From Cabarette

We got up yesterday, my mum, my sister, Hank and I at 3am, and went to the airport.  We spent the day bleary and exhausted, staggering through Toronto, then Newark, then finally landing in Puerto Plata – and the minute we landed we all had our energy back – or what passed for energy until we could sleep, which was enthusiasm.  We were stereotypes of Canadians landing in the Caribbean.  "It’s so warm!" "It’s so green!" "Look! A palm tree!" 

We got in a cab, and immediately noticed two things.  One, we don’t speak Spanish.  We knew this of course, but it was still a shock to realize that me, with my twenty or thirty words of Spanish, was going to be our resident and incompetent translator.  I have words like hola, adiós, Buenos dias, gracias, de nada, beinvenidos, como estas, aqui, agua, frio, calliente, cerrado, banos – which means I can get beer and bathrooms with a reasonable degree of politeness, but is absolutely not enough to say "We would like to go to the house with the pink front by the hotel near the beach after Cabarette" which frankly, is the address we had. (Not quite, but like I’m telling the internet exactly where I am.) Through a series of butchered Spanish words, we managed to get there, mostly rescued by Hank, who somehow remembered the word for "pink" and that nailed it. 
(I have a feeling we have Dora the Explorer to thank for that.)  The second thing that we noticed is that people here drive, by Canadian standards (which is saying something) like LUNATICS. They should all be dead in the streets.  No speed limits here, no rules, no nothing.  Just you in a beat up honda with all your luggage, speeding down the road and dodging guaguas (little buses, full of people and chickens and boxes) and people on little motorbikes, all weaving and shouting and honking.  Nobody is dead in the street though, so it obviously works for them and they have the skills to handle it, and we just have to breath through it. 

We got to the little beach house that will be our home for the next little bit, and marveled at the view, the green, the palm trees and the sea, and got a little bit settled, and then Erin and I got brave, and went to the supermercado (supermarket) in Cabarette.  (The  frightening ride in a cab is here implied.) We saw tropical fruit and a few vegetables we didn’t recognize, and tried to buy milk, which turned out to be a little tricky.  There was white stuff in jugs in the cooler, but it turned out to be yoghurt, but after searching for a while, I remembered that the word for milk is leche, and asked for it.  We were pointed to sealed boxes sitting on the shelf next to canned beans. 

We ended up buying coffee, tea, boxed milk, sugar (that was confusing too) good bread, what we really, really think is cheese – then panicking and deciding to retreat until we could regroup – we grabbed six cold beers and left.  We’ll do better today. We had a beautiful sleep last night, listening to the sea pound right by us, and this morning I’ve found a good knitting spot, and made wonderful coffee.

It’s going fine and I love it.

182 thoughts on “From Cabarette

  1. Have a lovely time Stephanie.
    p.s will the finished baby blanket pattern be available to buy at a later date??

  2. Beautiful view! Have fun! I’m in Spain this week and unfortunately my college Spanish is buried pretty deeply in my brain. College was a long time ago. Foreign supermarkets are pretty much my favorite thing about traveling but yes, it’s stressful! Alcohol always helps.

  3. I remember being told by a driver in Jamaica that everyone knows to get out of the way. They never assume the right of way. There is no right of way, so you get out of the way. Amazing, and it works.
    I say find out what day might be market day – there might be a really great open air market.
    Also – a smile is international.

  4. Yay for Hank and Dora!
    I work in a factory that is bilingual (English/Spanish). Unfortunately I had twice as much French in school as Spanish. This leads to me saying things like ‘Buenas dias, Altagracia! Comment ca va?’ to the utter bewilderment of most everyone.
    Have a lovely time!

  5. Look! See! New Spanish words every day! Have a joyful time.
    I’m in California, and we’re waiting for the downpour of SNOW! Big, black dark clouds!
    Good knitting day.

