Sunday, August 21, 2011

Assaulted at the Bus Stop

Yesterday Josh, the kids and I all headed to Jarabacoa for the day. Our mission: furnish the house in one fell swoop. We'd found an ad in the forums for expats living in the DR. A couple was moving back to the States and wanted to liquidate. Perfect. We had bartered over email and phone for a week, seen pictures, consulted our future housemates, and even found a reasonably priced moving company to get everything to Santiago. Last step: make sure it was what was promised and finalize the deal.
The trip, in a car, takes about 45 minutes. By bus? Two hours. Adventure, here we come again! We arrived at the bus stop--excuse me--the guagua stop and Josh went to buy tickets. In the meantime, vendors were swarming my small children with candy and promises of stomach aches.
The Guagua Station in Santiago
 I caved and gave each of them 25 pesos to get what had made their eyes bulge. I asked the price. "20 pesos," Sleepy-Merchant-Man told me. At that point, Josh came up and indicated he thought me crazy to give the children sticky, refined sugar at 10 am just before a day of travel in tiny buses across the country. Touche. But it was done. I turned back around to find Sneaky-Peddler-Man (A different guy. The vendor pimp, perhaps?) handing my children the objects of their affection. They gave him their 25 peso coins, he plopped them in his fanny pack, zipped it up and gestured with his hands, "That's it. Deal is done." I steamed for a bit, deciding if this would be my battle for the day and now I regret my decision not to say, "You're seriously going to try and rob 10 pesos from my little children?!" Admittedly, its only about 25 cents (USD), but still!

The fire sparked within me for the day, I stood, stewing next to the bus we were to take. Without warning, a man was rubbing his hand and arm across my breasts. That was it. I grabbed his arm without even looking at him and shoved it back at him, pushing him off balance. And he backed away behind me.
The bus driver, standing next to me, giggled and leaned in to me, "Esta ciego. He's blind."
I covered my face in my hands and awkwardly laughed a bit too, feeling awful. Looking behind me, sure enough, there was a man who was clearly blind stumbling around the bus stop, running into people and asking for money.
Once everyone was in the bus, Josh turned to me and pointed at Blind-Assaulted through the window, "Can you imagine trying to cross the street in this country?" I shook my head and told him what I'd just done. When Blind-Assaulted opened the guagua door and held out a water bottle with the top cut off, asking assistance from all the passengers, Josh plopped several coins in there. Hopefully my sweet husband has enough good in him to make up for both of us.

Relegated to the back of the guagua. I felt like a risky journalist taking this picture. Weeny, I know.
Passing homes and businesses along the way.
Some of the country with a side of thunderstorm.

A furniture store. Perhaps we should stop by there later.
The central plaza in Jarabacoa. A group of teenage boys were
break-dancing and jerking at the other end of the park. Some things are just the same.

Did we furnish our house, you ask? No, dear reader. And its a good thing that my fire was entirely extinguished with Blind-Assaulted. The couple decided to stay in the country. They were "still selling a few things though," and so hadn't told us of the major game change. It wouldn't end up being worth it for us to pay a mover for just a few things. We made our way back to Santiago, but not before tucking one last story into our travel belts. See you tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Maybe it is a good thing that Blind-Assaulted guy got the brunt. Rude rude rude not to tell you. I hope they felt bad when they saw you pull up on public transportation with two children flying high on sugar. Hang in there!