I'm not sure that I'll give daily updates throughout this entire trip, but today was somewhat interesting, so I thought I'd share a few highlights. But before I give the 'blow by blow' as my dad says, I must share that I just checked the American Airlines web site and they found my bag! I think I'll have it back within the next day or two! I am so happy because I really thought that someone saw me open it up to take something out in the airport, saw the laptop and swiped it before it ever made it on the plane. Thank you for all your prayers!
Today Jonah and I took a taxi to the main drag of downtown Santiago. It was quite an adventure! I tried to get cash at the ATM at the hotel before we left, but it was out of service. I had just enough to pay for the cab driver and then I needed to find an ATM when we got there. It was total craziness. Santiago is not really a tourist destination and no one speaks English. I walked all the way down one street without finding an ATM and I was starting to get nervous thinking I wouldn't have money to buy food or anything or to get a taxi back to the hotel. Then I realized that I had gotten off the main street and once I got back to it I found an ATM within a few blocks.
The streets were utter chaos with traffic and vendors on practically every inch of sidewalk. The sidewalks were all brick so it was quite a bumpy ride for Jonah. He seemed a little overwhelmed by it all at first and didn't really say much of anything for the first half of the trip, but he loosened up after a while and became his usual chatty self.
I found a nice drug store and found some makeup to replace what I lost (I really didn't think I'd ever see that stuff again). It looked like it had been sitting on the shelf for a very long time, but I was able to find Cover Girl and Max Factor and I even found the exact shade of blush that I normally use.
I bought a big floppy sun hat for myself. Every store in the Dominican Republic seems to have about three or four times as many employees as necessary so there are always all sorts of people standing around with nothing to do. Four employees stood around playing with Jonah while I tried on hats. He has gotten quite charming in the way he says, 'Hola!' and 'Gracias!'
Then we found a souvenir shop and bought Jonah some maracas and a little straw hat with a Dominican flag on it. He loves the hat! It looks so adorable on him and he wants to wear it, take it on and off, and carry it around with him. I have pictures - I'll post them as soon as we get the laptop back.
We ended up having lunch at McDonald's. I know that is so lame, but I felt like I had been adventurous enough and I was really feeling my lack of language skills. I wasn't sure I could successfully navigate one of the little cafes by myself - McDonald's was challenging enough. Do you realize how many questions they ask you when you order from McDonald's? Little bits and pieces of my one year of Spanish in high school are coming back to me, but that was ten years ago and it was only first year Spanish. I remember how to ask how much something costs, but I don't remember my numbers well enough to understand quickly when people answer me.
After McDonald's we went out and found a taxi to take us back to the hotel for our naps. I showed the driver my key card and he seemed to understand where to go. I knew our hotel was part of a chain, but I thought the other hotels were in other parts of the country. It turns out that there are four hotels with the same name in Santiago. After the first wrong hotel I gave him the card again and pointed to which one was ours on the list. I tried to tell him it was near the airport, but he didn't get it. After the second wrong hotel I reemphasized 'airport' and he got it. 'Oh, aeropuerte?' 'Si! Si!' We finally made it. I paid him a very large tip.
After naps we went swimming, but by four in the afternoon the entire pool area was in the shade. We still had fun, but it was quite chilly without any sun, even though the water was warm. There were a bunch of other kids in the pool and they were very sweet in playing with Jonah. By 6:00 we were ready for dinner, but Jon wasn't back yet, so we had dinner by ourselves. I guess people in the DR eat dinner much later than Americans - the front desk lady looked at us like we were crazy and we were the only people in the restaurant for the entirety of our meal. Jon didn't get back until Jonah was already in bed. He had a long day of work and just ordered room service for dinner. Sounds like all of his days here are going to be like that, unless the weather turns bad. So, Jonah and I will continue our adventures on our own. I think tomorrow we'll do our swimming in the morning and go out in the afternoon to avoid the chilly pool experience.