  6. Si Si Senora! Es muy dificil hablar cuando no se las palabras!
    Ahem, having recently returned from an annual adventure to Mexico, I’m feeling rather fluent, but I’m sure that first line is not exactly what I meant to say!You will be amazed at how your language skills progress and you will soon be speaking “Spanglish”! No worries – everyone gets a laugh out of it so don’t be timid. To ask the word for something, say “Como se dice ______?” while pointing at the item. That goes a long way. And you have internet!!!
    Buenos Dias, Brenda

  7. What, you couldn’t find room in your suitcase for the rest of us? Oh, wait…you did bring The Blog with you, so I guess we are there. Relax on the beach, drink plenty of pina coladas, and gear yourself up for the Return of Winter. Tener un tiempo maravilloso!

  8. Enjoy the warmth and the sun! We just came back from a nice long warm vacation and now we are finding winter in NH quite lovely. I think it is the contrast between what you are used to and what you have now that makes it so charming.

  9. Wow – pictures are breathtaking! (As I enjoy a seasonally cool day here in Boston… Brrr..) I’m very envious. Have a fabulous time being warm – you deserve it!

  10. 😀 reading your description of the cab ride enduced flashbacks to the last time I went to the DR. Im not a religious person, but I was thanking heaven for my life when we got out of the car! I hope you enjoy your vacation!! And, beware the MamaJuana!

  11. Yay Dora! And the Dominican Republic looks like a lovely place to escape a Toronto February.
    Since you have the internet available – I’ll point out that Google Translate will make your prose sound like it was written by a demented two-year-old, but if you need to know just one word (like “sugar” – azucar), it’s pretty good at that. It’s probably feasible to translate your grocery list one word at a time, write the words down, and see if someone at the market can help you.
    (Useful phrase, phonetically: PWAY-day oo-STED eye-oo-DAR-may? No AH-blow es-pan-YOL. – Can you help me? I don’t speak Spanish.)

  12. I can’t believe a former La Leche League Leader would not remember the word for ‘milk’ right away!!

  13. That photo gives me infinite pleasure. I usually try to separate my identity from those of the bloggers I read, but I’m inexplicably happy for ya! Maybe because your picture puts me in mind of the cruise I have coming up in May. But mostly because you entertain and educate us so well, and you deserve this trip like crazy.

  14. Have a wonderful time! Try to forget about us – live in the present. Let time stop. Share all when you get back.

  15. I have always believe the two most important phrases in another language are:
    Where is the bathroom?
    May I please have a beer?
    Not necessarily in that order!

  16. Wait, I think having the words for beer and bathroom is an excellent start 🙂
    Also, like someone said, act interested and folks will help you. I had NO Portuguese for my business trip to Brazil and by the time I left I had please, thank you, good morning, beer and bathroom!

  17. So glad you’re having a good time!
    However I have to say that the white blanket perched next to coffee on a narrow ledge is giving me hives.

  18. I haven’t used it yet, but Google Translate has apps for the iphone and android that translate SPOKEN words into text. AND it can speak the new foreign word/phrase back to you. I’ve often used the g. translate website but this newer phone app seems brilliant!!!
    Disfruta los cafecitos, pan con guayaba y queso, y tostones!
    (tostones = amazing fried plantains – salty and savory, unlike the sweet kind many of us are familiar with)

  19. Does your smartphone (Iphone or Android) work there? There are some good translation apps available. Enjoy the warmth and sun for those of us not so lucky to have ocean views.

  20. Have a great time! Eat a dozen mangoes for me while you’re there! mmmm mangoes. =) Let us know the Mosquito situation, and if it rains. Really looking forward to living vicariously through you!
    Fun times!!

  21. Just for kicks, you could try this one out, and see where the cab takes you: “¿Dónde está la tienda más cercana de hilados? Por favor, llévame allí. Confía en mí, it de importante. No tengo ningún hilo más.”
    So glad for you that your whole family conspired against you for your own good!

  22. I had the Caribbean experience years ago and never regretted it. I am so very happy for you. Enjoy it Stephanie. You are meant to be where you are at the moment, with the blanket. Oh, the stories that blanket will tell.
    Thank you for posting and for the pictures. Great wishes to everyone with you.

  23. I cannot wait to see how those colors inspire your knitting. I am so happy everyone badgered you into enjoying yourself.

