demonic horses and placid beaches

march 16

i’m sitting by a river at Rancho Wendy in the Dominican Republic. the air is heavy with heat and the smell of fruit. palm trees are everywhere. this afternoon we’re going on a horseback ride. tomorrow i think we’ll be renting a motorcycle and scooting around on back roads. the countryside is freckled with tiny villages. the buildings are made of cement, painted in bright pastel colours which detract from the garbage littering the streets. everywhere, everyone is just sitting. seemingly waiting for something to happen. the children run around half-naked with the chickens. dogs stick out starved heads from gates and stare with haunted eyes. barbed wire-strands fence off lonely cows who moo at the lush surroundings. everything is a million shades of green. so alive. fall never comes to this jungle land.

this morning we went for a walk across a bridge made of bamboo. trent calls bamboo “nature’s steel tresses” because it’s so strong and hardy. our room is nothing much-just a concrete pad with a large bunk bed and a TV whose sound is warped, but that’s okay. we’re planning to spend most of our time outside, anyway.

there are so many bright flowers-pink, yellow and red. bananas grow in thick green bunches. horses and geckos show up sporadically. it’s a whole new world.

the trip here was really hard-in total, it took 20 hours of airplane rides, bus rides and taxi. we’re in a very remote untouched part of the dominican, outside of ‘bonao’.

a rooster woke us up this morning, and he’s still awake. when we were asked what we wanted for lunch, trent said “rooster.” 🙂 i don’t think they found it very funny.

i feel strange, like i don’t know what to do with myself. i’m not good at sitting and “being” but that’s what they do here. they sit. and they are.

most people just stare, or ignore our white selves. one guy called out ‘hey you! how are you?’ trent loves that. he wishes more people would do that.

i want to take pictures of the adorable children with their brown bums and bellies sticking out. but i won’t unless i’m far away, because i think that’s intrusive. that’s why they just stare at us, i believe–or turn away… because we’re making an object, a post-card, out of their very real existence. and no matter how many ‘ola’s we say, or smiles we flash, in a few days we’ll be gone back to our fancy lives.

march 17

so much has happened. trent got thrown from a demonic horse (after being forced through an unyielding grove of trees) and his neck and arms are sliced up and bloody. he’s got a very good attitude about it though. yesterday afternoon we rented a motorbike and took it up the mountain. the bike jerked to a stop and i flung down my legs only to burn one of them on the sizzling hot muffler. THEN, while we were sleeping, our bed snapped, breaking in two (making us feel indecently obese), so we were given another bedroom. it’s been a whirlwind of bad omens, if we were to believe in those.

today we went up on a five-hour trek through villages tangled throughout the mountain.we swam in the many waterfalls and forged rivers. it was fun, but i’m oh-so-tired. the heat feels like two sweaty arms wrapped around my face. when we got back we had a lovely ‘siesta’ and now we’re sitting by the stream, awaiting supper.

it really cools off here in the evenings–and the bugs come. a choir of bugs serenading us from the forest. they sound like an electric current. and every night, around midnight, the bug-sounds fade and the rain starts. as if on cue.

today we tried three kinds of fruit. our guide (a young boy) climbed random trees and picked them for us. one isn’t ripe yet. the other, cracked open, is filled with sweet milky seeds which you suck like candy. it’s called “cacow”. the other, “guanabana” or something like that, has a sweet meaty-white flesh which you pull off like taffy. it melts on your tongue. every morning we eat fresh bananas for breakfast (picked locally–you can see trucks stacked high with bright green bananas zooming down the highway, no doubt to be sold in our grocery stores the next day).

march 19

well, to say “so much has happened” yet again would seem redundant but true. we are now lying on white sandy beaches studded with palm trees, listening to ocean waves crash against the shore. it’s quite idyllic–this place called San Pedro.

we arrived yesterday via motorcycle taxis. we arrived after waking up to torrents of rain drenching our spirits. we arrived after trent decided to get me away from the ranch with its enormous spiders and sewer-smells. (don’t get me wrong–the ranch had its moments. but they had passed. :))

we almost didn’t make it. trent realized he’d lost his wallet after getting off the bus at san pedro. he took a motorcycle taxi, caught up with the bus, and jumped on. he still couldn’t find it. then the taxi driver, who was helping him look, noticed a man had it hiding under his foot. he’d been trying to steal it! meanwhile, i was standing guard over our luggage at the corner of the road, being “baby’d” by a group of muchachos who kissed my hand and called themselves “Steven Segal.” 🙂

eventually we got on the motorcycle taxis with all our stuff and took off for “Fior Di Loto”–a lovely little Indian place with lots of colourful pillows, large sun terraces, quaint rooms, yoga and checkerboards. only $25/night, and it’s 100 metres from the ocean!

we plan to spend the next two days lying lobster-like on the sand until we need to go home. this morning we came across a lovely dinette on the beach where the woman (who’s from sweden) called us her “dear little friends” and made us eggs with tomato and onion.

and now, we lie, listening to the roar of unhappy waves and feeling content, at last.

march 20

this morning we’re lying in the shade. we plan to lie here all day, having taken the term “lobster-like” literally yesterday and burning our skin orange (save for random patches where we splattered sunscreen in an hurry). so in truth, we look like lobsters with chicken pox.

the breeze is a cool kiss on our tormented skin. we’re able to appreciate the frothing waves from a bit of a distance–versus yesterday, in which we spent six hours hiking the beach, our toes in the water, oblivious to the damage. we passed by huge, towering resorts; saw tourists doing touristy things, and ate lunch at an over-priced Italian cafe. then, at 3 pm when we’d decided we were ever thankful for our quiet, unelegant side of the beach and made our way ‘home’ to Fior di Loto, only then did we feel the burn. (which would later turn, for me, into into a fitful night of chills and hot flashes). needless to say i’m slathered white in sunscreen and glued to the forgiving shade.

trent plans to go snorkeling. i plan to watch. then it’s home in the morning (after another final breakfast at the lovely dinette).

(the above is taken from excerpts of a letter written to a friend)


two videos:


1 Comment

  1. Amy Pearl said,

    March 23, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I enjoyed your pics on facebook too!! You both look very peaceful and happy – and what an adventure!! I’m glad that you can find those times together – it’s so important in these times =) They give you “new fabric” to hold onto … Have a wonderful week! I love you too =)

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