Published: September 13th 2005September 13th 2005
Today after class the other girls in Spanish 2 and I went to Puerto Plata to have a look. Cabarete is starting to get pretty small and we felt we needed a change of scenery. And to get a hold of shoes for surfing. Puerto Plata is a larger town not far from Cabarete and we got there by the local bus, which is actually a minibus with room for ten people not including the driver. But the traffic regulations are apparently not that strict in the Caribbean - we were 21 or 22 people sitting on each other with the “hombrador” (or something like that - the guy who made sure people got on and off and sold the tickets) hanging out the door, knocking on the roof each time someone wanted to get off. We four were crammed into a little space most probably just on top of the engine. Our bottoms felt pretty hot once we finally got there… It’s always interesting to experience different means of transportation. If you’re not crammed into a minibus you’re sitting behind some guy on a moped that’s older than the two of you together. Or rolling around on the
back of pickup truck in 130 km/h (= 80 mph).
Anyway - Puerto Plata felt pretty dead to me. We got lost in the streets which all looked the same. Old, tired-looking houses, dirty sidewalks and shabby backstreets. There were lots of so called guides who were more than happy to show you all the tourist shops. We had made up our minds to only speak Spanish but it was quite frustrating, because even though we asked in Spanish people would sometimes answer in English all the same. But I think we did pretty well - we tried our best…
This weekend we went surfing and it was amazingly fun! I’ve never done it before and I actually thought it was more difficult than it was. Maybe it’s because people have been telling me that it’s so hard. I got up on the first day but we got a lot of help the first few times. The guys would hold our boards and send us off on the waves. It’s an incredible feeling to soar on the waves like that - I never imagined you could get such speed from the wave. And it’s especially wonderful the first
time you take your own wave. But it’s hard work to paddle, paddle, paddle with the waves hitting your face again and again. It sometimes feels like you’re not getting anywhere even though you’re paddling for all you’re worth. And the timing - knowing which wave to catch, having time to turn around, paddling like your life was on stake and getting up exactly in the right moment. But I’m definitely going to learn it - we’re probably going to again tomorrow morning before school. We go to Playa Encuentro which is like ten minutes east of Cabarete. The surfers go there at 6 in the morning when the waves are the best but for beginners like us you don’t have to be there until eight or nine. The only problem is the sea urchins on the reef - people, including myself, have been sitting with needles and disinfection digging in the soles of their feet for the past few nights. So shoes are to be recommended. Earlier today Ola came by, he’s the other group’s coordinator and surf teacher. He had a big cut in his forehead that had been sown with seven stitches - he’d been hit by
a surf board in the morning. It looked pretty ugly and he won’t be able to surf for at least two weeks.
The other group I mentioned arrived Saturday night. They’re almost 40 students who are going to study tropical open-air activities - can you say that? They’ve chosen either surfing or kiteboarding and in addition they’re going hiking and things like that. It seems like a lot of fun. They had a welcome party the other night just like we had when we arrived, so we got to hang out with them for a while which was nice.
I guess that's it for the time being - ciudate mis amigos!
There are more photos below