It was an unusual day here yesterday, with many people at the camp. When I poked my head out my front door about 7:30 a.m., I noticed a couple of awnings had been erected near one of the far fields, down the first base line, and several stacks of plastic chairs were nearby. About half an hour later, a van came in, followed by a pickup truck carrying a Presidente beer station/bar. What the heck! I’ve never seen beer on the campus before, since it’s contrary to the rules the players must follow.

Finally, after staying in my room doing reports for a few hours, I looked out the door again. On the far field a few teams of norteamericanos were playing softball and another 30 or so people were watching from under the awnings. After asking around, I found out that a U.S. Navy counter-terrorism group was staying in Santo Domingo for 10 days, and they were at the camp playing a few games of softball (and drinking beer and eating hamburgers) against a team of U.S. Embassy personnel. I think the Yankees had been asked by the embassy to donate the use of the field. Afterwards, all of the players and coaches from both the Yankee and Diamondback teams (our opponents yesterday) were invited to have some burgers. Unfortunately, yours truly had already chowed down on beans and rice and chicken in the campus cafeteria before he found out about the invite. 😡

By the way, the Yankee squad lost to Arizona 11 to 3. I found out later that both squads have been restricted to the campus this weekend due to poor play lately. Ouch! (Maybe the same should be done to the Big Team.)

I received the new contract through email Friday, and the start date was listed as Sept. 15th. Whoops. I hope that’s a mistake on Georgetown University’s part, because I thought the State Dept. wanted me to begin around Oct. 5th. I’m going to write my supervisor in D.C. on Monday to see what’s up. If it’s the earlier start date, I’ll have to get my return flight from Thailand changed–hope that’s not a big hassle if it becomes necessary.

Nai is back at his home today, after spending 5 days in the hospital in Vientiane for treatment of malaria. He sounds pretty good, but he complains that sometimes his “memory hurting a lot.” I think he gets migraines. His English cracks me up more often than not. For example, he doesn’t know the word for passing gas–farting. So, his phrase for it is “open wind,” as in “I’m sorry, Ron, I must open wind now.” For his own good, I should really make more of an effort to improve his English vocabulary, but his use of the language can be so creative and charming. Another example: thunder is “boom-boom.” “It go boom-boom many time today, so you cannot call back me because I close my phone.” Quickly, now, whoever can tell me what “open fire” means, as in “Now I open fire.”, could be the proud winner of a plateful of genuine roasted Lao crickets served with a generous portion of a piquant red sauce. Awesome! Seriously, I’m not making fun of him and I do have to work with him on his English. More later.

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Nai Enjoys a Plateful