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Back in the USA!

Date: 6th of June

I can’t believe I’m finally back in the U.S.A. I mean…… after six months in the Caribbean I’m actually back in my home country where everybody speaks English! It just feels so different to be able to speak English. Because otherwise you can’t decide what to say and you think… Well I want to speak to that guy over there but I don’t know what to say should I say hola, bonjour, or what’s up MON.

Did I tell you that we went on a three day passage without seeing land day or night! Yeah and that’s how we got back to the U.S. Of course when we got back to the U.S we went to Charleston where all the historical educational stuff was and yeah we did almost everything.
Fort Sumter wasn’t interesting. Seriously, forty bucks for just another fort with bunch of cannons (one of the cannons was called a poop!)

Soon after we left Charleston we were going up the I.C.W. That means Inter Coastal Waterway. In my opinion they should add an H onto the end. That way it would be I.C.W.H: Impossibly Covered With Horseflies.

Well that brings me to today we are still in the I.C.W(H) in Southport. luckily there’s no horse flies. There’s also not much to do here. Right now we are leaving so I guess thats a good thing. Next time I’m writing I hope I’m in New England.

Ian

http://www.glencoe.com/qe/qe98columbus.php?qi=3994

My reply to the following writing prompt related to the information in the website above about Christopher Colombus’”discovery” of Hispaniola (the island where we are now):

“Describe how you would feel if you were a member of Columbus’s crew preparing to return home. How would you feel if you were one of the crew members left behind?”

If I was one of Chirstopher Columbus’ crew preparing to go back to Spain I would feel afraid, because I would think of all the storms and dangers of the great blue. I’d also be happy knowing that I might escape horrible things of the New World and would just hope that the other men staying behind in La Navidad would survive.

I would try to be on my best behavior so I could get on the captain’s good side. I would also probably try to relax as much as I could before we left the place.

If I was a crew member of Columbus’ fleet being left behind then I would be feeling great thinking that I would not have to retake the perilous trip back to Spain. Unfortunately, I would have worse luck than them because the natives (the Taíno) would kill us. But I was an explorer! I would find gold and give it to Chris to bring back to Spain and I would be known throughout all of Spain.

Ian

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo

During the last couple of weeks we have been in the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo (Saint Sunday or Saint Dominic in English). We had to take a bus to get there and it was totally FREEZING! By the way I forgot to tell you that the reason we went to Santo Domingo was because dad wanted us all to study Spanish at Entrena, which is a language school.

When we arrived at the house of the Dominican family with whom we were staying, there were kids playing in the front yard. They were the grandchildren of the people were were staying with. They were playing baseball, which is THE most popular sport in the DR. We played with them.

I think I should just tell you the interesting parts as so much happened. On the main roads we got around on these things called “carros publicos” and “guaguas”. Carros publicos are just really old beaten up cars that you can take for like fifty cents but the driver crams as many people in as possible. Guaguas are just old beaten up buses that will cost you like fifty cents to go on and they also pack on as many people as possible.

Colonial Zone

We went to the Colonial Zone which includes one of the first forts in the New World and is first European city successfully established in all of the Americas. We went to the fort first its was quite small and was made out of coral. We went to the first church in the New World. We went to the first town hall in the New World and we went to Christopher Columbus’ house.

Zoo

We went to supposedly the best zoo in all of the Caribbean. It had all sorts of animals. There was even this weird turkey thing called a Cassowary. They are very shy, but attack if you get to close and they can kill!

The Botanical Gardens

We went to the Botanical Gardens and saw lots of plants (obviously). We went to a really cool Japanese garden there and went trough a bunch of bamboo forests. As you can see there’s not much to write about this.

Boca Chica

Boca Chica is a town on the coast 30 or 40 minutes east of Santo Domingo. We went to Club Nautico for sailing Optis to get out of the city and escape the pollution. It was great and had all sorts of things to do and there were lots of kids (dominicans mostly) there. We started out by playing sailing jeopardy in Spanish, then we of course went sailing and had some races. When we got back for the lunch break, we played king of the tramp on the water trampoline. Then we pushed each other down the huge water slide. Then we used the “rock-it” which I can’t explain.

During the week, we went to school from 9:00 in the morning until 1:00 in the afternoon. The school was in a huge office building with lots of different colors painted onto it. We learned Spanish of course. Our teachers’ names were Glenny (glen-ise) and Gina.

On the next to last night before we left to return to Samaná we went to my friend’s apartment that was practically a house and had dinner and played xbox and stuff it was pretty fun. My friend’s name is Franklin.

Ian

Puerto Rico Report

Puerto Rico
By Ian Henderson

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States of America. It is in the Caribbean Sea in a group of three large islands. The islands are called Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra (we lived in Culebra for two months!). The population of Puerto Rico was 3,706,691 people in 2012! Puerto Rico has some weird things and some really cool things. Now let’s explore!

Puerto Rico is between the Virgin Islands and the island of Hispaniola, which is split in two by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is about 800 miles southeast of Florida. We traveled to Puerto Rico from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. It turns out that compared to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas is practically a speck! The latitude and longitude coordinates of Puerto Rico are 18 degrees 15 minutes north and 66 degrees 30 minutes west. Try to guess how far away Puerto Rico is from Maine. It’s 1,877 miles away! South America is actually five hundred miles away across the Caribbean Sea!

