefer cooking vegetables, stir-fry, curry, and the like. I had a few of the finished product and all there was to drink was Coca-Cola which I was annoyed at. They need to consider people can't or don't drink soda. As a result I went and bought a coffee. After class was over for today, Jesson prepped us for a shopping excursion. We went to Mercado Modelo; I was there with Israel the other day.

Just like in Santo Domingo, at the market there is loads and loads of tourist kitsch for sale but where are all the tourists? With the exception of us I haven't seen another tourist in Santiago. Amber is commonly sold at markets but a unique Dominican rock is larimar: a baby blue rock mined (from the world's only larimar mine) near Barahona on the south coast. Whilst everyone else was buying postcards, sand, amber, key chains, pencil holders, cigars, and mamajuana, I was focused on finding some Haitian coins. Eventually I found a Haitian salesman who had a few of them and he sold them to me. I didn't really buy anything today; I'm going to wait until I'm in Puerto Plata to buy postcards. I really wanted to go to the supermarket but Jesson said we couldn't go today. We reconvened at ALPI where we took taxis back to our respective accommodations. I've been in Santiago for almost a week now and I still don't have my bearings. When we got back I was ready for a walk, going on a bit of a photo safari of the various homes. At the colmado I got a chocolate milk before getting back in time for dinner. Monica whipped up a tasty curry concoction tonight; one of the better foods I've had on this journey. Food in the rest of the Caribbean is tastier and contains more spice than that of the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Columbus may not have been too far off culinarily when mistaking this part of the world for India. It was a rather quiet evening tonight and I hung out with Jonny, Kealan, and the little boy

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