  24. Oh, yes! Self milk! It is a great alternative to reconstituted milk that costs $6.00 a gallon! Family and I lived in the USVI for three years 20 years ago and they had no cows there! Reconstituted milk was the only way to go, lasted longer and you really didn’t have to worry about refrigeration! So glad you are enjoying the beauty and warmth of the Carribean!

  25. the pictures just make me say “aaaaaaaaaah”. i feel more tranquil already! 🙂

    IF you get really brave, one of the groups there does a bike ride out to a little local zoo, followed by a boat ride to a beach-bar, and then a bike ride back into town, and there’s a park at the other end of town with underground fresh water lakes- you go swimming in a cave, and every time you dunk your head under water, you lose 10 years of your age. I am minus 30 years old, I dunked so much!

  27. Yay for you!!! Have the very best time. Knit, drink, rest, drink, sleep, drink, swim. Not necessarily in that order.

  28. I had the same milk issue in Sweden years ago. There was something on the breakfast table, next to the cereal called filmilk (can’t remember how it was spelled). The cereal went into the bowl, as you do, then the “milk”. Yeah, not so much. It was a runny type of yoghurt. Good but definitely not milk! Have fun for all of us.

  29. Woow.. it’s so weird to read that you’re in my neck of the woods! About two hours away, but still.. incredibly close by the usual standards.
    Enjoy Cabarete! We may have awful driving etiquette but our beaches are goooorgeous!!!

  30. I spent 6 months living in Spain with not much more Spanish than you have (and certainly not as much as my little granddaughter has, who gets hers from Dora, too). I managed to eat, find the bathroom, have entire conversations with people where I must have sounded insane… but Spanish speakers are forgiving of people butchering their language and are warmly friendly*.
    Enjoy the warm. It’s winter… I’m happy with just your picture of warm 🙂
    (*Not at all like France, where people sneered at me for my “Canadian” French. Duh, I learned it from Canadian TV).

  31. Speaking of Canadian French, why not go to the French Caribbean? Something to think of for next year?

  32. Someone told me recently that locations that drive in that manner actually have a lot less accidents. When the light turns green here, you assume you can move through a busy intersection (even though oftentimes, at no fault of your own, that is not true). But places like that, you never assume anything, because everyone is driving like they’re suicidal, so all drivers are super defensive. I think I’ll take my chances with the green light, but interesting nonetheless!

  33. You are going to want to try tostones (fried plantains) and guayaba (guava pastry). Have a blast!! Don’t burn your self too badly.

  34. Surely I’m not the only one tempted to say “Told you so!” Okay, so I didn’t really tell her to go; so many of you were doing so that I felt superfluous.
    Stephanie, I’m so glad you’re spending this time with your mother – as well as your sister and nephew. Mothers never stop needing time with their children! Enjoy yourself.

  35. Oh I loved my trip there, the one and only time I took a vacation to a tropical place! Do yourself a favor and go eat on the beach at Blue. Absolutley the most beautiful place I’ve ever been and the food was fab! Enjoy!!

  36. Queso. Makes sure what you are buying is Queso (cheese) from a Vaca (cow) if you want really decent familiar cheese. Also, my brother has a nice product if you really want it, that goes on a phone or Blackberrry or something called UltraLingua, and is a translation/dictionary thing you can down load from the web. Not to blow his horn or anything, but…

  37. As long as the taxi seats are still bolted down, you’ll be fine. I lived in China for a year, where they drive pretty crazily (add cargo bikes with squawking chickens hanging off the sides and towering stacks of cardboard to the above picture, and that’s China on market day), and I quickly learned to check the taxi seats before getting in. Nothing like ending up on your back in the back of the cab when the driver takes off!
    I wrote my locations down on in Chinese characters and showed them to the taxi drivers. Friends helped me write them, but they really helped since even if I could say where I wanted to go, my accent was confusing.

  38. Ahhh, yes! Thank you for reminding me that there really is somewhere that is warm, tropical and inviting at this time of the year!
    Enjoy your beautiful spot on the planet!

  39. So beautiful! I hope you have a wonderful, recharging time. They do have many degrees of milk and cheese. You might find a lovely white creamy gunk that is pure heaven on beans!

