Friday, May 16, 2014

More from the Dominican Republic

Yesterday was a very full day. We left the hotel just before 9am for a day trip to the mountains.

We visited a public elementary school in a small countryside village and learned a lot about the Dominican Republic. Our guide was very knowledgeable and very proud of his small country.

He said that about 11% of the population is considered very rich with incomes of over 70,000 US dollars per year. About 60% are considered middle-class with incomes of $20-70,000/year. The poor, $12-20,000/year are about 10% and the very poor make up the rest and average around $3,000/yr.

But, he was quick to point out, most of them are very happy. They don't miss the everyday conveniences we have because they have never known them. They lead simple, natural, clean lives and have an average life expectancy of 85 years.

We past by a small roadside shack that was the local butcher shop. They had pork yesterday. You knew that because of the freshly killed pig head hanging from the pole. Today, it would've been something else.

We learned about cacao, coffee, coconuts, cigars and cane (sugar cane). We had a traditional (or typical) Dominican lunch of red beans, rice and chicken. Our guide said they pretty much eat that EVERY DAY. He said that sometimes his mom would tell them they were having something new--chicken, rice and beans!

We ended our day trip with an hour of play at the beach in Macau and were back at the hotel around 5:30pm.

It was a very good day.

I'll post some pics when we get home or you see some now on Facebook or Twitter.  I'm at or @magicianary on Twitter.

Today was very relaxing. I was up early enough to see the sunrise and managed a short run/walk before coffee, oatmeal and yogurt. I had short swim in the ocean and waited for Chris to join me for my real breakfast--a small omelet (2 eggs, cheese, jalapenos, onions, tomatoes) and more Dominican coffee.

Other than that, we've just been taking it easy on the beach or in the waves of the ocean or in the hotel pool. We did manage a nice walk of a couple of miles.

It's hard to believe that tomorrow will be our last full day here. It's been a great break, but real life awaits. I think I'll have a new appreciation of the simple things.

Waiters here make about $12/day plus tips (when they get them) for a 10+ hr day. Teachers make around $28/day and must now teach in Spanish and English. Many of them aren't bilingual to begin with and when they learn to speak English well enough, they leave for jobs in tourism where they can make more money.

We take the simplest things for granted--like drinking water from the tap and flushing toilet paper.

John <><

1 comment:

Chert said...

I'm glad to be back to your blog again. Wow, so you went to Dominican Republic?