Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sleepless in barrioland

My favourite place in the whole world is bed. When I was working in the City in London I used to have to drag myself out of bed at 5.30 in the morning, with a 2 hour walk, train, 2 tube trains then another walk commute. I used to hate getting up, out of a warm snugly bed into a cold house with that journey ahead of me.

Getting up in the DR is much easier.  It is warm, the sun is shining and I don’t have to get up at 5.30 am. The only problem is that I can’t sleep. Last night I went to bed early and I was alone in the house as husband was at university and step kids were out on the town. Snuggled up in bed, watching the TV in its specially hacked out hole in the wardrobe, couple of cats purring on the bed and dogs under the bed, I was a happy bunny.

I had just dropped off to sleep when husband came in. Dogs go mad, husband sits on bed chomping on chicken and rice, chatting about what has gone on at college, puts on television for Dominican news, and eventually I go back to sleep.
2.38 am the cockerel in the garden behind starts. He always starts then. There are precisely 19 seconds between each crow. I know as I count them every night. He only crows for 20 minutes then he must go to sleep again and at least he allows me to as well.

3.30 electricity goes off. I know that as the fan stops. It is not that hot at the minute and were it not for the mosquitoes it would be easy to sleep without the fan. Within 2 minutes of the fan stopping it is like an orchestra of high pitched buzzing around my head. They are simply everywhere. Husband gets up to go into the garden to the little inverter hut and turn it on. It should happen automatically but it doesn't sometimes.

Back to sleep for a while. 5.00 am terrible screaming. The cat who doesn't live here, but just comes in for food, is bonking one of my cats who does not appear to be enjoying it very much. Or enjoying it a lot, I am not sure which. I am surprised no one has called the police thinking someone is being murdered. Eventually they finish.

husband and Chivirico one rainy afternoon

Then fan stops again. Electricity must have come on and gone off again. It is my turn to get up and push the inverter button. As by now it is nearly 6 am I decide to call it a night and get up for good. The noise by now in the barrio is intense. Motorbikes are buzzing around, there must be a thousand cocks crowing, people are yelling at each other, kids screaming. No wonder most Dominicans can sleep anytime and anywhere. They obviously never do during the night.


  1. Lindsay, try this for mosquitoes - something I learned from one of those blind-circulation emails. "Bounce" dryer-sheets. Don't laugh! I keep an open packet on the edge of my bed and haven't been bitten since I put it there. I also keep one of the sheets below my computer desk, down where my legs are. It might not work with swarms of the buggers, but you never know. Let me know how you get on.

    1. Thanks Gordon. I can't buy it here but will get someone to bring me some next time I have visitors.