  40. I bought what I thought was cheese in Spain once – in my defence it did have the word ‘queso’ on the packet – and it turned out to be Marzipan, didn’t go so well with the olives…have a good holiday!

  41. It’s beautiful and exactly what a vacation should be. Going places where one has to work to be understood is a grand experience. Enjoy!

  42. And before he ever got out of the cab, Hank had the mind-boggling experience most of us only come to later, if at all — saying a word in a foreign language and actually having it mean something. Takes the whole notion out of “this is code they made up just to test us on” territory.

  43. Here’s what I know about Spanish. Cinco(5)=how much veggies I can get into an orange plastic sack at the Venezuelan Fruit Temple in downtown Bonaire. Abierto(“open” learned from Sesame Street or Plaza Sesamo)=your Spanish speaking maid leaves the door of your apartment open until you tell the manager that you meant “the door’s open” not “leave the door open when you leave.” Spanish is so confusing.
    I am envious of your view. Have a great time and remember you can smile and point in every language. Hasta la vista! (I learned that from Ahnold)

  44. Fantastic! Oh how I wish I was on a warm green beachfront too.
    Milk is far more common on shelf outside of North America. I know it breaks my brain to look for milk on shelf rather than in the refrigerator, but it’s how it is done elsewhere.
    Have a great time!

  45. Sitting here in chilly London (England) feeling ridiculously jealous. Have a wonderful time 🙂

  46. Thanks for taking time to post. I can feel the warmth through the computer. Have a great and relaxing time.

  47. Oh you definitely deserve that…but not the whole guagua/crazy traffic stuff. Enjoy the “cheese” (God I hope it’s cheese). Splash in the water for us!

  48. Gotta love those tropical blues and greens! It is almost startling to look at when the view out my window is all shades of brown and grey. Thanks for sharing, but now go and enjoy!

  49. oh oh oh oh – such beautiful greens and blues! Have a wonderful time, the three of you. I think I might have to knit something with a tropical color now….. hrmmmm…. Cheers!

  50. I would be happy to volunteer my 14 year old as official translator for you (he’s had 3.5 years of Spanish), but since he cannot fly alone, I would have to come with him.

  51. Brilliant! Enjoy the sunshine, the wonderful coffee, and the relaxation.
    My husband and I just got back from Bangkok–I totally sympathize with you about the people driving like insane people.

  52. sigh, so beautiful, so warm!! I love Dominican food…rice and beans,fied plantains(i prefer maduros)mafungo. I believe you are vegitarian so will not go into the meat(but that is good too). Not to mention all of the fruit! Have a wonderful time….I am not jelous in anyway shape or form. 🙂

  53. Have a wonderful time with your family. I guess that it is a good thing Hank liked the color pink so much! (I’m remembering the pink dragon mittens!) 🙂

  54. Have a wonderful time with your family. I guess that it is a good thing Hank liked the color pink so much! (I’m remembering the pink dragon mittens!) 🙂

  55. The language barrier is one of the things I’m a little worried about for when I finally get to go to Japan. I might have taken classes for years, but like most things if you don’t use it…

  56. You have a great view! Beautiful setting and oh, so relaxing-looking! The cab ride is oh so true! I live in South America and always have an “interesting” time in a taxi! And….I drive! Have fun in the sun!

  57. You may think they are insane horrible drivers, but truly, if they are not all dead, then they must be EXCELLENT drivers… (I lived in Greece for 18 years, trust me I know about crazy drivers, boxed milk, as weel as all the other WONDERFUL things about livig in Greece)

  58. Looks and sounds like heaven, especially as compared to snowy, icy South Dakota (where I am). “Queso” esta cheese. 🙂

  59. Have a wonderful time, but beware: my poor sister came home from her Puerto Plata honeymoon with a parasite that she has had trouble killing off. She apparently walked around shoeless somewhere she should not have! Or waded somewhere. Who knows?

  60. I think I have serious beach/warm weather envy. (3 feet of snow here on Friday and another 6 – 8 inches this morning, 12 degrees F to boot.) Your pictures made me go ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, in a good way. Hope you have a wonderful time!

