Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Getting to Know Our Neighborhood"

"Getting to Know Our Neighborhood"
Elder Darrel L. Hammon

One of the fun things Joanne and I did on Saturday was become better acquainted with our neighborhood. We walked down to the hardware store called “la ferretería." I had earlier had a key made, and it didn’t work. I took it back. One of the men there took it and re-did it. He then handed it to me and said, “If this doesn’t work, bring back the door.” With that we said good bye and headed across the street where we took a look at some artwork.
Passage way
The art place is really an abandoned corner where people show a variety of Dominican and Haitian art. It was located on the corner of Pasteur and Independencia, one of the busiest streets in Santo Domingo. The front of the lot has the art hanging from clothes lines or just sitting on the ground. In the back of the lot sits an old estate. While Joanne was looking at the art, I walked to the back of the lot to the estate. Before I did, though, I did ask permission from the gentleman showing Joanne the art. He didn’t seem to think there was a problem.
Here you see some windows from the estate. I suspect it was quite an estate back in its heyday. As I was taking pictures on the front, a gentleman comes running across the lot and says that he is “attending” the house but indicated I could go ahead and take pictures. It startled me just a bit because I had already asked permission of the gentleman in the front of the lot. He introduced himself as “Samuel,” the attendant of the property.

Of course, I had to take picture of “Samuel,” the supposed attendant. While I talking to him and his companion, here came Joanne with the art guy around the corner of the old house. They were on their way to another art place just down the road. Come to find out, they are all connected. As we began walking, Samuel stopped me and told me he was hungry. I had him repeat what he said because I wanted to make sure what was happening here. He again told him he was hungry, which meant he wanted some money. So, I snagged two, ten peso coins (about 50 cents) from my pocket, gave them to him, and thanked him for allowing me to take pictures of the house. As we walked across the empty lot, I asked the art guy about “Samuel.” He said that he was really a pretender. So, I had just been had. But one never knows, and I surely didn’t want to encounter any problems.
Mom in front of hotel with the Fritznel painting
On the way back from the art place, we found a hotel that had the type of painting Joanne was looking for painted on his wall. We chatted with “Raul” the guard about the painting. It is by a gentleman by the name of Fritznel; so, now we know the name of the artist. So, Joanne wanted her picture taken in front of it. I wanted to take a picture of Raul, but he said he couldn’t because he was dressed in his security uniform. Then, Raul took us into the hotel and introduced us to the gentleman who managed the restaurant. Actually, it was a bar-restaurant. The menu looked good. We thank Raul and continued our walk.
We stopped at a Villar Hermanos, restaurant/sandwich shop on the corner of Independencia. We walked in, and the young woman at the front greeted us. We asked to look at a menu. She was very obliging and gave us a couple to review. She even asked us to take a seat while we looked at a menu to see what they served. Joanne and I sat down and reviewed the menu.
Richard at his "Colmado"
Villar Hermanos is like a Subway shop. The menu had some delicious-looking items on it. This is probably a place we will come back to eat. We thanked the young woman and continued our walk. We stopped at a little store called a Colmado. Richard greeted us and told us a little about his Colmado . We bought a papaya from him after he told us about the fruit he had in his store. Richard explained to us about the seasons and when papayas were in season and what they looked like when they were ripe. He was gracious enough to have his picture taken.
Villar Hermanos and the water store
We walked home and then we drove back with our two water bottles to Villar Hermanos. This place also has a hotel and a water purifying plant along side. Joanne and I drove up and paid the cashier 40 pesos (a little over a dollar) to fill two, five-gallon bottles. We placed our number “99” on the bottle, handed it to the attendant who put it on the conveyor belt. We then watched it go the cycle of cleansing, filling, and capping. Within a couple of minutes, our two bottles had been capped. We took them off the conveyer belt and loaded them into the car. Then, we drove home.
We had a great day today. Our neighborhood seems friendly enough. People love to talk to us. We hope to take more walks during the day to introduce ourselves to our neighbors.

No comments: