John and I made friends with a Dominican named Julio who works for Ocean World. First encounter with Julio was at the Terrace Bar of Ocean World where we were going for a drink and had Dexter with us (assuming he could sit outside with us on the terrace), it turns out Dexter was not welcome. Julio, who was working as security outside the terrace offered to take Dexter. We saw him tie Dexter up beside him. We then proceeded to see him tie and untie him all over the place, giving Dexter a very creative walk. Next we saw Julio working at the entrance to the Ocean World club, and he called out "amigos!" and gave us high fives and asked about the "perrito", which means little dog. This came to be our usual greeting with Julio. We also ran into Julio at the entrance to Ocean World being the guy who manually lifts up the gate for cars (you know in a parking garage, how the gate will automatically open, not here, here they have to lift it themselves with their hands-or get Julio to). We also ran into him taking tickets to the Ocean World Marine park-he's everywhere!
Julio was kind enough to offer to take us out on the town. Him and his brother Victor took us to the Teleferico, which is a gondola that goes us very very VERY high, and you have the most breath taking view. This gondola seems to be ancient, and you really feel like the chances of the wires breaking are not that slim. Once we safely made it up, it's apparently tradition to go and get your picture taken with the giant statue or Jesus. The guy there immediately took my camera and commanded I do all these poses, that give the illusion that I am holding Jesus hand, holding him in my hand, and many other ridiculous things. Certainly made for some hilarious photos!
The air up there was cool, even though was 33 degrees, and my ears popped while going up. The foliage was beautiful and we could see the marina from there. Apparently 200,000 people live in Puerto Plata!
Julio and Victor took us to the centre of town to El Boulevard and Malecon. We ate lunch and had some delicious ice cream, restaurants are so cheap here! They informed us that we could not call each other boyfriend and girlfriend. That here, if you have been living together for 6 months, they become your spouse. That many people do not get married here because the cost of divorce is so high (how romantic right?). They were also shocked to find out that I was 28 and hadn't had any children yet-you can imagine how shocked they were that John was almost 35 and didn't have any either! Victors "wife" is 22, and they have a baby, and apparently that's pretty old, he said the average age to get pregnant here is around 18, but can be as low as 12 years old! So apparently I am married, but am far too old to have children, I wish someone had warned me about this earlier!
After taking us around the city (and crushing my hopes and dreams of motherhood), they were nice enough to take us to Mercado La Sirena, a giant grocery store. We were in serious need of reprovisioning, we hadn't gotten any groceries since George Town (over a month ago!), and have been essentially eating out of cans before we started taking advantage of the all inclusive here. We got tons of stuff, and were so lucky to have them. I was also lucky that Dominican men are very chivalrous (or macho), so I didn't have to lift a finger. John looked like a jerk, looking on his iPhone while I loaded the stuff into the cart-Julio pushed passed him to help me-he could learn a thing or two from them! All the items we bought were either cheaper or equal to what we would pay in Canada, though it's hard to do the conversion in your head while shopping-43 pesos to 1 US dollar, but that's not even Canadian dollars!
We had a really great time with Julio and Victor, and learned a lot about Dominican culture. Also, since Julio doesn't speak any English, it forced me to practice my Spanish, and John learned some too!
|The view from the top|
|Holding my saviour Jesus Christ-JK!|
|Yes, this happened|
|The stud Julio|
|Me with Julio & Victor|