  61. Enjoy. As long as you are not “ha ha, I’m in Cuba enjoying the sun. Don’t you ridiculous Americans be hatin’. It’s your own fault for not being able to visit.”

  62. I had the same reaction the first time I went South in the middle of winter – I’s like magic! You get on a plane in the snow and cold and you step off and it’s balmy and sea-breezy and intensely sunshiney. I love it. Have a great time. You will be AMAZED how good you feel (and for how long) when you get back to Toronto and how fast the winter seems to end. There really is something to the sun deprivation theories. (I’m in MN so I know.)

  63. I saw comments above that recommended using your phone to get translations – be aware that you might get hit with HUGE roaming fees if your phone continually downloads/updates. Turn it off! (or at least that feature) Have a wonderful, relaxing time – the green and sunshine look beautiful.

  64. Good coffee, great view for knitting and warm. See you should have listened to your mother the first time around! LOL after all, mother’s know best!

  65. Sadly, I speak no Spanish, but can someone who does please send on useful phrases like “can you please take me to a place to buy yarn?” or “how much per ball?” I have a feeling an on-line translator isn’t going to get very far with the extremely important questions. No guarantees about the availability of yarn, but hey, it’s worth a shot.

  66. Your cab ride experience brings back all the memories of our trip to india last year. every time we got into a car with a driver or into a motorized rickshaw it was a death defying experience and the honking never stopped 24-7. and unfortunately we did see a dead man on the side of the road one day in this remote farming village. they just can’t think to slow down and look before passing i guess….i had to keep my mouth shut since our daughter was in the car with us. i didn’t want her to see it. well, not to spoil your vacation….have an aweseome well deserved trip!

  67. Aah, Cabrete – claimed by many as the windsurfing capital of the world. Beautiful beaches and lovely water – lots to see and do above and below the surface. Lots of local little coves to snorkel and just vegetate. People are amazingly friendly, and frequently speak at least some English, French or German – lots of visitors from EU as well as North America. Sun is very deceptive in the breeze; don’t forget the sunscreen. Watch the roaming charges (turn on and off as needed). And, if you happen to stop into the dive shop in Sosua (you drove through from the airport in Plata), give Patricia and her husband our regards!

  68. Ooooh, I’m so jealous! Spanish was one of my majors in college (and has actually turned out to be far more useful than the other major, Biology, which has definitely been a surprise). I’d love to be somewhere I could butcher the language with gusto! (And given how many years ago college was, “butcher” is probably an understatement.) Have a blast drinking cervezas a la playa en el sol! When in doubt, say what you want in Spanish-accented French – you never know where the overlap might be…

  69. Wait til you see an entire family on a moped! Its definitely a crazy but beautiful country.

  70. View isn’t shabby!
    Have some tropical fruit for me.
    It all looks a welcome relief – great photos.

  71. I recommend plantanos (plantains), well-fried. No, not very healthy, but bananas are very good for you and you’re on vacation, darn it.
    It sounds like you’ve already got most of the important words: leche, azucar (sugar), pan (bread) cafe (coffee), and cerveza (beer). NOT to be confused with cabeza (head). Tequila is the same, should you desire some of the good stuff 😛
    Enjoy the warmth!! It looks absolutely gorgeous.

  72. Make sure you ask for platanos (fried sweet plantains)-you’ll like them better than the tostones. And most important, remember that you are on “island time” which means that everything is done much slower than up north so don’t be expecting “fast food or service” anywhere. Otherwise, enjoy!

  73. Thanks for sharing! It looks beautiful. I’m going to have a virtual vacation with you this week so keep posting!
    Have a great time.
    PS – I’m a real Hank fan so any Hank stories/pics will brighten my day. His photo-shoot of you in a new sweater (years ago) is one of your blog all-time highlights. 🙂

  74. My lovely parents took my sister and I to St. Maarten’s last June (late 40th for me, early 40th for the sis). The supermarket had little dixie cups of shaved ice and various bottle of rum just sitting out for us to sample. Never have I had such fun grocery shopping!

  75. Oh, you must have been EXHAUSTED! Milk must be one of the Spanish words you have said most frequently, as a Leader! But, I guess, context matters?
    Enjoy your vacation! You deserve it!

