Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Days in a Blender

It's day 2 and I already feel like I've been here a week. After waking up every 30 minutes last night due to feeling like a lobster in a boiler in my room, I woke to a beautiful sunrise, lighting up the water more and more with every passing 5 minutes. Apparently there was a storm last night, a real rager, and I somehow didn't catch any of it, despite my incessant waking up. I was the first "student of the day" meaning I woke up earlier than everybody else, helped with breakfast, restocked the fridge and came up with an icebreaker game. Thank god for the R.A. training I already have!

Classes were introductions to the professors and classes, and then a tour of the town. You can find everything that you need within a 5 block radius (blocks meaning about 100 feet). Several churches, 5 bars, and small hole in the wall market stores, some that carry different items every few days. Very ecclectic. The town is paved but everyone travels around by foot, with the exceptions of a few cars that drive on the left side. Izzy, we're in the same boat! We look like chickens with our heads cut off when cars come because we all scurry to the wrong side of the street :) It is custom for the men here to have aliases so they may give you their real name and they may give you an alias, but its always the same alias. Dogs are wild here and they follow you around when walking, but they're docile. There are two hotels here, one small one that hosts Dominican night on Sunday nights when all the other bars close, and another thats in the process of being built but has an operative smaller section.

After delicious burgers by chef Izzy (hahahaha Iz, now i have an Izzy and you have a Kat) for lunch, we had our snorkel/swim test, the first time we were able to get in the ocean to swim. The water is so warm and shallow in the swim area and it is absolutely beautiful, despite the fact that this area is probably the ugliest seafloor we'll see all semester. Another meeting about dive procedures and a lot of free time sent us into the town for an unfruitful search for ice cream. Pineapple soda however, quenched our thirst briefly. I dont think Ive ever sweated this much in the course of one day and I am exhausted. Dinner shift of serving and cleaning in the even hotter kitchen certainly took the energy right out of me. A group of us played a few board games and headed into town (200 feet from the center) to a small bar to meet some of the locals and grab a beer, and again to another bar in town, but back in the center by 10 pm. A separate group of students went night snorkeling, and I have the hankering to do so tomorrow night. Some of the students showed their real colors tonight and were trash talking already, so Im interested to see how the week will pan out and the groups will form. Right now we are all still pretty loosely talking to each other, bonding with each other individual. We are all so diverse! Some are experienced divers and travelers, some haven't been out of the u.s. Some are from public schools, some are from private schools. Some are here for the ecology, some are here for the conservation, but we are all just simply excited :)

The evening finished with a gorgeous lightning storm on the inky black water and horizon and a chat between myself and Hilary, another former R.A. about our residence life nightmares. The day has blended together significantly and the tour seems like it was yesterday already. We are just barely getting syllabi tomorrow in classes and our dive test tomorrow as well. I intend to retreat to my lobster pot of a room and jerry-rig my fan inside my netting tonight instead of last night. I know I will wake up to another surreal sunrise with lizards basking in the sun (NICK.) and the plants lit up by the sunrise.

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