Saturdays with Suzanne

A friend of mine recently asked, “So, what do you do on Saturdays?” Well, Michael, this is for you.

Today was a great day. My roommate Kristin and I took a nice trip to the capital – our first capital trip of the season. The bus ride from San Pedro (where I live) to Santo Domingo (the capital) is about an hour and a half long, not including the half an hour we had to wait on the bus while it filled up before we could leave the station. Santo Domingo is HUGE. It’s the biggest city in the Dominican Republic and seems to just go on for stinking ever. I have seen very little of the capital, but what I’ve seen I’ve liked. Today Kristin and I were headed for the Conde, which is a nice street full of stores and restaurants (and apparently a Chocolate Museum! which gives free tours AND free samples! Cha-ching!) and includes the oldest church in the Americas! It’s a cool place to shop and eat and think about Christopher Columbus landing here so many years ago and how many people have come to worship at the oldest church in the Americas. They still hold services there today!

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Hey, have I mentioned Santo Domingo is home to the oldest church in the Americas?

Part of my intention in taking a trip to the capital was to find some new shoes. My old trusty cheetah print flats are pretty worn out and I wanted to replace them before they became completely unwearable. I knew a couple of friends (namely, Kristin) had struck gold in terms of cheap and fashionable clothing items on the Conde and so I was excited to try my hand at Dominican clothes shopping. Well, it turns out I am just too freakishly gigantic to shop here. The only store that carried shoes in my size (and I dug through plenty of bins of sandals, thank you very much) was Payless (where I assure you, we did not pay less) and I did not see an article of woman’s clothing above a size Large all day.

Funnily enough, Dominicans are not characteristically small people. I mean, they’re not characteristically large either (that I know of) but I’ve definitely seen plenty of women around this island my size and larger which led me to question what these women do for clothing options. Then I remember how last year when we were getting fitted for our uniform shirts my coworkers told me how great the skin-tight button-up I had on looked and how when I requested a larger size the tailor was confused because, “But that fits.” Since my style is not skin-tight and gut-emphasizing, I might have to stick to the States when it come to shopping.

But I still managed to purchase two pairs of shoes, a purse, a wallet, and a pair of earrings because when it comes to accessories, one size fits all. (Except for you know, shoes which actually are size dependent. And belts, I guess…)

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I bought a rosary today outside the oldest church in the Americas! I bought a rosary for three reasons: first, I’ve wanted one for a while. Second, it really complimented my outfit. Third, rosary swag.
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Kristin bought these Dominican flag glasses for obvious reasons.

After shopping our little hearts out, Kristin and I ate at a great restaurant. Then, just as we were heading to find a cab to take us back to the bus stop, a nice man holding a stack of brochures asked us if we were interested in visiting a Chocolate Museum. To which I replied, “Uhhhhh yes.” Then I asked if there was a cost and then he said no! The “tour” was super short, fairly informative, in English, and both started and ended with free samples. The samples included: chocolate tea, hot chocolate, chocolate jams, and tooth-picked chunks of milk, dark, and white chocolate. So there’s another reason why you should come visit me – free chocolate tea.

Now comes the real reason of this post. (It started out as a Facebook status but got way too long.) I was sitting on the couch enjoying a great book and a great breeze coming in through the open patio door. It had been raining for a while which really cooled things off (thanks, Tropical Storm Gabrielle!) and I was nearing the end of my book. I wanted to finish before going to bed so when a couple of moths started landing on my legs, kindle, and face, I casually swatted them out of the way without really looking up from my book. Eventually, something within me caused me to look up (a sixth moth sense? the Holy Spirit?) and when I looked up I saw DOZENS OF MOTHS IN MY HOUSE. Seriously, so. many. moths. Like, more moths were in my house than all of the moths I’ve ever seen in my life combined.

I quickly got to work. I shoved on my fuzzy cheetah slippers (which are really only cheetah-print slippers and I realize when I refer to them as “cheetah slippers” some might get the impression that they are slippers shaped like cheetahs, which would be awesome but is an inaccurate description), grabbed the bug zapper and a can of bug spray and got to work. It was like every time I turned around I found another dozen moths. I finally got the good sense to close up the doors and spray bug spray at any gaps. The best part about killing moths is that whether the death comes by zap, smash, or spray, moths, when killed, fall into a million pieces movie-Voldemort-style. So what were dozens of moths turned into hundreds of moth pieces all over the floor, couch, and my bed (because my bed is on the floor in the dining room, duh).

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Some moth remains. Picture this pile times like, seven piles scattered around my dining room and you’ll get the picture. Then picture this once more after I’ve already swept the floor only to come back from putting away the broom to find like, a dozen more moths in my bed.

Oh! I almost forgot. After Kristin and I got back from the capital I was really jonesing for a fountain soda (so hard to come by here!). I was totally planning on getting one in the capital on our way back to the bus station but then I realized how badly I would have to pee like, 20 minutes into our 90 minute bus ride so I held off and made other plans. After dropping off our lovely purchases at the house and saying hi to Melissa I walked to McDonalds (and decided to go all out and get the Bacon Triple – treat yourself!). I wanted to get a motoconcho back because I didn’t want my fries to get cold before I got back home and I just want to let you know that I rode back from McDonalds on a motorcycle in the rain going the wrong way down a one way street.

Also, turns out today is Melissa’s birthday. (Melissa is our other roommate.) So while she was at a friend’s house watching a baseball game we decorated her room.

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Take a look at banner, Melissa!

The excitement seriously never stops! In the time between adding the picture of the oldest church in the Americas (but guys, have you heard? it’s the oldest church in the Americas!) and typing this very sentence, I killed my very first Dominican centipede. It was huge and terrifying and from the moment it caught my eye, all the way through the smashing period, till the time it stopped moving I was saying, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.” Then, when I was sweeping it up, it moved a little bit, so I opened the door (risking another moth invasion!) to dump the (mostly!) dead centipede outside just in case after being smashed to (near!) death with a fuzzy cheetah slipper it somehow summoned the strength to crawl out from the trash can, across the kitchen, across the dining room, and onto my face in the night.

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This is the (almost!) dead centipede next to a 5 peso for scale. As I was tossing the 5 peso toward the centipede I realized that the majority of people reading this blog aren’t super familiar with the size of Dominican change, but believe me when I say this centipede was BIG.

Dominican insects: 0, Suzanne: 2. What has been YOUR most dramatic encounter with an insect (or DOZENS of insects)?

SUNDAY UPDATE!! The “moths” were actually flying ants. They came in with the storm. The exterminator is coming this week.

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