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Thread: Cabarete Diaries, part 2

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by frank12 View Post
    After stopping in Turks & Caicos islands and spending 3 days there drinking, eating, sleeping, drinking, and then eating some more, Tom and I rented some bicycles and explored the island. The water around Turks & Caicos is aqua green and amazing.
    I spent a semester abroad in South Caicos. Some of the best snorkling in the Caribbean because they don't fish other than spiny lobsters and conch. Only about 1500 people on the island. Saw Eagle Rays and Porcupine every day along with dozens of Parrot Fish and dozens of other species. You could jump in the water and drift down the coast for a mile or two and pop out on another beach, hike back up and do it all over again.

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  3. #22
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    I spent a semester abroad in South Caicos. Some of the best snorkling in the Caribbean because they don't fish other than spiny lobsters and conch. Only about 1500 people on the island. Saw Eagle Rays and Porcupine every day along with dozens of Parrot Fish and dozens of other species. You could jump in the water and drift down the coast for a mile or two and pop out on another beach, hike back up and do it all over again.

    ======================
    Air Florida, before it had a crash and went out of business, stopped at Grand Turk on its flights to POP. The Airport building looked more like a Ma and Pa Motel than a terminal.

    But I have heard that it is a great place to sail around and fish.

    The stories are great, Frank. Keep them coming.

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    You mean the BIG airport in the Turks. South Caicos can't handle more than about a 30 seater and they are no lights at night. Those island hoppers are only about 10ft in diameter. It's like traveling in a beer can.

    The Turks were stupid hot. 100-110 every day(sometime hotter) and only 15 inches of rain a year, mostly in the fall. We had to conserve water all the time so the showers worked with pull strings and the toilets ran on sea water.

    The Turks also used to be a transit point for the Miami coke industry. The US came in and put in radar, which put a kabosh on it. There was a crashed plane out in the bay where I was staying.

    Another issue was lobster poachers. They'd come up from the DR with Haitian crews and put the guys down in suits with hoses and weights on their feet. But if the Coast Guard came along, they'd cut the air hose and make a run for it. Meanwhile, the guys on the sea floor were in some serious trouble..

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    I share my one bedroom condo apartment with three females: my Ukrainian girlfriend whose name is Big Red; her moocher friend whose name is Hulga and a nine year old pet monkey from Russia. The pet monkey only responds to commands in Russian or a quick shot of pepper spray directly into the mouth and crotch area. The monkey is known to bite people whenever she is not-fed on time or not gotten what she wants. I call the monkey Veruca Salt — after a spoiled character in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Whenever Veruca Salt isn't happy (which is often) she screams at decibel levels so loud that any remaining fillings in one’s mouth will fall out. This is generally preceded by our ears bleeding.

    Lately, Big Red has taken to cooking non-stop. I have never seen anyone cook so much food in my life. This has made my stomach balloon disastrously from 31 inches to 41 inches in just the last nine months. Whenever Big Red isn't cooking and eating, she's dreaming about cooking and eating. Whenever she's not dreaming about cooking and eating, she is in a dead sleep. No other human can sleep as much as a Ukrainian female. I once watched Big Red out-sleep two cats, a monkey, a dog and a dead lizard in one sleeping session that stretched nearly forty eight hours. No one can out-sleep her.

    Our apartment is one bedroom and there's only one bathroom. Me, the redhead, her moocher friend and the pet monkey all sleep in one bed. Whenever the mother-in-law visits from the Ukraine we all sleep together, fighting over choice sleeping angles. We're like the four bed-ridden grandparents in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, with the whole extended family in one crowded bed.

    Because we share one bathroom, every morning there tends to be a lot of pushing and shoving, followed by fighting and biting as everyone rushes the only available toilet. One of the girls will immediately squat on the only available toilet seat while the other jumps into the shower and squats inside the bathtub — simultaneously running the water while she urinates. The pet monkey has learned (by watching the girls) to squat over the sink and run the water at the same time. If, for some reason, the sink is occupied, the monkey will scream so loud that everyone’s hair stands upright, our ears begin to bleed and then the concrete plaster on our ceiling begins to rain down. This makes everyone run for cover and protect their eardrums. I always run outdoors.

    Outside, I have found a perfect, choice spot inside some thorn bushes (with red and purple flowers) where I can squat down to relieve myself. The flowers act as camouflage. I keep a shovel leaning up against the bushes where I go to the bathroom, and use the shovel to bury my poop. Sometimes I have to fight with neighborhood feral cats for choice spots to go to the bathroom. It’s become very territorial around Cabarete.

