We returned Saturday from an outstanding vacation in the Dominican Republic. It got off to a rocky start when we missed the UN flight to Santo Domingo on Monday morning and Ben, who is deathly allergic to bee stings, got stung by a bee. But not only were we able to reschedule for a Tuesday flight, we also ran into and got to spend the day with Matt, Esther, Gabriela and Niko.
On our vacation we explored Santo Domingo, then bussed 4 hours east to Punta Cana where we stayed one night in El Cortecito and one night with Caleb and Jody, who let us crash their 5-year anniversary vacation. As I walked and Ben hobbled around Santo Domingo (try the Colonial District - it's amazing!), we were shocked yet again at the difference between the two halves of this island. How is it that Santo Domingo has public trash cans, park benches, a subway, sidewalks, photography exhibits and theaters and yet everything there (food, hotel, transportation) is cheaper than in Port-Au-Prince? Punta Cana was basically one all-inclusive resort after another, but the beach was beautiful and the company was fantastic.
We were both pretty bummed when our vacation came to an end. It's been hard to come back to Haiti lately. While we were in Santo Domingo, Ben asked me jokingly, "What is it about being out of Haiti that reduces your crazy factor so much?" Maybe the better question is, what is it about being in Haiti that is making me so crazy these days?
Driving home we noticed that the city is awash with green, yellow, white and blue. There are painted bottles strung over the streets and flags and jerseys for sale everywhere. Port-Au-Prince has World Cup fever. For the most part, Haitians are Argentina fans (white and blue) or Brazil fans (green and yellow) and apparently die hard fanatiks can get quite rowdy, even violent during matches.
Yesterday we fought off our post-vacation blues with some serious gardening and kitten-cuddling. Two kittens down, two to go...
And this afternoon we are headed to Desarmes for a tree distribution. Meanwhile, Hurricane Alex is headed our way.