My Dominican Diary ~ Extras ~

After nearly four years of living here, I thought I should jot a few things down, rather than just random Facebook posts. It really is a magical city, even though I do bugger all, like the shut-in I am, which makes it all the more exciting when I do get out.

This morning I was rather busy, and feel I’ve had a full day, even though I was out twice and still home by 11am.

I answered an ad on a Facebook group I belong to for a casting company looking for ‘foreign’ looking extras for a commercial. I sent them a picture and a few deets, like you do, and they said to come by where they were auditioning.

I looked up the place on the map and realized it was totes easy to get to, so good, I was going. I went for a run and then came home for a shower, then ate an entire pineapple, as you do. They are 4 for 100 pesos, so why not, is right!

I got ready and headed out. I love Sunday mornings here because it’s so quiet. I caught a public cab and all was good. A little way along, a young woman got in and gushed all over my tattoos. She spoke English and I ended up taking off my shoe and sock to show her one of my foot tattoos. She said I didn’t have to, but what the heck, right?

On her way out of the cab, she told me it was nice to meet me and said my tattoos looked good on me. I won’t lie, it was a bit of a relief. Like maybe she would have told me they made me look fat?

That last guy got out at a main street where the subway line is and is also where I get out to go to the passport office. The driver said something to me, like maybe I wanted to get out, as well, and then maybe he could go get a coffee and have a piss.

I said the name of the place I needed and then he nodded and carried on, pulling up and stopping for me when we got there. This is when I realized I had been here with my friend when we were trying to sort the banking nightmare.  I wandered around until I found a security guard, two of them in fact, sitting in lawn chairs, having a good chat.

They led me in to see two more guys on security detail, both of them staring at their phones. I showed them the company name and they did a lot of hemming and hawing, before deciding I was wrong. I went back out to the lawn chair men, they sent me to the hotel next door, who sent me back to the place I was meant to be.

The two inside finally walked me through the maze of hallways and closed businesses to the offices of the name I had showed them and yes, they were closed. One of the men kept telling me to come back tomorrow. While this was all happening, there was also a lot of walkie-talkie action back and forth.

Standing in front of the closed office door, I flipped it the bird and both men thought that was pretty funny, but on the walk back through the maze, the bigger one got a squawk on his walkie talkie and put his hand and his eyebrows up at the same time.

Yes, he nodded, there were some people here from the company, just arriving. Sure enough, when we got back a pair of youngish people, one of each, came in with backpacks and laptops and stuff, all official like.

We walked to the office, a different office space, and I said to the big security guard, ‘late!’ in Spanish like a cross school teacher and got another really good laugh and a pat on the shoulder.

Thankfully they both spoke English so things rolled along. She set up a laptop and he got out a camera and they took pictures of me against a white wall with florescent lighting. Great.

I had to hold a sign with my deets on it, like a mug shot, then a profile for both. As he was taking them, I was saying, Canadian woman arrested, found drunk and naked … if I don’t go for the laugh, my friends, I don’t go at all.

Short and sweet, I was back out. I had to walk the two blocks up to get the public cab back to my end of the city and ended up having one all to myself. After a few blocks, we were at a red light and my driver yelled over to the driver of a cab beside us, then said something to me, and when my only reaction was to stare at him, he said it louder and then louder. He finally handed me back my 25 pesos and motioned for me to get out. I got in the other cab and home we came.

It’s very exciting for me to go out on an adventure like this. I love taking the public cabs and love seeing that end of the city. It’s closer to hotels and casinos and tourist areas and I had spent a lot of time looking to find a place to live down there. Not that I don’t like where I live, it’s just a bit nicer.

I thought it was an exciting day, said the shut-in.

 

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Adventures in Passports

My passport is due for renewal. I won’t lie to you, it’s been a source of anxiety since about October. I don’t know why, but I have this unfounded fear of going somewhere where I have never been before.

If you are thinking, but you got on a plane and moved to the Dominican without ever being there before, you are correct. Yes, I had a lot of anxiety, but it was mostly for my cat.

The anxiety comes in small stages, the steps I have to take to get there, what happens when I get there, but the steps, the first steps.

I actually knew where I had to go. I looked it up and it’s just up the street from where the bus stop is, the major bus that I took to visit Santo Domingo from Sosua when I was apartment hunting.

I even tried to talk my friend into driving me, even though he just had knee surgery and can’t walk. I suggested he wait in the car, but I guess he can’t bend it far enough to drive, either. Whatever.

I took the public cab, and asked the driver if he could tell me when the street came up. He said yes and then continued to talk to the young man in the front seat. I kinda knew anyhow, just wanted that bit of insurance.

When the corner I needed came up, it was the young man from the front seat who told me it was my stop. Our driver had not once shut his hole the entire trip. Nice of the kid.  I love it when that happens.

I was going to take another public cab the other direction but the ones I saw were already about six people deep, so I opted to walk. I have been finding the weather this winter absolutely gorgeous, so didn’t mind.

I reached my destination in about half an hour, and will share with you this tidbit of trivia. Did you know the Canadian Consulate in Santo Domingo is housed in a building that also has a Hooters?  You’re welcome.

I walked up several flights of stairs, as it turns out, I didn’t need to. Had I just kept walking, I would have found the section of building I needed, Hooters-free. I stop in front of one of those ‘You are Here’ maps, it was a multi-layered mall. Loads of fast food places but nothing said ‘Your Passport here’.

Waaa… am I not in the right place? Next step of anxiety.

Then I asked a woman who worked there, and she shoved her cleaning cart behind a big sign for a store and lead me away. She took me to where I needed to go and come on, how nice is that! I love it when that happens.

The scenery went from shoe stores and French fries to security body scanners and scanners that read your face in order to get through. People were shooting through these turnstiles by their fingerprints. So Macgyver.

I signed in, got a visitors badge and then had to get through the turnstile, which was clearly locked but did not stop me from throwing myself at the locked bars like a demented toddler.

The guy who scanned me in then ran my purse through an X-ray as I was going through the body scanner. Here’s a tip. When it beeps, don’t throw your hands up and pretend you are being sprayed with bullets by jerking around, ala Bonny and Clyde.

Not only are there men there with actual guns, but the suits all coming in to work were not terribly amused. I already stand out here. Of course, I now had to get in to the elevator with them and ride the 18 floors. Luckily it went fast. Luckily they avoided eye contact.

Once I reached my floor, I was asked for my visitors badge. That’s right. I had a badge. Then I had to get my purse scanned again, like the kind at the airport, in case I found a Glock on the elevator and then through another walk through scanner, same beep, same ‘riddled with bullets’ routine, still no laughs.

Then, if that isn’t enough security, and I think it is, considering how un-secure most things are my new city, the woman helping me is behind, I will just assume, bullet-proof glass with just the smallest tray to put my documents in and then a lid slams shut, as if I might change my mind.

It was all over within about 10 minutes or so and I was free to reenact my ‘suicide by security guard’ two more times. On the way out on the ground floor, the security guard actually did laugh so my persistence in doing the bit til it works paid off. Once a comedian.

I was happy to be back on the street and was very relieved that it was all over. I walked back down the hill but in my delirium of the perfect weather and the anxious task long forgotten, I also forget that the street I need is a one way at that end. I decided I didn’t care and could have just walked back ups a block to get the public cab, but walked anyhow.

Did I mention the weather is glorious? Yes, I believe I did.