Yesterday J.P. and I both missed school because he needed to go to the hospital for a check up after all of the weird health things he has had lately and I needed to translate for him. We had some trouble getting the day off and then even more trouble when we went to two hospitals and were not able to be seen in either of them. The first hospital looked like a U.S. hospital. It was big and clean and had plenty of nurses working information/appointment desks.
The second was like falling into the third world. There were a couple of information desks which were behind glass so you had to ask your questions through a small hole at the bottom like you were at a high security bank or a convenience store in Detroit. We were told there that we could not be seen until Monday unless we wanted to go into the emergency room. We decided to go just to see if we could get in (sorry Lucy, we were being that drain on the system that you so hate). In the U.S. when you go to the "Emergency Room" you go to the waiting room, wait forever, and then finally get in to see the doctor. Silly me, I assumed that was what this was going to be.
We walked into the room and there were about 6 beds which did not have curtains around them filled with very very sick people and then chairs lined up against the wall with more sick people waiting to be seen. The doctors were going from bed to bed to check out the patients while everyone else watched and heard everything that was said. JP and I quickly realized that our emergency was not like these people's emergencies, so we got the hell out of dodge. On the way out JP said, "I didn't want to stay in there because I thought we both might get really sick." Very wise, JP.
After that little hospital adventure was over we picked up our missing laundry from the lavandería (laundry mat meets dry cleaners) and walked home. JP went to swim at Centro Olympico and I went wandering around. I did a little bit of shopping with no luck, and then I found a used book store. I went in to see if they had any books in English but there were about 6 of them and they were all terrible looking. I started to browse the Spanish books then this guy came up to me and told me that he worked at the store too but he also sold some face cream that he wanted me to buy. His exact words were "The cream would take those little marks on your face right off." I don't know what marks he was talking about but I do know that after that I was far less inclined to buy from him. He then told me that he did massages to remove fat and cellulite and relaxing BATHS in the back of the store and asked me if I would be interested in either of those. I said I would not. He then asked me if he could have my phone number. I said he could not. He then asked me if I would like to go to church with him. I said I would not. I told him that I had a boyfriend and he asked me if he lived here in the Dominican Republic. I said that he did. He finally relented and went away. Good Lord. I have never been so annoyed in my life. Also it's too bad because I really liked the book store (I bought Gulliver's Travels in Spanish, "Viajes de Gulliver") but I will definitely never be going back there again lest I get offered another relaxing bath.
After that I went in search of coffee. I found this place that I want to take everyone who comes to visit out for a nice meal. It was this two story place with really beautiful french/italian music playing and delicious food. Unfortunately I don't know what the name of it was, but it was one street east of Duarte and two blocks north. I had eggplant and rice and beans. Yum.
After that I decided to go to the salon to get my hair straightened. This is a cultural experience that I thought I should have. All of the Dominican women I know go to the salon at least twice a week and get their hair blown out. Any time they are wearing their hair down it's because they have gone to the salon. It's sort of strange, but I felt like I should be a part of it. The whole salon process was nice, I got my hair washed and then someone went to town on straightening it, but basically the second I walked outside it began to curl again. It is just too humid here. I guess I won't be doing that again.
I met up with Stacy and we went to a mall to shop (Acropolis). We didn't really have any luck so we went back to their apartment, picked up Doug, and went to get a beer and some cheap Mexican food. The best thing about this city is the number of restaurants where you can get pretty cheap food. After dinner we all came back to my side of town and hung out at our apartment with JP and Bridgitte. Overall, a very eventful day.