First, some housekeeping. You might notice that I've added a little "like" button at the end of the posts. That way, even if you're too idle to make a comment, you can click the little square and I can get all kinds of warm, fuzzy feelings about my readers.
It keeps me going.
So, Miss Lisa, who considers her powers of navigation to be far superior to mine own, led the way as we searched for the Mercado Modelo. It took a while for us to find it. Finally, two sweet little girls took pity on us and led us down the last couple of streets.
We had been told that this was the place to buy art. Dominican and Haitian art have a distinctive "look", primitive and colourful. The Mercado is a market hall, packed with vendors who sell every kind of Dominican handcraft imaginable. It was inaugurated in 1942 by the dictator Trujillo. I suspect it began as a farmers' market and has transformed into the biggest tourist trap ever. Go here to see a picture and short description.
As we entered the market, we were accosted on all sides by vendors, all determined that we should enter their stalls. I would have been easily distracted from my purpose, but Lisa made sure that we followed only the art vendor, who lured us up some narrow stairs to his establishment.
That girl really hates shopping, did I tell you that?
It was tough to choose from the plethora of art pieces, but I finally settled on two of them and then began the hard work. I paid a little more than I was planning, but much less than he asked, which seems to me to be the sign of a good bargaining session. There was much mi amor-ing and shaking of his head, and I had a great time mi amor-ing him back, not believing at all that I was breaking his heart. He removed the canvases from their frame and rolled them up. I insisted on his giving me my change (oh, mi amor!) and off we went, with nary a look to the left or right.
Our next destination was the Alcazar de Colon, built and occupied by Christopher's son, Diego. It houses a museum, and by golly, a museum was what we were after!
So here we go, walking down this street and that, admiring the sights.
Really old buildings and a really new Hummer.
They're everywhere, they're everywhere!
After a lot of walking down some very scary streets (Hey Lisa, Jeff would be really unhappy if he knew that I was walking in this neighbourhood) and a lot of really bad directions from people who, I think, were deliberately trying to mislead us, I spotted a handsome policeman-type dude. He was wearing a very fetching blue uniform and carrying an efficient-looking gun. He was chatting on the street when I rudely interrupted him and asked him how to get to the Alcazar. He motioned us onto the sidewalk and we conferred for several minutes over our pitiful map, which had so far done us very little good at all. He spoke fairly good English (yay!) and finally realized that his map-drawing skills and our understanding of his directions were not coming together. He smiled good-naturedly and offered to walk with us.
Walking with Victorino Amado was a completely different experience than walking on our own.
He stopped traffic for us.
He bought a coconut pudding (his favourite kind) for us at a little store.
Which we shared with him.
He shepherded us across busy roads.
We walked a lot faster.
He told us that he was a guard at the Vice President's office.
And that his last name is the past tense of love, which he makes sure to mention to the girls.
And that he learned English at school but practises on his own because he wants to come to America some day.
We chatted and laughed and hustled all the way to the Alcazar.
It was a bit awkward after that, not quite knowing how to go our separate ways.
Lisa and I decided to walk to the road that borders the sea, so Victorino walked with us some more.
Finally, he went his own way, but not before exchanging email addresses and giving us each a heartfelt kiss on the cheek.
Memo to self: Cross that one off the bucket list.
Is Jeff reading this?
So we walked...
Except for the odd landmark here and there...
...and then we turned inland and walked a whole bunch more, zigging and zagging until we finally got back to the temple.
Except for the brief stop at the little ice cream store, just before we reached home, where we each had an ice cream bar and it was the best thing we had ever tasted.
That's about it. We spent most of Tuesday in temple.
I'll leave you with a few daytime pictures of it.
This coconut tree has over 60 coconuts on it.