The rain has settled down and it looks like tomorrow will see more typical Caribbean weather for this time of year (and almost any other time)–sunny and warm. Thankfully, this disturbance resulted in minimal loss of life, though any loss is too much for the families involved. The latest report I read stated that 7 people have died so far due to Olga. Let’s hope it doesn’t rise. [Update: Some reports are placing the number of dead at 11, most of them in Santiago, where my supervisor, Rex Moser, is currently working.]

Now, onto my apartment travails. When I first checked into Aparta-Hotel Atalaya I requested a standard room with a balcony facing the ocean. Ok, no problem; I got it. The place advertises that they have wireless internet, but, unfortunately, if you’re more than 5 feet away from the transmitter, you can’t access it. They put me up on the fourth floor in a decent apartment, but I couldn’t pick up the wireless signal. Apparently, I was too far away, though they say that all their rooms have wireless access.

So, I requested a room change. They moved me to the second floor, closer to the transmitter, but access was very spotty, more often absent than not. I decided, however, to put up with it . . . until the bathroom started flooding. Raw sewage (it smelled like it, anyway) started to come out of the drain in the bathroom floor when other people were taking a shower or flushing their toilets. As well, when I took a shower, the same crappy thing happened and the toilet wasn’t emptying. The bathroom floor flooded and then the water made itself into the main living area. Smelly, unhealthy, really a horrible, nightmare situation. It would require a major effort on the part of a plumber, I was told, so they moved me into another apartment.

It took me about 45 minutes to move all my belongings to the new apartment on the 3rd floor. Very important to me is having internet access. I turned on the computer, and, lo and behold, I had a great connection, finally. Now, I wondered, what could possibly be wrong with this room. It didn’t take me long to find out–the kitchen sink leaks, not incredibly badly, but enough that water seeps onto the floor. Right now, I’ve got a bucket under the offending pipes to staunch the drips. It doesn’t seem to be a deal breaker, and I’ll have to get the maintenance guy up here to see if he can put a stop to the problem. Still, this place SUCKS. If you’re coming to Santo Domingo and looking for a place to stay for awhile, avoid Aparta-Hotel Atalaya. I’m going to check around for other apartments offering the same ballpark price for January. Luckily, the Yanks are paying for my accommodations this month and next. Seriously, though, avoid this place. The people who work here are nice enough, but that doesn’t do much to alleviate the numerous maintenance problems. More later.