Saturday, April 18, 2009


Earlier this week I got a phone call from my boss. "You know [your former boss in Angola] wants you to come back to Angola for a temporary assignment. What do you think?"

Good question. 

My inital response, literally, was, "Are you for real?!!!!!"

And, then, I realized that I would have taken the assignment had it not been for a significant personal comittment in May. When I left Angola the toll of living an isolated life had been severe- that, coupled with the trauma (and I don't use that term lightly) with my exit from Angola- left me with a bad feeling. With a little bit of personal healing, I've come to think of Angola in a positive way.  The opportunity to go back for a week or two was very attractive- just enough to remind me what I loved about the place and think that the confusão is quirky and manageable. 

So, fear not. I like Angola. I hope to go back someday- just for a visit. 

In case you were wondering. 

Only in Angola

Here is an article (Portuguese only, sorry) that puts a positive spin on the intense rains and horrible road conditions in Angola. 

The article's title is "Rains Create Employment".  Basically, the rains are so heavy and the roads so terrible that entrepreneurial young people, who normally would sit around and do nothing, are carrying people across the roads on their backs for a fee. 

Fat people- don't worry! They don't care how much you weigh! They charge according to the height of the water.  A ride in water up to your elbows will cost Kz. 50, which is about US$0.66. Bags cost Kz. 10, or US$0.10. 

Conversations I Have Had: 2nd Jamaican Edition

English is the dominant language both in my home country (USA) and Jamaica. Communication shouldn't be a problem right? 

Conversation #1
Setting: Restaurant in Kingston
Background info: Ting is a Jamaican grapefruit soda

Waitress: Do do you want to drink?
Me: Diet Coke, please. 
Waitress: No, sorry. No Diet Coke. You want a Ting?
Me, repeating my earlier order: Uh, yes, I want the grilled chicken sandwich. 
Waitress: No, do you want a TING?! 

(I thought she said, "Do you want anything?" and, for some reason. completely forgotten the order.)

Conversation #2:
Setting: Department store in Kingston mall, browsing in the clothing section

Staff: You t'rough?
Me: No, I'm still looking.  Is the store closing?
Staff: Huh?
Me: Is the store closing? 
Staff, who is clearly smarter than I: No! (laughs) Are you TRUE? Are you alright, need help?

(I thought she asked if I was THROUGH and was telling me I had to leave the store. At 3 pm in the afternoon on a workday.)

Clearly I have a problem with the "th" in Jamaica. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Semana santa, Holy Week, is a big holiday in the DR (and most Catholic countries). It's when Dominicans celebrate the distillation of sugar cane into rum. Ha! I'm being facetious, although the "holy" part of semana santa seems to be an afterthought. 

Dominicans take the two day holiday (Holy Thursday and Good Friday) as an opportunity to travel and, most cases, party hard. I did have the opportunity to travel, but not party.  (I wanted it that way!)

I went to Constanza, in the central part of the country, way up in the mountains. It is truly spectacular up there and reminded me a lot of my Peace Corps site in Honduras, La Esperanza. Constanza is a nice, sleepy town with cool weather, beautiful scenery, and great agriculture.  They even had a green market! Here are a few of the highlights: 


Beautiful jacaranda tree near our hotel.

Aguas Blancas

Some amiguitos selling calla lillies on the road to Aguas Blancas. 

1. Turn in firearms at the entrance building.
2. Risk of hypothermia due to low water temperature.
3. Trash should be placed in the trashcans. 
4. Cooking on the premises is prohibited.
5. No glass bottles on the premises. 
6. No diving from the rocks on the side of the falls. 
7. No swimming in underwear. 
8. No running or playing on the premises. 
9. Immoral public acts are prohibited. 
10. Play music at a low volume. 

#s 1 and 9 are my favorite.