Saturday, April 2, 2005

Dominican Republic Trip: Day 3

On Saturday we went to Los Tres Ojos caves, the botanical gardens, and Faro A Colon, a building built to honor the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America. We ate lunch at Tati’s sister’s house and had the yummiest papaya!

Highlights of the day: Los Tres Ojos was awesome! It means “The Three Eyes,” because there are three main lakes all interconnected in the caves. Suffice it to say I loved it! The pictures tell what it looked like.

When we were leaving the third “ojo,” a tour group passed us coming in. The tour guide, a Dominican, when he saw Rosie and me, stopped and asked in English, “Are you Christians?” We responded with a smile, “Yes.” He replied, “I am Protestant.” “We are too,” we said, and we continued on our separate ways. An interesting question to be asked out of the blue. I pondered over it as I walked away. Did he just ask everyone that question? Or did he see something that made him able to guess that the answer was yes?

The same thing happened at Faro A Colon. A security guard asked Pastor José if Rosie and I were Christians. We talked with him for a while and found out he was a pastor in Brazil for a while and now was a pastor here.

Afterwards, in the car, I asked Pastor José, “How did that man know we were Christians?” “He can see it in your face, in the way you act, in your dress—yes, he knew.” “It’s that obvious?” I asked, incredulous. “Yes,” he said. So in some mysterious way, without even trying, we have somehow managed to be a light to those around us.

An interesting fact about the Faro A Colon is that it is built in the shape of a cross with the whole middle open to the sky. Pastor José said they shine lights up from the bottom at night and reflect the shape of the cross on the clouds.

Then the botanical gardens were full of the most luxuriant vegetative beauty! I love seeing palm trees. They always make me want to take their picture. I only got pictures of the “Japanese garden” though, because the battery died.

We took the “train” ride around the gardens. I might have preferred to walk, but Pastor José suggested riding, and we have learned better than to mention our own ideas, because they will go along with them even if they’re not feeling up to it. And with Pastor José having just had surgery, it wouldn’t have been good. Plus the park was huge and we wouldn’t have had time to do on foot what we did in the cars. Again, the pictures show it best.

That evening, an American girl named Andrea came to the house. She was from Goshen College in Indiana and lived in Chicago. She had been in the Dominican Republic for 3 months, 6 weeks attending language school and 6 weeks teaching English in the city (here) of San Francisco. I was amazed to find that I actually understood more Spanish than her.

The electricity went out 3 times that night, returning for a brief period only to go away again. So we just sat in the living room in the dark and talked. Lili and Emily asked Rosie what she wanted to study in college, and when she said she didn’t know, both of them tried to get her to study their major. “You should study hotel management.” “No, medicine is the best. You make a lot of money.” “But with hotel management you get to travel and meet all kinds of different people.” And back and forth it went.

After a bit, Rosie saw fireworks out the window, and we went up on the roof to watch them. They were so far away that we could barely hear the sound. Then we started looking at pictures in the clouds. One looked just like the map of the Dominican Republic. Another looked like a horse head, and another like Francis Schaeffer.

We always go to bed really late, but a 2-hour nap every afternoon helps a lot. After practicing our song again and letting Emily, Lili and Frank play the violin, we went to bed about midnight. I didn’t sleep very well that night because I was thinking about singing my song in church the next day. I also wanted to figure out what I wanted to say before I sang, and have the Spanish corrected so that I wouldn’t be stumbling around up on stage. All these thoughts were going through my mind, and it was also noisy, so I kept waking up.

Keep Reading: Dominican Republic Trip, Day 4
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