  76. sounds wonderful.
    life is a cabaret, time for a holiday! an appropriate song for your vacay except for the unfortunate line “put down the knitting”.

  77. Dora, Dora, Dora – the Explorer!!! If it helps at all some French and Spanish words are very close – so if you know any French you might be able to limp along a little more. Glad the trip is proving both an adventure and a delight.

  78. Usted Estas Aqui = You are here! (learned from a museum map in Mexico City, but always useful). Thanks to you, I just got to explain to my favorite Spanish 1 student why she’s in for a lifetime of wonderful vacations – yet another reason she loves Spanish class.

  79. Last year we went to Punta Cana and on the way to the airport, the van in front of us hit a guy on a scooter, the guy got up and started yelling at the van driver and our driver just drove around it all like it happens every day. Have fun on your vacation!!

  80. It sounds like so much fun! I hope you all have a great time. In the Caribbean and you are still knitting with wool? A little cotton and some Caribbean colors are definately in order here. 🙂

  81. Boxed milk from the supermercado. BTDT. Mystifying until you stop to contemplate how far refrigerated milk would make it in the tropics. Considering the alternative, you sort of come appreciate that your milk has a shelf life.
    Enjoy your well-deserved tropical interlude! It’s a visual treat for all of us, too. No guilt necessary.

  82. I’m sure you’ve figured out that you can have the interwebs translate your shopping list.
    The one piece of advice I remember getting is not to as if the shopkeeper has eggs. (Use “hay huevos?” rather than “tienes”.)

  83. It struck me when I read this how thrilling it is for your audience to see and hear about your trip. It’s a vicarious thrill, but a real thrill for all of that.
    I remember what it feels like to touch down in a tropical setting having left a cold climate. And having that feeling again, even for a minute, was divine. Thanks Steph!

  84. Palm trees, warm, sunshine…good coffee and adventure. Now all you have to do is find a yarn shop!

  85. The language problem reminds me of when I was in Italy a few years ago. I thought I was prepared with my smattering of Italian phrases (please, thank you, where is the…?) Then I realized I need to know not only how to ask the questions,but how to understand the answers. Big difference.
    Language barrier or no, enjoy yourself!

  86. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
    Si si, senorita, es un muy bein.
    Sorry, that is all the Spanish I know of…*sigh*

  87. I’m so glad yu are enjoying your winter break. When next you go grocery shopping, you might want to look for piloncillo sugar – unrefined sugar that comes in little cone shapes. You break off little chunks to put in your coffee, or to sprinkle over fresh fruit for dessert, or to mix with lime and rum and mint and seltzer for a mojito. Mmmm, mojitos.

  88. Maybe someone has already told you, I didn’t read all the comments…but none of the words you listed mean beer. “Cerrado” is the closest, but that means “closed.” “Cerveza” means beer. So if you ask at a bar/restaurant for “cerrado” they will probably give you a puzzled look, or tell you “no,” because they are in fact open. 🙂

  89. I was looking at pics some friends posted of their trip to Oslo, Norway right before I read your blog today. The difference in weather is as stark as a Munch painting. Have a beautiful time with your family in paradise!

  90. Traveling in Spain years ago in my 20s, I was genuinely astonished at how *useful* Sesame Street Spanish is (not to mention how well I had retained it). Glad to hear that Dora Spanish is also helpful.

  91. I HOPE you are not reading any of these comments. Please just enjoy drinking coffee, beer, margaritas, whatever…knit while you can and do not feel pressure to do anything you think you should be doing. Just relaaaaax and do nothing except what is fun. Soak up the air and ocean, breathe and have fun. WOW. I’m a little jealous and I’m not the jealous type :>)

  92. Luckily, the have plenty of beer there. Even if what you have isn’t cheese, and the milk is boxed. Have a lovely, relaxing (for you) time!

  93. When my husband and I were on vacation in Mexico, the taxi driver kept nodding off at the wheel while driving on the highway. We had to keep asking him questions until he got us to the hotel! Have a beautiful time at the gorgeous beach! A lesson for us all, always listen to your mother–lol.

