Tried the buffet breakfast at the hotel this morning. Everywhere, including the Palacio’s own website, it says free breakfast is included but there is no free breakfast. (Or should that be free lunch!) Anyway, for $7.98 USD (plus the exorbitant RD 28%tax) you get a rather nice spread of hot and cold, variety of meats, cheeses, cereal and juices, and tea and coffee. It was very nice.
Then, I headed out south toward the waterfront, taking pictures of the neat places I’d seen yesterday from the tourist choo -choo but hadn’t been able to get clear shots of. I got some much nicer pictures of Parque Duarte and the statue of Juan Pedro Duarte (for whom both park and street have been named), a Dominican writer, activist, poet, military leader, and liberal politician, one of the “founding fathers” of the Dominican Republic, and crossed over to the Convento de los Dominicos and the little square between the church and its parish community centre where they run all kinds of programmes for both children and adults. They had an art programme going on this morning. The convent itself wasn’t open but enough doors and gates allowed me to get enough photos to get a good idea of the insides.
Walking on towards the water, I saw some well-cared for homes and also the Spanish Cultural Centre. The park that stretched across my side of the street along George Washington Ave (the Malecon) had interesting defensive features as well as providing good shade.
There were no stoplights and although there was clearly a crosswalk, it was a heavy traffic street and I had just given up on attempting to cross and had started back toward El Conde when I passed a couple headed toward the beach. I asked the lady if they were going to cross and she replied, “We’re going to try”. So the 3 of us held hands and away we went. They are Rolland and Joanne from Quebec City, here on a mission to build a school in a rural area north of here and have the weekend off. They’ve actually rented an apartment in Santo Domingo for a month after their mission trip is over.
We travelled together down the avenue and then crossed back and worked our way back to Parque Independencia, which is more like a fortress, and then along El Conde until we parted at Calle Duarte where I turned back to my hotel. They had people they were meeting for lunch and I needed a shower and a nap before finally heading to the pool.
In addition to swimming and getting some sun, I’ve been doing some reading at poolside so completing more books than just reading in bed and more relaxed than the early days of the vacation when I was driving most of the day. Before I left Miami, I finished The People of the Raven, a book by two archaeologists about very early west coast rival tribes which I found rather gory at times and a bit of a slow read although it gave an interest insight into the cultural history of the various tribes. The introduction and epilogue were extremely interesting as these archaeologists talked about recent finds that seem to prove that Caucasian’s also inhabited North and South America from ancient times and the controversies surrounding it all.
After that, I did a quick read of a Robyn Carr book called The Wanderer. This was book one of a three book series, books two and three of which I had read in backwards order at my sister’s over Christmas. I enjoyed all three very much but possibly book three the best. The last two days I read Murder at the Academy Awards by Joan Collins — a bit of fluff but kind of fun for a murder mystery — my favourite genre. Now I’m reading Michael Crichton’s Disclosure which I have seen in movie version starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore and I’m enjoying all the behind the scenes technical development that didn’t get as much focus in the movie. How nice to be reading in sunshine at poolside In the middle of January!
Dinner out tonight at Pizza Hut with leftovers for tomorrow and a little dessert from a very nice little café, then maybe a stroll down El Conde for another of those amazing frozen yogurt smoothies. Taken to working on the blog in one of the various alcoves around the hotel. Tomorrow I should hear from a friend who arrived in the DR today and hopefully we’ll have a chance to get together before I head back to Miami. She stays further north, a part of the island I haven’t seen. Day after tomorrow is my meet-up with Eduardo and his mom — so looking forward to it. Lovely breeze out this evening — perfect end to a perfect day. Cheers from Santo Domingo!