We finally arrived to Samana on Wednesday, June 29. A friend that we met on our last trip to Samana was able to pick us up from the airport and bring us 'home'... Thanks Natalie! We were so tired from the flights and overnight stay in the airport, that we slept so good that night. What a difference a good nights' rest does for you! We were up and ready to go Thursday morning.
We now live on a peninsula, so close to the beach. Where do you think our first stop was? The Beach, of course! It was beautiful... refreshing and we had a great time. Up until my daughter got stung by a jellyfish!! (Read about it here)
Friday was spent doing some shopping for things we needed around the house and for (finally) unpacking.... Priorities, people. These girls wanted to go to the beach first!
Saturday we ran a few errands and then studied for our weekend meeting. Weekend meeting is Saturday at 7pm. It was so nice to finally meet more of the friends.
A few things that we learned during the first few days here...
1. If you are walking around the streets, all the "moto-conchos" or "moto-taxis" ("taxi" service that will take you where you need to go - but it's a motorcycle) will ask if you need a ride. If you want to just walk, respond with "No, gracias." Rides are usually 40-50 RD each person (at least the one moto-taxi we took was 50 RD each). So from close to our home to the beach, our 'taxi' ride was about $2 for the four of us. The girls were so excited to finally take a 'moto' ride.
2. Everyone here in Samana is very friendly. It is very unusual to not hear a 'saludo' (greeting) from the people, either in the street or from their home. As we walk to and from the stores, Kingdom Hall and other places, you always give some kind of greeting.... "Buenos dias"... "Buenas tardes"... "Buen dia"... "Saludos".
3. Parties here are called 'pasaratos' or literally translated- pasar un rato or spend a while (spend some time). Which is what a party is essentially. The brothers here like to get together a lot, especially because there is a constant flow of visitors and needgreaters. A lot of brothers call Samana the 'airport' because so many brothers and sisters come through all year round, lol!
4. Cold showers are the norm here. However, living here in the heat, the cold showers feel wonderful! Taking 3 or 4 showers a day is common; and really it may not even be a real shower with soap. A lot of times its just to cool off and rinse the stickiness and heat away. We've found the best time to take a shower is right before bed as it helps you sleep better.
5. Fans, fans, and more fans. They are a must here! Air conditioning is great, but not everyone here can afford it; and as needgreaters, even if you can afford it you want to try to save and budget your money. So, we get fans like everyone else. They tend to do a good enough job keeping you cool. We may breakdown and get air conditioning for one room, but right now we're good!
6. If you're here to stay for awhile, for the first few weeks or even first month, be prepared to spend more than you planned. Why? Because you're still a tourist :) You will want to try everything and go different places, etc. You are a tourist for that time, and that's ok. Once you've done a few things and have bought all your essentials to setup your home, you'll know a lot better how and where to spend your money. You'll see your spending go down a lot.
7. In general, DR is never quiet. You will always here the sound of motorcycles going down the street, people talking loudly outside, and music almost always playing out of a store or someones house. Like anything else you get use to it and it doesn't bother you, but in the beginning it may be a little rough.
8. Don't drink the water. Let me repeat.... Do Not Drink The Water. This is pretty obvious to most people, but you need to be careful. It's not that the water is bad, it's that since the standards of cleaning the water are different in every country; our systems are not used to the levels of bacteria and other things in the water in whatever country. Therefore, you can get really sick if you drink water from the tap or someones house, restaurant, etc. that hasn't been properly sanitized. Sow hat do we do? We use what's called GSC (Grapefruit Seed Extract). It will kill any harmful stuff in the water that can make you sick. You can also use colloidal silver, white wine vinegar, or go old school and put a couple drops of bleach in your water. Everyone just buys the big water cooler bottles of water and uses that to drink, wash your fruit and veggies in. We also use it to do a quick rinse of our dishes after we wash them. Paranoid? Maybe. But I don't want to risk it.
I think that's all for now. Pictures will be coming later. Please check the blog periodically for more updates.
Thanks for reading!