    Frank

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    is has made my stomach balloon disastrously from 31 inches to 41 inches in just the last nine


    Might be time for another sailing trip!

    Great stories.

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    I like the bit about how Big Red can outsleep a dead lizard. I have shared quarters with two occasionally crazy women, a neat freak, and three women who spent eight hours on the phone. There was also a Jewish psyche major in Mexico who went catatonic on me for two entire days as I tried to connect with her parents in the States. I once had a pet iguana which stopped eating and then turned out to be deceased. But I never had the misfortune to share quarters with a monkey. Will Rogers claimed that he never met a man he didn't like, but I think I can honestly say that I never met a monkey that I liked. It got to where I would turn off the TV every time J. Fred Muggs would appear. J.Fred was a chimpanzee some people seem to have considered cute, but wasn't.

    There is some consolation in knowing that long after you have moved on, some plants in the area will be grateful for your fertilizing them. You are fortunate that poison ivy and poison sumac do not blight your relief station. I recall an unfortunate incident in which leaves of three (let it be) was used as a substitute for Charmin.

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    Urination, and the strategic planning of urinating, is a very important concept in our condo here in Cabarete. There are four of us living in a one bedroom condo with one toilet. In the mornings, everyone rushes to their respected areas of relief and assumes their squat-like positions. It’s a mad dash every morning to our respected positions of urination utopia. But it wasn’t always so easy. There was an evolution needed to take place…a hierarchy of power, a position of authority. There was a jockeying for dominance that needed to run its full cycle. Initially, there was a lot of kicking and shoving, biting and scratching, hair pulling and screaming…and oh yeah, a lot of crying before everyone took their respected positions behind an Alpha female hierarchy. But once that prevailed, everyone settled into their positions and assumed their places in life.

    Let me explain: there are three females and me living in a one bedroom condo with only one toilet. Basically, after the dust settled, the Alpha female dominance came shining through with a thorough ass-kicking of everyone involved. After everyone got their asses kicked, everyone learned to cower in front of the meanest, strongest, hardest biting female of the group. Meanwhile, everyone else started jockeyed for their own positions of authority and power. After another series of fighting stopped, everyone left found their respected places in the hierarchy of choice spots for urination, right behind the Alpha female.

    Basically, what transpired was this: the Alpha female, of course, got the only available toilet; the second female--behind the Alpha--took over the shower drain; the smallest female--the nine year old monkey—took to climbing on top the sink and squatting over the sink in a 45 degree stance while simultaneously running the water—she learned that from the Alpha female. I learned to walk out outside and assume my position behind some bushes. However, occasionally--every now and then--there is construction going on outside and I have to go into the kitchen and use the kitchen sink to urinate in—simultaneously running the water--the monkey taught me that.

    As expected, after a couple years of this—three to be precise--the girls wanted to move into a bigger place. The girls wanted their individual bedrooms, the girls wanted their own bathrooms. I understand all this, but the extra cost did not justify the benefits. In my opinion, the extra $200 to $300 US dollars a month just to have another bathroom and another bedroom is just a waste of money….money that is much better used on groceries and food. We like to eat and travel. doesn’t it make more sense to spend the money on food and gas and plane tickets? Isn’t the money better used on seeing new places and eating better food? Why sacrifice a better quality of life for aesthetic reasons? What the hell does aesthetic do for the stomach, for the quality of life? Aesthetic doesn’t put food on the table, shoes on your feet, pampers for the monkey. It’s just a stupid thing that women get wrapped into.

    Women are an enigma when it comes to aesthetics; they want a bigger place, nicer furniture, better curtains, a bigger yard, a newer car, a bigger diamond, more toilets, and more pets. Who needs more pets? We already have a pet. We can hardly take care of the nine year old pet monkey that we have. And who needs more toilets when we have so many sinks.

    Women are a paradox. They love aesthetics, but hate practicality. They love money, but don’t appreciate the hard, sweat & toil required to make it. The thing about women is this: they always want nicer things…more expensive things. I understand this. I’m surrounded by this kind of thinking with the Dominicans I work with; they want the newest Iphone (despite not using 99% of the stuff on the old Iphone), the newest motorcycle (despite not being pro-active with the one they got), they want a bigger car (but only really need a passola), a bigger house, bigger nails, bigger hair, bigger boobs, and a bigger penis. I can’t relate to this…ok, maybe the last thing. But look, I’m happy with what little I got. I don’t mind sleeping three to a bed and peeing in the sink. It’s worked this long without hitch. What could go wrong? Why do things need to be bigger, better, and newer, when what we already got is working?

