How far did I travel this week?:
I traveled 108 miles to Cabarete, Sosúa, Monkey Jungle and back to Santiago.
How far have I traveled on this journey so far?:
I have traveled 12,194 miles in the past six months.
How did I get around this week?:
I took a bus to the north coast. While staying in Cabarete, I took a taxi around town. To go to Monkey Jungle, I had to take a taxi along a lengthy, dirt road. Because the roads were so bad, my taxi driver waited for me in the parking lot of Monkey Jungle all day. He didn’t want to have to make the trip twice! I also took conchos to and from the bus stop. Do you remember what conchos are from my Transportation Field Note?
What was the most interesting place I visited this week?:
I visited Monkey Jungle, a monkey sanctuary and zip-lining course in Sosúa, on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. The monkey sanctuary has squirrel and capuchin monkeys. I walked through the entrance with a plate of food in my hand and the tiny squirrel monkeys jumped all over me! They were very light and friendly, though if you try to pick them up, they can bite.
After visiting the monkey sanctuary, I went on the zip-lining course. In order to zip-line, instructors strap you into a harness and give you a helmet and gloves. You have a special glove with thick leather on your right hand. With your right hand, you grab a cable attached to two platforms high above the trees. The instructors clip two pulleys to the cable and to your harness. Then you jump. You glide along the cable until you get to the platform on the other side.
I flew over trees and mountains on this zip-lining course. It was very scary because I was high up in the air and was moving very quickly. I was so high that I kicked the tops of trees by accident!
All the proceeds from Monkey Jungle go to fund an onsite medical and dental clinic that serves Haitians and Dominicans living in this remote countryside.
Other Travel News from this week:
Another friend from the United States came to visit me during his spring break. He went with me to the beach and to Monkey Jungle. I’ve had a great time helping him fall in love with the people, food and culture of this amazing country I call home!
Number of sunny days this week:
Number of cloudy days this week:
Number of rainy days this week:
Number of snowy days this week:
Number of windy days this week:
What is the air temperature right now in Fahrenheit?
90 (4:41 on Thursday)
How was the weather this week?:
There was a large rain storm this week and we lost power for over an hour at the hotel. Otherwise, it’s been getting hotter and hotter. There have been a lot of cloudy days, but it’s still very warm. That gives me plenty of reason to go to the beach!
What animals did I see this week?:
I saw a bunch of capuchin and squirrel monkeys. None are indigenous to the island, but they’ve made themselves a home there. The squirrel monkeys are light and friendly. They have adorable little faces and soft palms. It was fun to watch them jump and play and climb all over the place. The capuchin monkeys can have more of a temper, so they have to stay in a cage. They like to steal things like cameras through the bars of the cage. They can also bite. The capuchin monkeys have the intelligence of a four-year-old human child and the squirrel monkeys have the intelligence of a one-year-old human child.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week?:
I saw the beautiful mountains of the Dominican countryside while flying over them on the zip-line. At first, I was too scared to open my eyes. But once I got used to the speed and the height, I opened them and looked all around me. I could see the tops of trees, acres of farmland stretching over the hills and the breathtaking mountains in front of me.
What main languages are spoken here?:
People in Cabarete and Sosúa speak Spanish just like in the rest of the country. Anywhere where there are tourists, people speak English, too, since there are many North Americans that come visit.
What type of money is used here?:
Dominican pesos (PAY-sohs) are the currency, just as in the rest of the country. $1 US is about 40 Dominican pesos. Taxis and restaurants often charge North American guests in dollars or simply charge more because they know that the average North American makes more money than the average Dominican.
What was the best meal this week?:
I ate chicken empanadas with my friend from the States. It was his first time trying these delicious, flaky meat patties, and he adored them!
What music did I listen to this week?:
I listened to a salsa song called “No Te Irás” (no tay ee-RAHS) and tried to teach my friend how to dance salsa. My dance class had a large party where we presented the routines that we learned over the past two months. My beginners group danced to a merengue song called “Cuando Nacen Amores” (KWAN-doh NAH-sen ah-MOH-rays) I heard a lot of salsa, merengue and bachata at the party.
What activity was the most fun this week?:
Zip-lining was the most fun activity this week. I had never done something so scary before! It was an amazing, exhilarating experience. I got to learn about a great organization that helps low-income Dominicans and Haitians. I also had the opportunity to meet new people and see an amazing view of the Dominican countryside.
What did I read this week?:
I continued reading the metaphysical thriller called The Law of Love by Mexican author Laura Esquivel.
What games or sports did I play this week?:
I went swimming in the ocean in Sosúa. The water was very warm. I tried to teach my friend to tread water, but he couldn’t do it. I almost got sucked into the ocean myself. There are no lifeguards on the beach in Sosúa so it’s important to go swimming with other people and be very careful in the water.