12 June 2010

Santo Domingo

"$2.50 for a short tour. $7 for a tour on the Dominican Titanic and the chance to see all the lakes."

The Dominican tour guide had that much down in English - bad English. I know, you said that, but where are we?

A place called Los Tres Ojos, apparently. The Three Eyes. The "eyes" are "lakes" - ponds, really, underground. They were created by an underground river which filled some caves. Then the roof caved in 5,000 years ago. Now, there's this tropical forest growing out of fallen choral rocks - once upon a time, the cave's roof was under the sea.

The Dominican Titanic turned out to be a barrel raft we rode across one of the lakes, under a cave. Stalactites hung from the ceiling and bats flew around them. I shined my flashlight on a group of them, hanging upside down, sleeping on the roof.

The fourth lake - apparently, they discovered another one after they named it - seemed like it was out of a movie. It was open to the sky, with vines crawling down the sides. Fish swam near the shore, and larger black fish defended their nests against small gray fish. The water was apparently 300 feet deep.

Our next stop was the colonial zone. Pretty cool, walking on 500 year old streets.

We went to the oldest cathedral in the New World. Beautiful. I went to the back and looked to the altar, under the the vaulting stone arches, over the heads of some people praying in the pews.

I watched someone bow, cross himself, and kneel to pray, crossing himself again. Why do people try so hard to get to God? Why build a huge cathedral and go through a ritual just to talk to Him? Yeah, He's God Almighty, but He's right next to you. And He loves you.

The hands that hold the world are holding your hand.

Crazy, huh?

A sign outside about the church was commissioned in the "Fifth century of the discovery and evangelization of the Americas".

I wouldn't say the Americas were discovered 500 years ago, and I think God was working on their salvation long before whites got here.

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