    If there is one thing I would like to instill in women today…it would be this: Be happy with what you got, because there are a lot of people out there who don’t have a sink or a bathtub to urinate in.

    Frank

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  15. #28
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    I was sitting at the bar last week in Cabarete speaking to the 6’6 new York cop and something occurred to me in the middle of the conversation. He was my brother. Well, that’s not entirely true. He wasn’t my brother. But he reminded me of my brother in so many ways.

    One of the earliest memories of my brother, papin, was when he came home from school and was standing in the living room dressed in full high school football gear--shoulder pads, helmet, jersey, and cleats. He stood in the doorway—all 225lbs of him--looking like he was ready to tackle my Dominican grandmother. She was visiting from Bonao, and it was her first time in America.

    It had been seven months since my brother arrived to America. He entered high school near our house after completing a 6 month intensive English language course. In high school, things were not going so well. Despite five days of football practice, he had failed to remember play calls and football signals. Academically, his grades were great, but his acclimation to American football was largely heading in the wrong direction despite being an almost perfect replica of Christian Okoye.

    Papin knew that if he did not memorize the play calls during football practice, he would lose the opportunity to play American football. If he failed to learn the “play calls,” he would be dismissed from the football team altogether, quashing perhaps his best shot at an unlikely scholarship to Ohio State University. Suddenly, my brother’s hopes for supporting a family in two different countries, and for paying down his colmado loans back in Bonao, and keeping his university hopes alive, all hinged on memorizing the football play calls.

    Papin, who was 16 at the time, was 225lbs, and had been running and playing sports his entire life up in the mountains of Bonao. But he had never heard of American football before being pushed into it by his high school counselor. Unfortunately, he was proving largely immune to play calls. He said, “Just give me the damn football and let me run with it!” He was 225lbs and athletic, but he lacked the fluid coordination of moving from left to right and switching on the fly to avoid being tackled. He also sometimes struggled to remember to put his mouth piece into his mouth. He also confused sequences of plays, paused inexplicably before taking off, and sometimes ran in the opposite direction on the football field, scoring for the other team.

    His offensive coach, positioned directly behind him, was a former university football defensive-end player named Josey Joseph; he grew so frustrated that he literally threw up his hands and said, “Papin, you are a Dominican hillbilly; you cannot even follow a simple instruction.” Then added, “Look, you have to run to the end of the field and cross the last line in order to score a touchdown; you cannot run out of bounds and get a drink of water and then come back in bounds. That is illegal. Do you even understand English?”

    A more seasoned offensive coordinator, Coach Matt, sensed that Papin and Josey needed a break from each other and suggested he give it a try. With Matt taking over instruction, Papin could maybe grasp the play calls. Matt had developed an easy rapport with Papin over the months of him trying to acclimate to American football, and he figured a familiar touch might help. He started feeding him dog biscuits and then spoke to him in a calm, tranquil voice.

    “Look, Papin, you chased horses and kangaroos, right?” he began in his Alabama Hee-Haw southern accent.

    Papin smiled. The part about the horses was right, but he was too preoccupied to explain that there are no kangaroos in the Dominican Republic. “Yes, sir,” he said.

    “Ok,” Coach Matt cocked his head 45 degrees, “You’re a large guy, you’re very fast, and you run over people…football will seem easy by comparison to the Dominican Kangaroos that you chased.”

    Papin realized that Coach Matt had a point. He certainly had overcome a lot more back in the mountains of Bonao. There was times when he chased horses for fun; there was the time our grandfather died and he needed to run into town—crossing two rivers Juno & Blanco, in order to purchase a casket and carry it back up to the campo on his back; there was the hard work of milking cows every morning at 5:30am; there was the barefoot trek to school every day—including disrobing to cross the rivers--along with hundreds of other poverty stricken Dominicans living up in the mountains surrounding Bonao; there was the loss of friends to hurricanes and storms that swelled the rivers; he had to jump into the rivers and swim to retrieve their bodies—in the process trying to resuscitate them with CPR—which involved turned them upside down and shaking them violently or jumping up and down on their rib cage if that did not work; there was the near starvation so intense that he had to eat cassava (yucca bread) seven days a week and drink his own urine. How hard could American Football be?

