The wireless signal that I can sometimes get from my apartment is becoming rather sketchy, so I’ve not been able to post as frequently as I’d like to, and sometimes I’m just too lazy to walk to the Internet cafe down the street. I’m usually able to check my email when it’s on, but it doesn’t stay on for too long. Oh, well. . .

I think I’m finally learning the difference between salsa and merengue music. Salsa is fast and merengue is faster. I really can’t tell the difference and my Dominican friends are surprised at my lack of discernment. As I jotted down notes for this post, I was sitting in La Parada listening to very fast music, so it must have been merengue.

La Parada, an open air bar/restaurant is a great place to while away some time. It sits right on the Malecon with a good view of the Caribbean and is great for people watching. There is also the occasional cargo or cruise ship coming or leaving. A few weeks ago I saw a HUGE cruise ship putting out to sea. I think I counted about 8 decks on this leviathan. Awesome.

The afternoon showers seem to be increasing in frequency and are making walking an adventure. Friday, I had to walk to UASD to meet another teacher. The threat of rain seemed small as I left the apartment, but several blocks away, a large, black cloud that had been hiding somewhere suddenly appeared and I was caught in a downpour. Santo Domingo is blessed with an abundance of leafy trees, so I ducked under a large one (sorry, I don’t know too much about tree names), and stayed somewhat dry. Usually I seek refuge in one of the numerous rain shelters dotting the city–Santo Domingans call them “bus stops,” but their covered benches make for a good place to stay out of the rain. After finishing up at UASD, I started walking to La Parada and, luckily, got there just as another torrent washed over the city.

Saturday, though, I wasn’t quite so lucky–I was caught in the open with only a few smaller trees anywhere nearby and I got drenched as I made my way to their somewhat ineffective shelter. I know what you’re thinking–buy an umbrella, dummy! I should, but I never remember to get one when I go to the market. Usually the warm tropical sun comes back out and dries me off very quickly.

Great, only a few more weeks left until I return to the Yankee campus–I can hardly wait. I’ve been working on lessons and materials to use in class, but I feel that I can never be prepared to my satisfaction. I’ll probably be doing a lot of things “on the fly,” master procrastinator that I am.

Geez, I keep reading about crappy things going on in Thailand. First, the coup, then the New Year’s Eve bombings, then a big train wreck, more beheadings in the southern provinces, and a new law limiting foreign ownership in businesses. Crikey (thanks, Steve Irwin), I hope they don’t ruin my retirement plans. That’s right, folks, many of you probably think I’ll eventually return to the USA to settle down in beautiful Montana, but I’ve got a news flash for you. At the present time, it ain’t a gonna happen. I can’t go into all the reasons why, except to say that’s where my heart lies. Of course, nothing is immutable, so things could change. More later.