Friday, May 24, 2013

Interesting visitors and Sankies exposed


I had an American friend visiting over the weekend which was fabulous. We drove to Santiago airport to pick her up, where she was due to arrive on a plane from Punta Cana. They told her it would be a 19 seater – err Dominican exaggeration at its best.


The loudspeaker system announced that the plane had landed at 3.15, right on time, so we went to Arrivals to wait. By 4.15 still no sign of her, and only one other person waiting at Arrivals, so we asked and a nice man said that domestic flights came into another terminal. Back to the car and we drove at top speed to the supposed other terminal, who told us it was only used for private planes and not domestic ones. Back in the car and back to general Arrivals. Nada. I then went to information and asked. No, said the lady, the plane hadn’t landed yet and I was silly to listen to the loud speaker as it was a recording. They had one for each day which announced when the planes landed according to the timetable, it had nothing whatsoever to do with when they actually landed. You have to laugh. She said they couldn't afford a live person to man the public announcement system. As I was speaking to her the control tower told her over the radio that the plane had now landed, so we shortly met up and all was well.
A fabulous weekend was had by all, and Chivirico was especially enthralled with his baseball glove and all the books and flash cards she bought him in English and Spanish.


She left on Monday and my computer left for hospital and returned on Tuesday night. I had no idea what to do with myself so planted more seeds – courgettes, strawberries, squash, lettuce, cucumbers and more corn, and am eagerly awaiting their appearance.

I have had a few strange visitors at the gate this week. Firstly there was the electricity man. Husband went off to town to pay the bill and around 30 minutes later there was an electricity man at the gate with a clipboard. He said we had complained about the bill. I was bemused as I said we had no bill, but husband had gone to pay it. He said that yes, when husband saw bill he complained. The office rang him and so he was here to investigate. I was gobsmacked with the speed of the service, but couldn't tell him how much the bill was as husband wasn’t back yet. Not to worry, he said, I just had to tell him how many and what type of electrical items were in the house and he could estimate the bill. At that stage, Hector, who was also at the gate was looking very concerned as he knew that English women don’t lie. Luckily the man wouldn't come into the house as the dogs had their mean faces on.
I of course, didn't lie at all, I just had a touch of amnesia. I mentioned the washing machine, which he assumed was a posh American washer dryer, but it is a Dominican twin tub.


I mentioned the ‘small’ fridge and my laptop. I forgot the freezer and hot water heater. And when asked if we had a stereo system I could truthfully say no as we don’t – almost unheard of for a Dominican household. Hector looked very relieved, husband appeared and said he had complained as the bill was nearly US$100, and last month it was only US$50, so off they went to check the meter. No idea what the bill will end up being but I have now banned everyone from having hot showers apart from me.

The second visitor we had at the gate was a couple of days ago, from the Policlinic. It appears that this is like a General Practitioner’s surgery, and the lady on the motorbike was the doctor. They had heard we were new in the area and she came to register us. Asked about any illnesses, and told me that my blood pressure pills were free at the clinic. They have surgeries Monday to Friday 8 till 12 and everything is free including all medicines. They also do basic blood tests, TB tests and smears. She filled in a chart, and said she would keep a note of everything on my chart, asked me to go in to be weighed, have blood pressure checked etc. Again, totally amazing. I had no idea that sort of service exists here, but apparently it is common in the countryside.


This week has also been busy with the Sanky investigation service we offer. The Sankies do not seem to realize that the Junta has a new system, and instead of marriages just being registered locally in a book in the local office, they are now kept centrally and computerised.



Previously they would marry a foreign lady who would return home and then should the relationship not work out, or should they not get a visa, then they would just marry another one. I have had two Sankies over the last month who proposed marriage to their foreign girlfriends, only for me to find out that they are already married to other foreign ladies and as those marriages are registered centrally with the Junta they cannot remarry until divorced. Pain caused in the short term to two lovely ladies, but saving much heartache in the long run.

15 comments:

  1. Electricity man seems more like a person who would like to know what you have in the house so he can return one day....

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    1. Good point. When there was the census here they asked about appliances and no one would tell them as they thought their electricity bills would go up. It is standard practice here when you take out an electricity contract for them to ask what appliances you had. Faith in the meter - not!

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  2. Pobres chicas, pero me alegro. Y ojal√° que sus "esposas" los echen a patadas por... ahg, que me da rabia ese tipo de cosas.

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    1. Yo tambien. Estos especios de hombres estan mal por eso pays tan bonito!

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  3. Lindsay, funny story about the electricity. I have solar panels, and last month I got a bill for RD$15,000, which is very high considering I generate most of my own power. On closer examination it appears that they have billed me for all the electricity they have already charged me for (and I have paid for) since November. I sent Freddy to investigate, he went to the office and the guy said that they didn't really understand how to bill for solar panels, but he would check with the "engineer" and come back. 30 minutes later he appeared with my "updated" bill which is now zero. Evidently I have generated exactly the same amount of electricity that I have used. Exactly. How spooky is that? Next month I will inevitably get a huge bill. The guy said "yes this was possible" but the answer is to come to the office, he will talk to the engineer and they will adjust the bill. Pick a number, any number...

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    1. I have no idea what will happen with my bill. We had to pay half, but I am sure it will go down as we don't play Dominican music at full blast 24 hours a day!
      I need to get solar panels but I am sure that will blow their campo minds.

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  4. Funny, so if you don't complain you just pay more...
    What wonderful service from the GP clinic, door to door visits!

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    1. Yes Sami I was amazed by the door to door visits!

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  5. Hello Lindsay, I see your article regarding electric bill in DR. I don't like the Dominican Electric Company Representatives to inquire with new and current customers about their applicances in homes as similar as the Internal Revenue Service under the United States Treasury Department, Tax Representatives came to inquire the Taxpayers about their applicances in homes around 1950's. Then, Tax Representatives no longer came to inquire over the homeowners today.

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  6. Do you run a private sanky investigation company? Or do you work with the Junta? Sounds Interesting either way. I smell another book!

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    1. Yes I too smell another book - but only a whiff at the moment. And yes I run a sanky investigation service, but only part time!

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  7. How much do you charge for a Sanky investigation service? I'm sure that I can do that for ppl with only using the internet. I found out a lot about my x boyfriend this way, including the fb of his new "fiance."

    Also, I had no idea a Dominican man is able to be married to more than one foreigner at the same time.

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    1. Previously there was no central database of births marriages and deaths, and the marriages were only recorded in a book at the individual Junta offices. So people could marry several times in different offices. Now they are all kept centrally. Yes you can find out a lot on line,but not everything. I only charge for what it costs me - copies of birth marriage death certificates etc. but each person requires something different.

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    2. Is this recent? Maybe that's why the family, not him, kept asking me if I'm going to marry him? Is that normal for the family to pressure and want marriage for the Dominican man and his foreign girlfriend? I thought they just want him to get a visa, didn't matter with who.

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    3. Maybe I can help with the online spying part?

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