    Papin has had a crazy trajectory in life before ever coming to America. He lost track of his mother for several years after strife in the DR forced her back across the border to Haiti. At the age of 11, he had to escape another hurricane, this time hiking up into the mountains of Masipedro at night to a campo, where he waited out the swelling of the river by eating cow feces for 2 days until the river swelling went down. In 1967, after the United States invaded the island, he and some other cousins of ours traveled to La Vega hoping to get a glimpse of an American tank or fighter jet. No such luck.

    Suddenly, at the age of 14, my father sent for him and he was sent to Santo Domingo. For the first time in his life, he saw a city bigger than the 15,000 population of Bonao. From SD, he was taken to the airport with his new passport.

    He arrived at age 14 with one change of clothes, some dried Bacalao, and some fried plantains in his pockets. In America he confronted an alien world where toilets flushed and electricity turned on with a turn of a switch. He had never seen or heard of a microwave oven, a dishwasher, a washing machine or a dryer. He had never experienced hot water or seen a hot water tank. He had never seen snow. He was unemployed and unemployable. He had an impenetrable accent barely recognizable as English.

    It did not take long for Papin to realize that the streets of America were not paved with gold. “All I knew was that back in Bonao, nobody had flushing toilets or electricity.”

    This new life would require new thinking. There was no such thing as cars and women having sex in the backseat back in his village. All he knew about sex was what he experienced with his Dominican friends—who like him--milked cows and had sex with farm animals.

    In Ohio, Papin felt he had been given a second chance in life. He fully bought into the American dream. He worked the evening shift at the corner store, stocking food, unpacking produce, and flirting with American girls; he tried to have sex with them in the walk-in cooler. The store owner had to repeatedly warm him of this danger: Frostbite to the extremities.

    During the day, he cut grass, raked leaves, shoveled snow. He had never seen so much money and opportunity in his life. He had never made so much money--sometimes $15 dollars a day. He slept no more than a few hours a night, studying whenever he could and working as much as possible. Once, regrettably, he told the football team and coaches he had sex with horses and a few donkeys, and oh…one mule. The stigmatism followed him throughout his high school and college years. When people asked. “What was it like to have sex with a horse? He laughed and said—with no sense of irony, “I like it because the horse cannot get pregnant.”

    Surely, he thought, “people understand that sex with a horse in the campo is no big deal. It’s what you do before you get a girlfriend.” He didn’t understand stigmatization and labels follow you for life. Fortunately, he was immune to criticism. Like past generations of immigrants, he dreamed that a football scholarship would provide a way out of poverty. After escaping one of the most backwards regions on the planet: Bonao 1973, he aspired to walk the football fields of the Ohio State University as the very embodiment of American football star.

    But he needed to learn the play calls first. Without understanding the plays, he would not understand the game. “I don’t understand football, Coach Matt.”

    “Just relax and focus,” he said. “Look straight ahead, but also have peripheral vision of what’s going on around you.”

    “Is that all?” he asked.

    “Yes, Papin, that’s all,” he reassured him. “Just try and run in the right direction down the field.”

    I first met my brother, Papin, in 1969, after burning down my grandfather’s tobacco farm in Bonao. The fire made the New York Times. He had one year’s worth of tobacco dying in a dozen corrugated tin shelters—built low to the ground. One caught the other on fire, and it spread like a line of Dominoes being knocked over.

    Four years after Papin’s arrival, he was a football star. One night, Papin and my father showed up at our house with about ten or eleven huge Canadian Geese, a half-dozen turtles, some ducks, and some catfish. They were out in our garage. My mother sent me out to see what they were doing. When I walked into the garage, my father had a huge pot of water boiling on a make-shift stove and was chopping onions and carrots. My brother was on the floor plucking feathers like mad. It seemed lost on these two Dominican Hillbillies that it was a Federal offense to kill migratory geese and bring them home to eat. But for Dominicans to see so much food just standing around in a state park waiting to be eaten…this was incredulous, it was torture. It was blasphemous.

    The animals were just waiting to be taken home to be eaten. This is how Dominicans think and see the world. It’s how all third world camposinos see the world. This was 1973.

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  17. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMB773 View Post
    A 6'6 African American cop from NYC paid 2,500USD for putting some Dominican in the headlock???

    Only Frank12!!!
    And you wonder how most of us know you know nothing of what you speak in relation to DR?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMB773 View Post
    Wait now somebody stole his stuff and he had to pay to get his own stuff back????

    I think this NYC cop should stay in the "Big Apple" if people in DR is using him as a get rich scheme.
    And you would have done ........... Exactly? Come on, make me smile!

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