An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Month: March 2007

This ‘n That

Not much going on in this part of the tropics these days. We had a LOT of rain near the end of last week, enough that the warning tracks in centerfield were flooded for a bit, making that area unplayable. It was mostly cloudy yesterday and it looked like the heavens could open up at any time, but it stayed dry.

Rumor has it that we’ll be going back to Juan Dolio next week for a brief stay during the Holy Week before Easter. I’ve also heard that we might just be staying at the campus, though most of the players will be going home or going to Tampa. At any rate, the break begins next Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on who you’re talking to, and finishes on the following Monday. If we end up staying at the campus, I’ll be spending most of the off time at the beach in Boca Chica. 😎

I hope my mother and my brother are enjoying their week in Mazatlan. They were going to fly over for a few days to visit me, but they were unable to make any good flight connections in the short time they have.

I might also add how homesick I’ve been lately–not for the U.S., but for Thailand and Laos. Geez, I miss that area of the world. When I was working in Korea, I could visit every 5 or 6 months, but now I’m limited to once a year, and it’s been since last August that I was there. I keep telling myself that it’s “only” a bit less than 4 months when I can return, but that seems like a looooooooong time. More later.

Drums Along the Beach

I was sitting at an umbrella-shaded table on the Boca Chica beach this past Saturday, fairly relaxed, writing up lesson plans for the coming week. (The beach on Saturdays is a good place to do this. Who knows why? 😎 )Merengue music was playing on the speakers from the bar next to me. All in all, a pretty cool scene, and the usual hordes of beach-goers seemed a bit less than normal. Suddenly, I heard drums–not traditional-style congas, but marching drums, bass and snare. Walking along the sand came a rag-tag group of 5 or 6 young guys, perhaps 15-18 years old, tapping on their various instruments. I thought “there goes the peace.” But, they continued on their way, so it wouldn’t be long before they were out of hearing. Then, from a table of 7 people about 20 feet in front of me, a man started whistling at the receding drummers, trying to get their attention. They eventually heard him and came to his table and started playing. Wow! Far from being disruptive, they were great–very enthusiastic about what they were doing and having loads of fun. They played staccato, high-energy beats, with one member gyrating and dancing to the sound and onlookers, including the guy who called them over, occasionally joining in. They played for about 15 minutes and attracted quite an audience, also getting quite a few donations. You never know what your going to experience on any given day, some good, some not (like the smoke on Friday), and how expectations can be proven wrong. A very good experience, this one was. More later.

Smoky Campus

I meant to mention in the last post that farmers in the Dominican Republic, as in so many other countries around the world, burn the stubble off their fields before replanting. (I know there’s a technical name for this, but I can’t recall it right now.) Anyway, lately the area has seen a lot of fires being set, with sometimes large billowing clouds of smoke cluttering the usually blue skies. We’ve been fortunate enough that the wind has blown the smoke away from the campus, though we sometimes get “fall out” in the form of cinders and soot blackening the white tile floors of the outdoor areas of the main building. Not so today. I awoke this morning to see what at first glance appeared to be fog, but when the wood-smoke smell hit me, I knew that the wind had finally turned against us. Not pleasant. I’ll not go jogging today.


Lazy, Lazy, Lazy

Well, at least it seems that way as far as the length of time between posts lately, but I have been fairly busy writing lesson plans and teaching the classes. I finally have a few classes where all the students will be staying here throughout the summer, rather than shuttling between here and Tampa. Thus, I can plan a systematic progression of lessons for them. Come the first part of April, whoever is remaining and whoever returns from Tampa of the earlier group will also be staying here for the summer, so I can plan for them also. It’s keeping me busy. But, for the next couple of weeks, most of my classes will contain players who are going to Tampa the first part of April.

Then comes the good part. The first week in April is Semana Santa, or Holy Week, the week before Easter. The Yanks are putting us up again at Juan Dolio, this time for 10 days, so the rumors say. More beach time! As promised, below are some photos from the previous visit to Juan Dolio at the Decameron Resort Hotel.

Here I am piloting our catamaran back from Saona Island, steering my way easily through the calm waters. Nothing to fear, fellow passengers–the captain knew what he was doing when he entrusted your well-being to Cap’n Ron. Hey, where did those rocks come fr. . . .


A shot of the beautiful Saona, which, unfortunately, is no longer as pristine as it once might have been, what with the dozens of tourists (myself included) who visit there every day. A power boat took us out to the island, where we played volleyball or lounged in the sun. Included in the price of the trip ($50) were a barbecue and beverages, but the most fun was partying on the slow catamaran back. A group of American doctors and nurses, most of whom are from the Flint, Michigan area, was doing volunteer work in nearby San Pedro de Macoris. They were staying at the Decameron, so they made the tour also, and were quite prone to whooping it up in their offtime–a lot of fun to be around.


Surprisingly, except for Saturday and Sunday, the beach at hotel was not that crowded. Here’s the view from one of the thatched-roof cabanas.


The lack of crowds also made for good walking down the beach. Here are a couple of “washed up” boats, lonely in their demise, about a mile-long stroll from the Decameron.


Hope you enjoy these; I certainly enjoyed taking them. 😛 I’ll put them in the Photo Gallery, along with a few others I took. More later.

Back From Juan Dolio

Yikes, I didn’t realize it’s been such a long time between posts. Well, we’ve been back at the campus since last Sunday afternoon, after a great stay at the Decameron Resort in Juan Dolio. Fun in the sun, on the beach, at the pool and on a boat tour to Saona Island. I was originally told that we would be staying at one of the Barcelo properties in Juan Dolio, but we ended up at the Decameron. I’ll post some pictures of this trip later, but for now it’s back to work. The camp will be open until the first week in April, which is the holy week (Samana Santa) before Easter. We’ll shut down again, and probably those of us staying here will be put up in another resort, perhaps the Decameron again. No problema :cool:. More later.

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