Well. Here we are, then. Teetering on the brink of the old one, about to dive in to the next. It’s different for all of us, some looking forward to seeing the back of 2016, others may have had a good one and be sad to see it go. It’s been a proper bitch for the celebrity death toll, but it really only affects of superficially, doesn’t it? We like their movies or music, but it’s not really OUR loss, is it?
I’m pleased with this past one. Mostly near the end. My old landlord showed his true colours, greedy green, so it seems, but it meant a move to a better neighbourhood and way cheaper rent. When I say better, I mean for me. I lived in the ‘burbs before and hated it. All my neighbours had maids and no one of those fuckers could be bothered to take out their own garbage. I mean, what?
My new place is very close to a main thoroughfare. It’s loud, busy, noisy with horns, people yelling, car alarms, music blaring, the honking or shouting from the fruit and veg vendors and I LOVE it! Before my view was a parking lot, now I can see for miles… and miles and miles… (Little Who reference for those in the know) I can walk to the stuff I need, hang my knickers on my balcony to dry (absolute NO-NO at last place) and buy almost anything I need from my door step. There are about five or six colmados close to me and they will deliver anything. Well, they would if I knew how to ask for it.
My newest favorite thing is the public taxis. They travel up and down the same route all day. All the major and even minor streets have them and in any country these cars would not be deemed road worthy. I had taken them when I lived in Sosua to Puerto Plata but my ‘car mate’ (won’t call her friend) and I paid for the whole back seat, so twice as much. But for a long trip, it’s fine. Here, it’s perfect. The first time I took one, I handed the driver 50 pesos and was ridiculously delighted when he handed half of it back.
Here, it’s 25 pesos, which is about 70 cents Canadian, and you can go three blocks or three miles. I would have taken them in my old ‘hood, but they don’t go off the beaten track, just the main street, so it wasn’t really worth it as I still had another ten minute walk to get home. They stuff 2 in the front and 4 or 5 if they are small in the back. These are not big cars.
I love them. The cars are complete pieces of shit and it’s a wonder you make it there. I had my Brad friend here for a week and we took them several times. He loved them, too. These cars are everywhere, stop for you and drop you off absolutely anywhere. I find it so civilized. It’s the best way to travel here. We had a joke that the ride itself was 10 pesos and the rest was a gamble whether you would make it or not. There is often no inside of the doors, just the metal and a bit of coat hanger to keep the thing closed.
One day, we walked to the grocery store, had a wander through a department store, had a pizza, then bought pineapple off the truck. We hopped in a car, Brad got in front and when I jumped in the back, I was only slightly surprised to find no floor. I sat speed eagle with all our groceries on my lap while the woman and her daughter stared at us.
It’s great. My move has been great. Mostly, I feel like I finally live here. I had to buy a fridge and stove for this place, both of my other places were ‘furnished’. So, it’s all mine now. There is nothing fancy about the neighbourhood, except that it’s fabulous! There is a great flea market that sets up on Sundays but I walked past today, being two days before new year’s day and it was rocking. it’s like Goodwill is having a yard sale. Plus, I have the Caribbean ocean out my back door, a new language I’m still trying to learn and new people to meet.
The bonus, as well, in a way, is that I’m almost out of money. I can’t afford to leave even if I wanted to, I don’t, but now I have to survive, which is great and scary and exciting and what life should be. So, this year, my friends, ignore what your mother told you about getting in to stranger’s cars. Take a chance. Pay the 25 pesos, get in the car. You never know what you’ll find. Perhaps yourself.