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Apr. 17th, 2011 09:43 am
[personal profile] puzzle_me
I'm back from the Dominican Republic! I got in late last night, and while the weather was not a particularly nice welcome back, sleeping in my own bed was. The trip was amazing. I expect I will be posting more stories and pictures over the next few weeks, but for now there are some thoughts I wanted to put in writing before I forgot them.

-I took Spanish for 4 years in high school, and a couple of semesters in college, but haven't really used it since. This is the first time in my life I've ever had to rely on it so completely. I had to get over my fear of saying things wrong and just go for it, hoping that I'd communicate what I wanted to communicate and they'd forgive me for using the wrong tenses. More and more was coming back to me by the end of the trip, and my first day back in the US I still woke up thinking things in Spanish.

-I loved learning the local names of birds there. Hummingbirds are zumbadors, hawks are guaraguaos. When I post up my bird list for the trip, I plan to include both the English and local name for each.

-I never knew pineapple could taste *that* *good*. I may be forever ruined on the pineapple you can get in Minnesota.

-It's amazing how what can seem very foreign can come to feel like the norm very quickly. Chickens running around loose next to houses. Entire families crammed onto a tiny motorcycle. Trucks crammed full of bananas or plantains with someone sitting on top. Brightly colored shanty huts with corrugated metal roofs. Lizards skittering all over the place.

-Without getting into TMI, while it looked the same at the outset, the sanitation system wasn't quite what I was used to. But the rules of what you were and weren't supposed to do were never spelled out in full. Save for one comment made by someone who lives there early on in the trip, I probably wouldn't have even realized there were different rules for their system, and it made me wonder whether the all-inclusive resorts spell it out in full, or just let the tourists mess up the DR sanitation system with abandon.

-This is the first time I have gone abroad and have not used my credit card once in the country I'm visiting. They just aren't the accepted norm there at all.

More later. It's good to be back - time to start getting ready for Pesach. :)
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