  94. Enjoy!!! we just got back from a caribbean cruise and yes…we acted like canadian tourists too. Oh well! It was a blast and I didn’t learn one spanish word aside from Ola…and gracia… Soak up the sun and drink lots of Pina’s… I did!!!

  95. What a beautiful place to knit and gain inspiration for the next (after baby blanket) project. Enjoy every minute of the sun.

  96. Rolled on the floor laughing at your totally accurate description of the driving in the DR. You totally nailed it descriptively. Thank you for that.
    Enjoy and soak up the relaxation the ocean provides.

  97. It sounds glorious! Drink lots of delicious coffee and beer, and soak up lots of sunshine and warmth to carry you through when you get home. Most of all, though — enjoy!

  98. Still jealous. Wish I was there. But somehow I think the Canadian in the Carribean is much more appreciative of it than the Texan would be. Enjoy the sunshine and the breeze and tequila and cervaza.

  99. We were just there last Summe!r- stayed at a house outside of Las Canes, a small down just a bit farther East of Cabarete on route 5. And I brought my knitting and have pictures just like the ones you posted. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories. Enjoy watching the kite surfers!

  100. Grocery shopping in foreign locales is always fun! Lovely pics so far – enjoy every minute.

  101. Looks great. Enjoy! I’m so glad you didn’t listen to your readers who advised you not to blog at all on your vacation. I just checked in on the off chance… thanks!

  102. Enjoy your stay. I love tropical locations and the Dominican Republic looks perfect (Never been there, now it’s on my wish list).
    The first time I saw milk in sealed cartons on a shelf was in Europe. Turns out only Canada and the US refrigerate their milk any more.

  103. Language is always easier when you’re using it productively! I lived in Texas for 11 years and worked with a bunch of Spanish-speakers, so when I finally made it to Spain (jumping-off point for a cruise) I understood plenty and was fine with my map and phrasebook/dictionary to look up words, but things came to a screeching halt when I opened my mouth – I don’t actually speak any coherent Spanish! It was very weird, after having enough French, German, and Russian to get by in the appropriate countries..I kept expecting to be able to answer when someone spoke to me in Spanish and would be totally flummoxed when the wrong language popped out of my mouth! Craziness, but entertaining…
    Enjoy your warm sunny break!

  104. GOOD for you is about time you allowed yourself to have a real took me 50 years !! enjoy..AND THEN NEXT YEAR BRING jOE 🙂

  105. sighghghgh, just looking at the photos gave me a big swoosh of relax. Have the best warm refreshing time.

  106. Nobody in the universe deserves a nice relaxing vacation in a beautiful place. Peace and joy!

  107. cheese=queso. Suerte. (Good luck). 🙂 You’ll be fine, and have a wonderful time. And yes, the UHT milk on shelves thing freaked me out when I first moved to Spain. 9 years later I’m used to it, though I do still like fresh milk better.

  108. Have a superduper vacation out there. It looks positively glorious!
    More useful words: lana (wool), hacer puntas (to knit)

  109. Mafungo! Had it last time I was in NY, but forgot it was Dominican. Eat mafungo! Mucho mafungo! Y mas mafungo!

  110. The knitting must be in shock – isn’t it afraid that it won’t be needed in such lovely warm climes? 🙂

  111. Hi Stephanie, (love your name btw because my sister’s name is the same and I love her)
    We spent New years 2011/12 just down the road from you and loved it. We went on an outing to the Monkey Jungle and our first stop was Cabarette for shopping. We ate at a little place with very colourful walls and a little book library at the back and the food was really good. We decided on it because there were already Canadians eating there, haha.
    Hank would love the Monkey Jungle which is a santuary for Squirrel Monkeys and they offset the cost with Ziplining, which sounds scary but is fantastic and amazing and is even for children. The gentleman is a Texan and he has opened a clinic for the very poor up at their location as well. Anyways its about a half hour or so from you guys if you’re interested in doing anything fun outside of the beach and ocean that is.
    Have a wonderful time. Cheers from someone else who lives in the Lake Nipissing area of North Bay.

