We’re into the long haul, now. No breaks, as far as I know, up until my contract finishes on July 11th. There are about 80 players in camp, tuning up for the start of the intense Dominican Summer League, which begins, I think, near the end of May or the beginning of June. The two Yankee teams will play against the other teams in the area, similar to what they did in October-November last year, only this time the games are much more meaningful, with a trophy awarded to the team winning the championship game. The Yanks have taken the top prize the last two years.
Juan Dolio was quite crowded during Semana Santa, as I expected, especially at the hotel. I spent a couple of days walking farther down the beach, where it was a bit quieter (but not by much). Here’s a pretty cool shot I got of some of the players on the beach. There was a camouflaged (army?) helicopter flying very low along the beach, taking videos. It could have been a TV crew. We were lucky enough to be in a good position to capture the shot below.
Top row from left, Julio Rojas and Pedro Marcano, bottom row from left, Andres Varilla and Ronny Calderon. All of them are from Venezuela.
Here’s a shot of the rambunctious bus ride on the way to Juan Dolio. If you don’t think that all the young ladies walking along the highway got an earful, think again.
I’m going into the capital today to buy some textbooks and supplies for my classes. I’m once again teaching 3 hours a day to various levels, in addition to teaching 3 hours a week to the staff. Add in the lesson planning and I have a fairly full schedule. One big delight is that Abel brought back a projector from Tampa, so now I can include Powerpoint presentations, Internet sites, web language games, etc., in my teacher’s toolbox. Should be fun.
Still, I’m counting down the days until I can return to Thailand and Laos, sometime in late July, hopefully. Right now they are celebrating the Songkran Festival, the traditional Thai (and Laos) New Year. Check this website for a sedate, cultural view of the holiday, but check this one for a more realistic (in my opinion) look at the event. It can be great fun, but sometimes the water dousing gets a bit out of hand, especially when administered by rowdy, drunken foreigners (farang). (Not to single out one group, so I suppose there are also more than a few rowdy, drunken Thais who may go overboard.) At any rate, I’d love to be there this time of year to help Nai and his family celebrate. More later.