After hitting up the happy hour on Playa Blanca from 6-7:30pm and dinner back in Punta Cana at 8:15, Lisa, Amital, Eric, Pat, and I were walking back to the Fundacion in a jolly good mood. No quiz in the morning, great meal, high spirits after the happy hour (pun intended), etc. Often when taking the ten and a half minute walk from the Fundacion to La Tortuguita and back, we spot several resort workers loudly jeering and playing a game with each other by the worker's trailers. One of us usually remarks, 'hey we should go hang out with them and see what they're up to, it always sounds like they're having such a fun time,' and after tonight's usual blase comment, I just started walking over there cause let's be honest what else were we gonna do at that hour? With Pat and Eric by my side, the three of us strolled over to the lit tent and amiably introduced ourselves: Patricio, Eric, y Pepe. There were 5 men, 4 of whom were sitting around a table playing Dominoes and the 5th sitting by their side with a pad and pen keeping tally for the others. We pulled up chairs and watched.
To be perfectly frank, I do not know the rules of Dominoes. But after after drunkenly watching Miguel, Juan, Naranja, and Charlie duke it out for 15 minutes, I started to learn.
Miguel I vaguely recognized from around the resort, but Juan and Naranja I had never seen before. I have no idea what Naranja's real name was--he told me once while introducing himself and I promptly forgot. Naranja sported an orange shirt that covered half his belly. Because I forgot his name but was constantly seeing his round, orange peel covered belly, I called him Naranja the rest of the night. Unclear whether he understood this at all. The 4th and final player at the table was my main man Charlie, the 35 year old braces rocking Punta Cana shuttle van driver who picked me up from the airport my first day and gave me my first tour of the resort on the way to the Fundacion. I secretly rooted for Charlie to win every game. And if not Charlie then Naranja.
The rules of Dominoes, still not completely clear to me, are generally quite simple. Each player has seven dominoes, and going in counterclockwise order, each player tries to get rid of his dominoes by playing them on a table--first one out of dominoes wins. For example, after the first game, taken by Miguel, was completed, Eric and I jumped on the table. I had the unfortunate position of following Miguel, who often won rounds and thus started the next ones. Miguel would put down his domino of choice, for example a 4:4. I then had to put down a domino that had a 4 as one of its numbers, too. Very simple. If I couldn't go, I checked and it went to the next person until someone won. After a few rounds, some things became pretty clear to me strategy wise, like trying to get rid of your double numbered dominoes early because they are less valuable odds wise. Other things remained quite murky, which I attribute to the language barrier. Anyways, I never won even a single round. Some guy who came up and peeped a few rounds said it best, "Yu nee to play evry day to be goo, amigo."
And he's right. By the end of this trip, I will be good. Nay, I will dominate Dominoes. Miguel and Naranja better watch their backs.
In the meantime, I get up in 6+ hours to prepare the soil for 4 different batches of lettuce I will be planting in the next couple of days. Yes, believe it or not I am working and researching and experimenting for my personal project, too. More to come on this soon, I promise. In the meantime just think liquid compost and lettuce.