Dec 30, 2011

Vacations at the "La Española" Island

This reservation certainly wasn't like any other I've ever done at any other place. should, perhaps, be a bit more clear about things... or should the hotels? Well, as you might guess, a non-really-geeky person like me, needs, NEEDS! her daily fix of internet connection in any shape of form available, so it is a mandatory requierment for any, ANY reservation I make, that the hotel has wi-fi or any other form of internet available, preferably one where I don't have to wait for some sweaty ass tourist (even though I'm a tourist myself), to detach their fat asses from in front of the communal internet, which usually has a large screen and everybody waiting can see what you are doing on-line. Not like I do any unseeming stuff (except when I scout yaoi mangas, which I have been doing quite often recently), but still. There's an option for that, which Booking already clicks for me "wi-fi", so when I did the reservation for the hotel, I was under the naive impression that I could come up to the room, log in and tweet to all my friends and followers that I'm nice and fine and made it to the hotel just dandy. You know, the regular stuff you do within 140 characters on Twitter.

It wasn't so. I do got informed of this after the reservation but before the trip, however I was told that wi-fi was freely available at the common areas. Oh well, we might manage, all I need is Internet and get online to breath my daily dose of Mb. However as we actually arrived to the hotel, what would you know, but you can't actually get any Internet if you don't pay for it! US$6 for 24 hours. Ok, ok, it's not so. Once you can link up on the bar for 10 minutes without paying. Dude, really, what the fuck can you do in 10 minutes on the net? Check on the news? Google something? My Kindle wouldn't even be able to download a sample from the lastest book samples I've requested! (Which do not take 60 seconds to download, btw...) So, really, 10 minutes? If you wonder what sort of cheap ass motel are we at, no, we are not. We actually have reservations at a big chain hotel, which is why this whole picking and pulling with the tourist is so offsetting for me. But I shall not complain, I've my internet, right? Already reported to Twitter and Facebook, like any dutiful little cybernaut, and now I'm merrily blogging my head away while my sweet boyfriend sleeps.

The city so far has been... interesting. It is certainly upsetting the amount of people outside the hotel harrassing you into shoe polishing (Dude, I'm wearing linen shoes! What do you want to polish on them! my boyfriend also had some unpolishable shoes...), and guided tours on horse pulled charriots... and when the "no thank you" isn't enough -  in Spanish, so that they see this is another Latin American fellow they are harrassing - comes the "I need to eat" line. Dude, me too! We don't have a DIME on their currency... or any currency other than Costa Rican colones, which we need, thank you very much. So, what do you want? They are rather unbeatable, and I honestly sulk that my boyfriend isn't a little darker in complexion and less... European looking. That was unpleasant. It was also quite unpleasant to notice the whole seashore littered. Dude, people come here for the beaches, so even if you can't swim in these particular shore, you should make sure there aren't banks of garbage floating on the water, and all sorts of stuff lying around the shore.

Historically speaking - and my history knowledge is very unreliable! - this was the Island to which Christopher Columbus arrived in his first trip, believing he had arrived to India. How far he was from the truth! The island was first called San Salvador (Saint Savior), because it appeared on the day the crew was going to dump him in the water and turn back. Later on it was called "La Española", meaning "The Spanish (woman)". The local natives, the "tahínos", were exterminated, leaving the island with no local people. The current population is also somewhat different from the Latin Americans you can see in other places, as in other countries the mixing of Spanish and Native blood is far more common, as well as mixes of white and black, black and native or all three of them, giving fabulous mixes of caramel skin or olive skin, high cheekbones, large eyes, small noses and abundant, straight, strong, pitch black hair. In here, missing the native component, most locals are rather a black and white mix, with milky caramel skin, curly hair and very prominent black features such as the magnificent cheekbones and expressive faces, and hairier limbs.

We haven't seen much yet, and honestly we have only one full day left - tomorrow - but so far, so interesting. Naturally, and as expected, I've got something pretty. ^_^ Once, in making a research on gems, I cam across a gem known as "larimar", which can be found only in Dominican Republic. Back then the research was tied to Pagan practices, and I taped a list of gems and their magical properties (many of which are often present in folklore, such as stones used for protection and things like that). For this particular stome I don't remember any of the properties, as what caught me was it's uniqueness: a gem that can only be found in one place and one place only in the whole planet: here. Abundant back in the day, though never used before as a gem, it was discovered as so recently  - in 1974 - by a man named Miguel Méndez, who started a local project to use it stone in artisan creations.

In colorings that remind of the sky or the ocean, the larimar (called so in the honor of the founder's daughter, Larisa, and the sea, "mar" in Spanish), is usually blue with white ribbons and splashes that give it often a "sky like" look. Like a sky with clouds. Once here, I also discovered that it can also contain brown (that's like the crust part of the stone), which can give it really interesting shapes and forms. Mine was actually the smallest ring in the store - interesting for my hand isn't so small, and judging by the finger I'm wearing it, this should be at least a 7, and most women I know wear ring sizes 5 and 6, many even 4 - but also one with brown, which not only gives me a wider range to combine the piece, but also rips it from the sky-like look and lends it an ocean floor look. I totally love it. :-D

Well, I should get going, wake up my snoring boyfriend, and though the lunch time is over, maybe do our first "service room" order and fetch some lunch. It is late, for lunch (though I've met people who take lunch well past 6 pm), it was so hot earlier we could hardly think of eating. Yes, that's yet another great thing about this island: I bet in here you drop pounds off your frame like nobody's business! If that's what you are interested in :-D

Oh, one last thing: at the Airport in Costa Rica, I discovered a magazine I've never seen before. It's "Latina", a magazine aimed at the Latin and Latin descendent women living at the States. Guess living in a Latin American country you kinda lose out of sight the issues connected with our etnicity. Then, did you know that the "white-latin" mixes are called "beige". I don't think I like that. That's like being called a "blah" color, when there's nothing "blah" about us. There were quite a few very interesting articles, though when it came to fashion, the proposals were so bold, so sparkly, so flashy and so revealing, I found myself reaching out for comfort into my Hungarian heritage mumbling: "I'm European, I'm European". I'm Latin, only not THAT Latin. I like skirts at knee lenght, clothes that do not try to choke my body and quite muted colors. Still, the finding was interesting.

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