Saturday, August 30, 2014

Excuses, excuses

Again too much time has gone by since I blogged and my only excuse has been I have been busy. So why, you may ask yourself and how can one be too busy to write a little blog?

Well, a variety of reasons.  Firstly Danilo has decided to run yet again for mayor of where we used to live. Hey ho. Apparently this time it will be different. We will see.

What that means is that he is away back there a lot, which means I have to do everything here on my own as we usually share the household and animal tasks between us.

So a typical day now starts with waking at 3 am when the cocks all crow, then they shut up after 10 minutes so it is back to blissful sleep until they start again at 5 am and keep going for two hours. Add to that noise, the dogs scratching at the door to get in, the cats miaowing to be fed, and it becomes a total waste of time to try and sleep.

So up I get and firstly let the dogs out to pee. Pandora one of the 8 month old puppies is on heat, so she has to be tied up on a long tie thingy at the back and her brother and father out the front, so there is no chance of hanky panky. As the father is a husky and Panda and Pandora half huskies, they don’t bark they howl and given that the boys want nooky they howl and howl and howl on and off all day long. I wish there was a vet here so we could get them fixed.

Pandora on the right and Panda the left

At night Panda is shut in the dog house with his dad and Pandora upstairs. She used to be shut in downstairs but Panda managed to jump out of the dog house onto the balcony, open the patio doors and get in. When Danilo returned after I had had a sleepless night when Panda kept escaping and howling on the balcony, he said he would fix it. I expected him to nail more wood on top to make the railing higher. What a surprise it didn't  quite happen like that and instead I got a Danilo special Dominican solution. It works anyway although there is now a lack of chairs to sit on.

So back to the morning routine and once the dogs are sorted, then it is time for the puppies. Meg had 9 pups which are all 5 weeks old now.

Again they make lots of noise, want lots of food and take up more time.

Once pups and dogs and cats are sorted, it is time to sort the chickens. They are spread around in four different homes, and each coop needs cleaning, and corn and water giving.

Then it is time to get down to work. As I mentioned, I lost my main job, but I have managed to find a job writing articles for an American. This pays one cent a word. The more I write the more I earn and everyday he sends me a list of things to do and they are all on a deadline so it is literally nose to the grindstone and takes around 10 hours a day, seven days a week.  I have to write in American English as well.  It is hard work and allows little time for anything else but it does keep the wolf from the door.

In addition, DRsisterhood is going well, so I have investigations and work to do for the site members as well as chatting to them on a daily basis. I am helping someone find a house here, providing information on the labour laws to another, helping another sort a Dominican birth certificate, another get their Dominican identity card and lots more.

As well as all that, the housework has to be done, daily sweeping, mopping, cooking, washing up before crawling into bed by 8 pm, ready to do it all again the next day.

I know it is a bit of a long winded excuse for not blogging – but it’s the truth!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Visitors been and gone

So the house was almost clean and there was one day to go until the visitors arrived.It was mid afternoon and  I was busy working, in my scruffy work clothes and hadn't given a thought as to what to have for dinner that night. Suddenly the dogs started barking and there was a big white minivan taxi at the gate. My brain started whirring, who was it and then they appeared. The visitors, a day early, to surprise me. Don't you just hate it when people do that?  I thought I had the day wrong at first until they yelled surprise! A chicken had to be taken out of the freezer to defrost, Chivirico rushed upstairs to shower and change, and I frantically tried to get my days work finished.

They arrived laden with goodies, such as clothes, chocolate, a new hammock, basmati rice, and even real American steak which we barbecued. It was absolutely gorgeous.

The first outing was to the local river together with a picnic.

It is a beautiful quiet spot, as long as you go during the week as it is invaded at weekends. We had it to ourselves for a while, but even mid week a massive group of beer and rum drinking Dominicans arrived and all piled into the river fully clothed - as they do. Chivirico adored it of course.

The highlight of the week was to go to a concert featuring three top Dominican bands. Although I have seen many smaller bands since I have been here, I have never been to a proper concert. The first issue with them is the time. They start late, and I mean really late. We didn't leave the house until 11 pm, just as I was ready for bed. The first artist was a typical merengue group - El Prodigio and he came on at about midnight.

I was expecting it to be loud but not that loud. Your whole body vibrated from the inside out with the base as if your heart was about to explode. A most peculiar feeling but I had to get used to it as it went on for hours. It didn't help as we were close to the stage which meant a great view, but also meant we were only a few feet from the speakers. El Prodigio was good and played for about an hour or so and then there was a short break and on came Fernando Villalona who is apparently also very famous and also merengue. I was told he was also very rich so I don't understand why he couldn't afford decent clothes.

Finally, the one I had been waiting for, Zacarias Ferreira, whose music I love. He came on stage at 3.30 in the morning. The trouble was, it was so late that people started to leave and by the time he finished at gone 5 am, there were only a few people left and the atmosphere, which had been amazing, was non existent.

We arrived home as dawn was breaking and the bloody cocks were crowing. It has been so long since I have been up all night not sure I would do it again. The post concert tiredness took a few days to go away and the visitors had to spend the rest of their stay having afternoon snoozes. Lightweights.

Other excursions happened during the week such as trips to local towns, and Chivirico had to go back to the fire station of course.

They left last Tuesday and life has quickly returned to normal. The visitors calendar is now empty until October, but the fridge is still stocked with chocolate which is well hidden behind a packet of frozen sprouts.

We are still waiting for rain, Tropical Storm Bertha which was supposed to hit us the night of the concert, didn't arrive and as I type this she is battering the UK instead. It was amazing to take my daily look at the hurricane warning websites and see this:

It makes a change to see hurricanes going from west to east rather than vice versa!