Monday, March 2, 2009

Yeah Man (Ya Mon)

The Dominicans are a warm, friendly, so-be-it crowd. It is quite amazing to walk down the street and have everyone look at you and say, "Good Morning". The Americans and Brits avert their eyes as you pass them by. How can they resist the pull of a well meaning greeting? This morning I said, "Good Afternoon" to a young mother and her 4 year old. The child didn't answer me and the mother yanked her arm and said, "Say 'good afternoon' to the lady" Which the child promply did. I love it when the children from school call me from across the street or from their balcony, "Hello Miss Marian".

Coconut ice cream is really good! I bought 3 mangoes for $1. Grapefruit are as big as footballs, lemons are the size of baseballs.

Douglas Bay Beach, a very nice little beach that I used to visit often last trip has disappeared. Hurricane Omar plus a sea surge took it away and replaced it with stones. They have their own beauty to be sure, but that little private beach was nice!

Most of the Dominicans are devout R. Catholics and there is much activity around the church, especially that this is the season of Lent. The Anglicans have a strong but small community and a healthy youth group, but no priest. The Pentecostals are in full evidence.

There are 2 main cities, Roseau, the capital and Portsmouth, where I am. They are about 20 miles apart, but it takes an hour and 15 minutes to travel between the two. Roads are very narrow, convoluted and mountainous. Dominicans are very fast dare devil drivers. There are no street stop signs, and there are no traffic lights. Since there are also no sidewalks people walk in the road. Lots of honking, loud music and leaning out the window yelling "Hey Mon" at each other. Apart from this, I feel quite safe walking around.

I should mention the post office. They seem to keep it a secret. The entrance is not marked and is a heavy steel door at the back of a building. You'd never know. You could be standing in front of it asking for directions to the post office. And they are clearly not concerned about accessiblity. This morning I carried some parcels up the many steps into the post office proper for an old lady with a swollen knee who was struggling. They close for lunch. You can only post at the post office, and there is no delivery. It takes ages for a letter to arrive home. If I send a letter or postcard the first week I am here it takes a minimum of three weeks to get to Canada. I don't think we can lay this one at the feet of Canada Post!

None of this is complaining believe me. I love it here. I'm happy to be here. I'm at home here.

1 comment:

Taf said...

Canadians avert their eyes as well - or at least Quebecers do. I think it would be nice to be more friendly.

And I would mch rather be in Dominica with you than here in Montreal with the cold and grey and ice!

Love reading your updates. thanks for posting them!