  112. I am from neighboring Puerto Rico and my husband was born and raised in Puerto Plata so here are some tips for you: The driving is crazy (and this is coming from a Puerto Rican) so avoid it as much as possible. Those little motorcycles are called motoconchos and they are like taxis, don’t be surprised if you ask where something is and they suggest you take a motoconcho and expect two or three of you to ride the same one. The food is fantastic. Plantains are eaten at every meal and prepared in every which way (green and fried, ripe and fried, smashed, boiled, grilled). Mangú is very common for breakfast and Tostones with whey other meal. What you bought is most likely cheese,they have a great cheese called queso de freir which is meant for frying and doesn’t melt and it is usually eaten with mangú. You can find really good street food at or around El Malecón. The power goes out often (this is why the milk is boxed) so people have their radios full blast so they notice when the power is back on so if you are taking a nap during a power out you might be awakened by really loud merengue, bachataor reggaeton. Remember that every Latin country is different, no one would assume the U.S. is the same as Australia or India but for some reason a lot of people get Latin cultures all confused so here are some common misconceptions: Tequila is Mexican drink, you can find it of course but it’ll be just like finding it anywhere else in the world, the real Dominican drink is run and Brugal is actually made right in Puerto Plata. (By the way, thelocal beer is Presidente and it is really good). Same thing for tortillas and hot foods. Latin-Caribbean foods are very rich and flavorful but not really hot and we eat rice and beans with lunch and dinner. You can get tortillas at a Mexican restaurant but again it would be the same as finding them anywhere else in the world outside of México. No one says things like “olé” (Spain) or “ándele” (México). I’ve met a lot of people that have been taught to say “no comprendo” for I don’t understand, although this is technically right I don’t know one native Spanish speaker who says that, what we really say is “no entiendo”. No for the bad news: I’ve never seen a real yarn shop in the Caribbean. There might be people tell you they knit but what they probably really mean is they crochet and it’s mostly doillies made out of fine cotton thread on metal hooks and maybe some acrylic used to do the borders of baby blankets. You would find these is fabric stores or some department stores. If you do find a yarn shop please post it here in case I have (another) yarn emergency next time I go. However, you being the Yarn Harlot and all I’m sure you came prepared. Hope this helps, have fun and enjoy, it’s pretty awesome.

  113. Grandson Ty and I are going to do a happy dance today in your honor. So tickled to hear you are there safely and enjoying that much earned rest.

  114. Stephanie. Stay. off. this. blog. and. enjoy. yourself. you. can. catch. us. up. when. you. get. back. xxooo Grammy Sue (I’m old enough to be bossy)

  115. Enjoy a Coke while you’re down there! If it was hecho en Mexico, it’s made with sugar instead of corn syrup. We can get them here in the midwest, but they’re kind of pricey!

  116. On the milk: it’s true, the rest of the world keeps theirs on the shelf because – get this – the rest of the world has figured out that irradiating food is an effective way to prolong shelf life! Maybe we’ll learn some day…
    Short version: don’t fear the boxed milk.
    Also, I’m unabashedly jealous. Vacation well!

  117. Did you use a travel mug for your airport/plane coffee this time? 🙂
    What got me on the islands, was the constant horn honking. Honks to say hello, move over, nice car, whatever! We were quite scared in Jamaica, and the billboards saying “Speed kills, slow down!” didn’t help!
    We also saw free range chickens in a park in downtown Georgetown, Grand Caymen. Everyone was ignoring them, but I thought they were cool. Better than rats, I guess!

  118. We stayed at a hotel near Cabarete just a couple of weeks ago. (Celuisma Cabarete) Be sure to go to Jose O’Shea’s for a beer on the beach, watch the windsurfers and beware the insufferable vendors who will try to sell you everything from tacky bracelets to hair braiding to home-made popcorn (The HEP-B is free) Don’t under any circumstances succumb to the temptation to get your hair braided – unless you look like Bo Derek you will look ridiculous!
    And when you leave, watch out for the customs inspection guy at the airport who will go through your carry-on and take all your batteries. Better put them in your packed luggage – and lock it!
    And have a great time – the rest of your visit!

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