Sunday, April 5, 2009

DR Adventure Days 3 and 4

We seemed to have settled into a routine of having breakfast, poking around for a bit, going swimming, having lunch, taking naps, and then we go out on an afternoon "adventure". Our morning swims have been so much fun. It's a way for us to play together, without being to exhausting for me - he can't swim that fast to get away from me and when he's out of the pool there's nowhere for him to go. He is getting to be quite a good little swimmer for a 1-year-old. Today he dropped some toys in the pool while we were sitting on the side and they floated away. He said, "Get it, toys" and I thought he wanted me to go get them, but he got on his stomach, scooched himself off the edge into the pool, kicked his way over to the toys about 10 feet away, and swam them back to me saying "I got it, toys!" Then he said, "More stairs, up and down" and he swam over to the ladder about 12 feet away and climbed up and down.

For yesterday's adventure we decided to visit the monument in the center of town. It's on a big hill and you can get a view of the entire city. A lot of people were flying kites and it was fun to just walk around and watch. The monument is surrounded by statues of heroes of the restoration. Jonah climbed up the stairs to this one and said, "Grandpa! Hi, Grandpa!" Any man over 50 is "Grandpa" to him, but I didn't know that bronze statues of uniformed, mustached, Latino men with huge swords also qualified in his mind as "Grandpa." A group of school girls showed up and they completely mobbed Jonah. One Spanish phrase that we've picked up on rather quickly is, "Ay, que lindo!" which aparantly means something like, "Oh, how cute!" Everyone says this to Jonah. Everyone touches him, too, and if he's not strapped in his stoller he gets picked up or people will even take him out of my arms if I'm holding him! Good thing he's not shy and he's a very good sport. These girls picked him up, put him next to a statue and started taking pictures! It was hilarious. I also got a kick out of them because even these nine- or ten-year-old girls were wearing what seems to be the national dress code for women: skin-tight jeans and high heels. Everyone dresses as nicely as they can, and women in particular always look like they're about to go clubbing. NO ONE wears shorts, even though it's about 90 degrees at all times. I get around the rule by wearing skirts and dresses, even though technically no one really wears those either. I break the rule completely for Jonah. He's just a baby - I'm not going to subject him to wearing designer jeans like all the other babies around. Jon has to wear pants, of course, but he has made a compromise in just wearing his uniform polo shirt without an under shirt.

Here we are at the monument.

We took a short carriage ride around the monument.

Jonah loved the horse. Our carriage driver was an enthusiastic young guy in a Yankees hat. There seem to be a lot of Yankees fans down here.
After our carriage ride we walked around until we found a nice-looking restaurant to have dinner. Again, at 6:00 we were the only people in the whole place. It was too bad because it looked like it would have been a fun place - there were three levels, it was open-air, there was a big screen (probably for karaoke) and a dance floor. We got to sit in the front corner of the restaurant right at a major intersection where Jonah could watch all the cars, trucks and street vendors. I ordered something that I knew was chicken, but I didn't know anything else about it. It turned out to be a grilled chicken breast with a red sauce similar to marinara - not bad. There were even a few veggies and some mashed potatoes that Jonah particularly enjoyed.

I had decided to have dinner out by ourselves because Jon had gotten back so late the day before. It turned out that he had gotten back earlier and we could have had dinner with him. Today I got a pre-paid cell phone and Jon also has one, so now I can call and coordinate with him so we can eat together if possible.
For today's afternoon adventure we went to a local museum. It was mostly art and some cultural exhibits. Of course I couldn't understand any of the signs, and it wasn't too exciting for Jonah, but he was a very good boy and we went through quickly.
I had noticed an ice cream shop on the way to the museum that had a kids play area. I thought I knew the name of it and I asked a taxi drive to take me there. He had no idea what I was talking about. He stopped and asked some other taxi drivers, but they had no clue either. Finally I gave up and told him to just take me back to my hotel, but we passed the ice cream shop and I told him to stop there. It turns out that it was called something completely different than what I saw on the sign. He rolled his eyes and me and tried to tell me a bunch of stuff, to which I could just shrug and say, "Yo no se." (I don't know.) I ordered ice cream, which was a repeat performance of shrugging and saying "si" to whatever the ice cream guy asked me. I ended up with a waffle cone with raspberry sherbet, some whipped cream that tasted like marshmallow fluff, raspberry syrup and a chocolate-covered wafer cookie. Then I took Jonah outside to play.
What I hadn't noticed when we drove by was that the playground was totally packed. All the chairs were occupied, but I was a little surprised that no one offered to give the pregnant American lady a chair. There were two slides - a big twisty slide that had a constant flow of about a dozen kids, and a smaller one that had a platform at the top. I helped Jonah climb up to the platform, but all the kids just kept going in front of him and basically running him over. Every time he would get close to the slide, another kid would push past him. Finally I was able to help him go down, but then he just climbed back up and perched on the platform and watched the kids as they pushed around him.

When I finished my ice cream I helped Jonah down off the platform and he really wanted to go down the big slide. I had to go up with him because it would have been too slow for him to climb up by himself, plus it wouldn't be safe. So I helped him up to the top and sent him down, but I couldn't go back down the stairs because there were 10 antsy kids behind me waiting to go. One little girl even got impatient and told me, "Rapido!" which even I know means, "Hurry up!" Of course Jonah loved the twisty slide so much that he wanted to do it again and again. Now the other moms are laughing at me. What is this pregnant white lady in a skirt doing going down the slide? But what was I supposed to do? My kid wanted to go down the slide and no one was helping me.
I used my cell phone to call the front desk at the hotel to send a cab to pick us up - I didn't feel like dealing with a cab driver who didn't know where to take me. I also called Jon to let him know we were on our way and he ordered room service that actually came up with us on the elevator when we got back. I feel like my lack of language skills have dampened my adventursome spirit, somewhat. I really want to take a day-trip to the beach, but now I'm not feeling so up to it. Tomorrow I think we will try a local mall that's supposed to be fun and I'll consider the beach for Tuesday... we'll see.


Emily said...

I think you are so brave and adventurous!! It sounds like you are doing all sorts of fun things!

packey said...

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