Day two we head to the capital city Santo Domingo to visit my grandmother aka my dads mom aka Abuelita (little grandma).
We get up at 7am. Have a bowl of oatmeal and some coffee. I slept pretty well the night before. It gets cool in the evenings at my Mamás house. Take a quick shower since hot water is scarce there, and pack up the jeep. My Abuelita lives deep in the capital so its harder and expensive for her to get basic foods like veggies and meat.
First stop: we head to the family farm and pick up bags of veggies, lemons, mangos, coconuts, avocado, and yuka that my grand-Uncle picked and packed from our property. I swing by and look at the birds and pet the farm dogs. They’re damn cute:
Next up we picked up some fresh bread and cookies at bakery stand by the road. A lot of the food is sold at stands by the side of the road. Makes sense: if you’re damn good at making bread you open a stand right outside your house and make some extra cash for yourself.
Next up: meats. Now, I’m gonna be honest with you. In the US, the FCC would have a field day with this. Same as the bread maker, the butcher makes his money by opening a stand as well. In this case, this gent started with a hand full of goats from a good stock and has quickly made a name for himself as a butcher. His trade: goats and pheasants.
He has a huge field where the goats run free and look so damn happy and cute.
These guys above will be gone by noon.
That’s my Mamá picking out two goats for us to take to my Abuelita. There’s something to be said about looking at the animal you’re about to eat in a couple of hours. I said a small prayer, pet them, and thanked them before they were taken out back.
This place is about as humane as you can get. It’s done so fast. I didn’t hear anything and their bodies were out in less then 10 minutes. It’s a fact of life over here and meat is to be treasured. Nothing is wasted:
That Hatian woman does the killing. She gets paid a wage in addition to the blood, guts, and heads of anything she kills. The skin and horns of the goats are sold to make furniture, leather, purses and anything else you can think of.
We load up the jeep with the two goats and 3 pheasants and set out.
Driving in the DR is a test of patience and will make you a religious person. Trucks don’t give a shit and obeying traffic rules are just.. Optional. People are driving and texting and taking and texting left and right. We almost got in several accidents in just this one trip.
The drive let’s us get a chance to check out the scenery.
We make it to my grandmother’s by the skin of our teeth and pile out of the car. Nothing much has changed in the countless amount of years that I’ve been here. Apparently, crime is up all around the the DR but more prevalent in the capital and people have started to out bars all around the windows, doors, entrances to the houses/ apartment. There’s something inherently sad about that. A piece of my memory has been ruined a bit.
We get to my Abuelita’s house and of course, she’s cooking. She’s making chicken, platanos, rice with a big plate of salad. As usual she has no light. In the Capital, unless you’re rich, you don’t get Light during the days. Meaning your lights are completely off. My Abuelita shrugs it off. She doesn’t give a shit and honestly, the light is just a luxery that she doesn’t even care about having at this point. My dad and uncle spend the rest of the day arguing with her about getting some batteries for the generator. She finally relents.
I go to the back yard and check out the mango tree I used to play by and the pool that never seemed to be full of water when I was there.
Lunch is ready and we dig in. I consume hearty amounts of lemonaid and pineapple juice. Yuum
The rest of the afternoon is spent chatting with family members. We get invited to my cousins house. Him and his wife just got a place and we’ve been invited to dinner as their first guests. We of course, say yes. I go off somewhere to take a nap. The heat was suffocating and I’m full of pineapple juice. I fall asleep to my family members all talking loudly and laughing. I’m in heaven.
…I wake up a couple of hours later to my mother poking me awake. We’re heading out to the hotel we’re staying at to get ready to head to my cousins house. My dad and I sit by the pool drinking a beer. I think to myself “what happened this morning? It seems so long ago.” I’m convinced I’m so sleepy/tired because of the sensory overload.
We finally get showered (hot water! Working toilet!) And head down to my cousins house. What a beautiful place. But I was struck with the windows and the doors having such heavy bars even though they live in a gated community.
That’s the door. Beautiful house. It’s just shows how crime has rocked the capital. People are locking themselves in their apartment/ homes twice/three times.
The apartment was beautiful and it was great to catch up with some cousins and family members.
We had yummy mofongo with pico de gayo. Deeeelish!!
What an awesome night. And I topped it off with a delicious glass of warm milk. Guys, this is REAL milk. So. GOOD!!