Well, except for not being able to speak even basic Spanish, I kind of think I like the Dominican Republic! It is bringing back to me those early memories of being in Haiti and being unable to communicate with anyone for any reason without a lot of hand waving, pointing, and shrugging of the shoulders! Oh, wait a minute. I do that NOW!
We went to see the neurosurgeon this morning and was told to be there at 9 AM. He had surgery and so finally at 10:30 AM, he stopped by his office to let us know that he would be back as soon as he saw the rest of his surgical patients. He came finally at a little after 11 AM and was so nice. His name is Dr. Lozada and he speaks English! He wants to do another MRI on Frantina and so he sent us to have it done at the “Health Plaza” which was across town. By the time we left his office, it was after noon, so we decided to stop for lunch. What should be on the street that we were using to go to the Imaging Center? A TGI Friday’s! We passed a McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Outback, and a Pizza Hut to get there!!! Like I said…I could really get used to being in Santo Domingo! Of course, my diet isn’t going to go very well staying in a hotel and eating at American restaurants! Men can fly to the moon, but they can’t invent a pill to reverse the affects of high calorie food????? Doesn’t seem fair….
Oh, TGI Friday’s was in a great mall. It had great stores, but they were a little pricey for us to shop in them! Our waiter spoke a little bit of “tourist” English. So we got along well. As we were leaving our parking lot, the man taking our money said to us, “vingt cinq pesos”. We said” vingt cinq”? Oh, my goodness, you are speaking CREOLE! We chatted for a few minutes. It was our first Haitian to speak to us in Santo Domingo! He had noted our “HAITI” license plates on the car. Made us feel like we were home for a second there and gave our “culture shocked” bodies a deep breath of Haiti!!
I am saying “Merci Gracias” to everyone! They look at me so strangely. I also speak Creole to everyone. I can’t help it. They speak a foreign language, I speak a foreign language too. So maybe they will understand me! But none of them do. Poor Vivianne, everyone is speaking Spanish to her and can’t believe that she can’t understand them! Pastor Brandon told me that I would try to speak Creole to everyone and he is so right!
At the Medical Center, many of the doctors speak English.. But of course, not the one we had to see! So he kept having to find people to translate for us. Finally, I pulled out my phone and turned the translator on. I spoke into it and it translated and he read it and then he spoke into it and gave it back to me! He loved the program and we had fun talking back and forth! Sometimes, it translates funny things that you really didn’t say, but if spoken slowly, it is pretty good.
Because Frantina cannot have anything to eat before her MRI, she is scheduled to have it done on Thursday morning at 7 AM. This Medical Center is HUGE and we had to walk a long way. Right after we were there today, we went out and bought a stroller! Vivianne had to carry Frantina the whole time. She screamed if Patrick tried to do anything with her although she loved to make big eyes at him and called out to him from time to time to look at her.
Patrick had visited a store called JUMBO superstore. It has everything for sale, kind of like a Wal-Mart! I was in love as soon as I walked in the door! They had every size of plastic container that you could think of. I bought several large containers that I can put our bread and rolls in to keep them from drying out back in Haiti. I want to bring them back from the USA every time I go, but they take up way to much space in my luggage! It was not expensive either compared to Haitian prices. In fact, they were cheap compared to Haiti! We also found a nice umbrella folding stroller that can recline since she cannot sit up for very long. I bought some food for her, sweat shirt for Vivianne since she’s freezing over here in the hotel, and some other odds and ends. Why can’t Haiti have a store like this where things are priced reasonably??
I also learned that when the cashier points at the baby and says “???????????”, you need to take a long hard look at the baby!!! She said it three times and we never did understand what she was trying to say! I should have pulled out the translator, but I didn’t think I needed to, but I should have! When Vivianne, got to the car, she realized that Frantina had lost one of her sandals in the store! We looked everywhere and finally went and bought another pair of shoes for her! We went to the same cashier to buy them and she said “????????” again, but this time, I knew she was saying “I told you she was missing a shoe and you needed to go look for it!!!” So I said into my translator, “We lost it in the store”, but the translator said, “We threw it out the door!” She looked at me very strangely and then I realized what it thought I said and said it again and showed it to her and she just shook her head!
When we left there, we took the “scenic” route back to the hotel. Which means we got lost and got to see the National Palace and other quaint Dominican sites! All I can say is thank goodness for Google maps! Even I might know my way around Santo Domingo after a week!
I am overwhelmed by the differences between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Everything is orderly over here, clean, roads are in good repair, the roads are wide and people actually follow road rules! Just as I think that things are so different, we meet a motorbike coming the wrong way down a one way street or a car going the wrong way down the street so they can turn in one block down a street because it is too far going around the correct way! Then Patrick and I both said, “no, we are still in the Caribbean!”
Oh, I have to tell you what the translator gave me when I was trying out how to say the number FOUR. I didn’t know how to say four in Spanish. I typed into the translator and it said “4”! I did it again and put “4” this time and it gave me “4” again! So I just held up 4 fingers and the person understood!
Posted on Wed, January 25, 2012