As orientation week wrapped up adventures in the city began! Friday night we went out to our first dinner in the city. I ordered my first legal drink, a strawberry margarita! It was delicious! After dinner, we walked to a dancing bar. Our leaders sent us to an old person bar! There wasn’t anyone under 30 in whole bar. Because the bartender stuck “los gringos” in the back corner we didn’t get many offers to dance for most of the night, we did however get lots of stares. Eventually, we saw our friend Jota Jota (our nickname for JJ) who works at the ILAC center. He recruited some of his friends to ask us to dance. They taught us the merengue, it’s a fairly easy dance because the beat of the music makes it easy to find a rhythm. My partners were so fun they helped me learn and did neat spins and moves. In the DR, the men ask the women to dance, lead them to the dance floor, then after the song is over lead them back to their seat. It is very gentlemanly and formal. Apparently if you dance with a guy more than a couple of dances it means you are interested in him and if you are interested he will not leave you alone. Our DR “mom” said last semester she called to schedule a tour and the man she talked with still calls and texts her. DR men are very forward, catcalls and “Que bonita!” resound everywhere we go.
Today we had a much anticipated beach day! We traveled two hours North to Sosua Beach. It is mainly a locals’ beach located in between resorts. The beach was pure paradise with turquoise blue water, soft sand, and palm trees hanging over the sand. The second we secured a spot on the sand, I dove into the ocean. The water was refreshing, but still warm enough. After playing in the waves and walking on the beach, we took a pina colada break. The pina colada came in a full pineapple with pineapple chunks in the drink, mmmmm! A local guy pulled us on a banana boat which was a long tube that sat six. We went tubing around the cove and the resorts. The guy ended up trying to take advantage of us Americans by taking way too much money when 11 of us tried to pay him at once. Our program director, Margarita, started yelling at him in the fastest spanish I have ever heard! After ten minutes of chewing him out, he gave us back our money. A couple of us walked along the shops on the beach. Clara and I got free anklets from one vendor, which Margarita said was very unusual. Every vendor attempts to almost push you into their store saying things like “Look for just one minute!” or “99% off!”. I learned a valuable lesson, never tell them that you will come back later and definitely don’t promise them you will! They will follow you down the beach until you bluntly say “Go away!”. The bus ride back was filled with sand and snores after our beautiful beach adventure.