Sunday, May 30, 2010

2010 Summer Tour: The Dominican Republic at last

Mari Oye '11, YGC publicity chair, on our arrival in Santo Domingo.

A brief post about today's journey. You'll be reading accounts from many more Glee Clubbers over the next few days, as we go up into the hills of the DR to do a sort of creative arts outreach program. For now, I'll do my best to keep you up to date.

I'm on the top floor of our hotel in San Juan de la Maguana, watching a thunderstorm. First impressions:

This is not Florida. This is very starkly not Florida. It teems in a way that Florida doesn't. It's certainly very beautiful - we drove past fields of banana trees, tall mountains on the right, azure sea on the left. Caroline Mezger '10, from Switzerland, was especially glad to see mountains again. The flame trees reminded Rebecca Trupin '11 of Tanzania.

It's also very poor. There are piles of garbage that no one picks up, and shacks of cinderblock and corrugated tin. I woke up yesterday - was it only yesterday? in Winter Park, to see the sun rise over a lake that hosted jetskis, speedboats, decorative plastic Canada geese and a real stork. Oh, and alligators.

The DR is different. The buildings in Santo Domingo are painted pastel, sometimes with the very-recognizable names and faces of ballplayers. Outside the city, we drove past stands selling bananas in bunches and multicolored umbrellas with advertisements for Pepsi and Fanta. There are eroded ditches - very dry - and laundry hung on fences.

From the hotel roof, I can see the storms coming from far away, and the clouds stand out against the sunlight in the rest of the sky.

Favorite moment of the day: Diving into a cold pool after a long, hot bus ride.

Song of the day: "There but for Fortune"

Tomorrow: travel by flatbed truck to Vallejuelo, outreach, and a concert.