Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The good, the bad and the ugly

The Good

Chvirico was here for the weekend, and as usual wanted to keep busy. He cleaned the fridge.

In doing so he came across all sorts of pots which I had forgotten I had and he insisted on tasting them. Strawberry jam and golden syrup were both hits but Marmite was spat out immediately!

His next job was to help Hector to build a fence all around our land, to try and stop the neighbours' chickens walking in, where they face certain death from the dogs and cats, and to stop the dogs getting out to get at the neighbours' chickens, which may lead to a sticky demise for them too.

He was hilarious as he is well up to date with all the workers' customs telling me he would charge RD$300 for the day and I had to provide a constant supply of ice cold drinking water. Lunch should be served at noon on the dot, to make sure it was rice with something and he would not be coming into the house to eat as workers didn't eat with their employers.

The fence will be nice when it is finished - probably at least 6 months to go though.

The bad
Our internet comes from a local chap, as the signal from Claro is not strong enough for me to use the usb stick I have. Well the stick works, but painfully slowly. Said chap fitted a 10 foot high aerial on the roof with a modem and wifi and hey presto super fast internet throughout the house - at the beginning. Over the last couple of months it keeps stopping and going off for hours at a time. In fact every day after 6 pm and every Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening.

Danilo and Hector decided it was because all of the neighbours were using it as somehow they had got hold of the password. I doubted this was the problem but the Internet chap was called, got rid of the password and then insisted the best way was that each computer was individually registered on the system. He put on mine and Danilo's kindle, and before he could put the cell phones on he casually mentioned that the price would go up from RD$500 a month for all, to a basic RD$500 plus RD$100 for each additional machine! We declined to have any others registered. He then said the problem with the internet cutting out was due to the trees in the wood next door which had obviously grown, as trees do, so the signal was being interrupted. I pointed out that the system went down in the evenings and weekends and I doubted that the trees grew then, and then shrank during the day, but he insisted on increasing the aerial to 20 feet high. Another RD$500.

The result. Super fast internet when it works. The neighbours are royally pissed off.  And no change in that the internet still goes off in the evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Sticking with technology for a moment, as I mentioned the Claro signal here is not good, and we cannot really use the cell phones as they are with Claro. The contracts are for 18 months and if you cancel before then you have to pay a fine, so we are waiting till the contracts end before changing to Orange which is the only company which has a signal here. Danilo's phone contract is up, so we went and cancelled it, and trotted off to the Orange shop to get him a new contract. We had phones with Orange years ago, but cancelled them due to the appalling customer service. He chose the phone he wanted, and the contract type and then the woman in the shop announced he could only have that phone if he had a credit card and a bank loan. He has neither. I have both so we decided to put it in my name. All was going well until she looked up from her computer and announced we couldn't have it as I owed Orange money. "Really," I asked, "I don't understand why as I paid off everything when we cancelled the contracts. No worries, tell me how much I owe and I will pay it." "I am not allowed to tell you," she said. "You have to go to Santiago to the main office and ask them and pay there." Santiago is hours away, and I doubt it is more than a few pesos, and no way are we going to go there. So now he is phone less until we decide what to do. And Orange customer service still sucks. If they had told me how much and let me pay they would have had a happy customer and more money. Idiots.

The Ugly

I spend a lot of time at my computer, and next to me is the waste paper basket which gets filled with rubbish. Sitting here the other evening, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye next to the waste paper basket.

Please note the beer bottle was one that had a mosquito coil stuck it in, not that I swig beer while working. I wasn't sure what to do as I wanted to be a long way away from it, but I had to keep an eye on it in case it ran away and hid somewhere like under the bed, and then would crawl all over me in the night. So I stayed where I was and as I was alone in the house I asked for advice on Facebook and received a variety of comments, ranging from sweep it out of the house to capture it in a broccoli strainer!  In the end I sat rooted to my chair and waited for Danilo to come back from walking the dogs to dispose of the little brown furry tarantula.
Life in paradise.


  1. Wow, that's hilarious about the spider! When my wife and I were apartment shopping in the Punta Cana area we viewed a condo and as we walked up the stairs we spotted a baseball sized tarantula sitting in the widow sill. Needless to say that apartment did not pass my wife's inspection and was quickly checked off the list! I'm from West Texas, we have these things all over the place there, so they don't bother me, but screaming wives...that's just not something I'm interested in having to deal with if I can help it!

    1. Ha ha re screaming wives. I don't scream I just don't fancy them crawling all over me. Has your wife seen the snakes yet?

  2. I had my first tarantula experience while walking barefoot on the sidewalk outside my apartment. I had 6 neighbors come running after I alerted the world with my screams. They're all probably thinking "stupid gringa" to this day.

    And then there was this one time inside the washing machine...


    1. Hey ho Rita. Mind you many Dominicans aren't that keen on tarantulas either. Goodness knows what I would have done with one inside the washing machine as that would be hard to scoop out.

  3. Lindsay - I can't do you a spider story, but my snake story isn't bad. Locking our sliding glass door one night, still in my tennis clothes, I stopped with my hand halfway up and a foot below a young snake stretched eighteen inches along the sill above my head. None of the local snakes are poisonous, but the thought of even the most harmless of the beasts crawling around the house was scary enough. Cary (above) knows what I'm talking about!

    The snake watched unconcernedly while I a) thought the matter through, b) eased off a tennis shoe and c) groped for the stick we use to keep the door from opening once closed. The thinking was the hard part! In the end I flipped the beast off his perch and whacked it on the head with my shoe - and by God don't they make tennis shoes heavy, these days! Stunned, he was in no shape to fight off the fifty or sixty additional blows that rained down on him until my adrenal ran out.

    Whooh! Carried the body outside on the stick and threw it over the fence, cleaned the blood off the floor, and sat down and waited until my wife got home to hear me tell of the ferocious (four-foot long? five foot?) king cobra I had bested in mortal combat. She was pretty impressed, I can tell you.

  4. Ha ha Gordon. Shame to had to kill him though. The Haitians and Dominicans kill harmless tree snakes when I would just throw them over the fence - if I was brave enough to carry them there!

  5. Dang! Not a fan of hairy spiders ...