Puerto Rico was inhabited by the Taíno Indians hundreds of years ago. The Taíno called the island Borikén (which means land of the lords). The Taíno were living peacefully among the animals all over the island of Puerto Rico. Then in 1493 on his second voyage Christopher Columbus discovered Puerto Rico. In the year 1508 Ponce de Leon the conquistador, also one of the men on Columbus’ second voyage, came to Puerto Rico to build a safe haven for ships bringing gold to Spain and to search for gold. It was eventually annexed by the U.S.A when we took it over in the Spanish-American war in 1898.

When Spain initially took over Puerto Rico they did not colonize it, but used it for military uses as a port to protect gold ships. They didn’t colonize it till later around 1512 creating sugar plantations and growing other cash crops. They didn’t have anyone to do the work for them so they captured the indians that where being nice to them and giving them gold! They took the indians and enslaved them and soon the indians died of diseases like small pox. So the Spanish brought over Africans to do the work because they were used to the germs that the Spanish had so they used them instead. However, less Africans were brought to Puerto Rico than other Caribbean Islands.

In 1898 Puerto Rico was taken over by the USA in the Spanish-American war. It was a quick take over. The U.S fired at the Spanish with heavily armored battle ships but the Spanish only had the old musty cannons from when Ponce de Leon was in charge so, they were easily defeated.

Today Puerto Rico is a territory owned by the USA. Most people still speak Spanish at home and at work. Almost everyone speaks some English, and the richer Puerto Ricans are often bilingual. The people are a mixture of Spanish, Taíno, African descent. There has also been a lot of mixing with people from the USA. The food is also inspired by African, American, Taíno, and Spanish cuisine. For example, the African slaves influenced deep fried food. Rice and beans is a very common dish.

I have observed and found the wonders of this land… including El Yunque, Old San Juan, and Culebra (see earlier posts). I hope that you will come here after reading this essay. Puerto Ricans are very welcoming! Personally I think it’s very interesting that they are so happy to have more strangers on their little island but I also think its a little weird.

Ian Henderson

Bwag

March 2-3

5 hours…… 5 hours can you believe it 5 hours. I know its insanely crazy! We woke up at 6 a.m. and left for Puerto Rico. Let me just tell you that this blog is a lot more boring then it sounds. Of course passage was so boring it was scary. But we did a- lot of home schooling and fishing we caught four barracuda and a little tunny, which is a type of fish also called a bonito.

Then we got to the marina that we were headed for. We unloaded and found kids my friends were Seth & Calvin. we played all sorts of stuff but eventually we got to use a motorized scooter. What you do is push a button on the bottom of the scooter that you push to start it. Then like a normal scooter you push with your legs about three times, then you put the motor on and it will go by motor for a few minutes.

Today we saw our friends real quick in the morning but we had to leave by ten o’clock. As usual, passage was very boring and we did home schooling and I took a nap. When we got to our destination (Caja de Muerto which means box of the dead) I started writing this.

Ian

Gone…. gone forever….

March 1, 2013

Remember me!?! Well after spending all this time in Culebra we are finally leaving! Amazing isn’t it? I feel happy about leaving, but also I’m sort’ve sad. I mean I think I’m gonna miss this place. Ya’ know? With my friends and stuff……….. Oh! and the insane craziness. I remember when we first came here and I only knew like two people in the whole school. I remember how I slowly gained respect and became known throughout the school. And I remember when Jonatan, Edjan and I, had an iPod + a portable speaker. We started dancing through the hallways then some more kids joined. More, and more kept joining in, until about half the school was parading through the hallways, which are open air. Yep those were the good old days. Even today was pretty awesome it was just a normal school day except we only had two classes and at the end of the day we had a big going away party it was pretty bossome. But I’ve got friends waiting for me in Maine. Main island of Puerto Rico here I come!

Ian

Culebrita

January, 13, 2012

Yesterday we sailed to the island of Culbrita. Our new cruising friend Toby who is 11 also sailed over with his parents. We met Toby back in Culebra. Toby has been sailing on his boat Windswept for about six years now. Well anyways we woke up to the sound of goats bahhhhing. We got up and called Windswept on the VHF radio to see if they wanted to go ashore to the beach. Of course they said yes, so we got in the dingy and went ashore. When we got there it was high tide so we couldn’t really do anything on shore so we went spear fishing. It was really hard but there’s this fish called the box fish and it’s like a puffer fish with a flat bottom. I got real close to it and……. BAM! I hit it. The spear would’ve gone straight through its stomach but it had armored plating or something. When we where done spear fishing we went for a hike.

The wind blew against the back of my head. We had climbed to the top of the island and we went into this abandoned red brick lighthouse. It was kind of creepy, but not too interesting. Then we walked down the other side of the island and went to a big beach that was really rough so we left to go back to Culebra because on Culebrita there’s supposed to be a big northern swell tonight so the anchorage would be rolly.

Ian

First Day of School in Culebra

January, 11, 2013

Today was my first day of school. It wasn’t as good as CRMS, but it was better than home schooling. Now that I’m back in school I feel much better because I have friends (plus my dad isn’t the teacher.) Well anyway its much better than home schooling. Yesterday we went to school and it was awesomely crazy. When we got there we had homeroom for 15 minutes then we had our half hour snack. After that we went to science and studied energía which is Spanish for energy. Then we had social studies which had nothing to do with history. Then we had lunch and the drinks came in small floppy sacks. Then we had an hour long recess and then school was over at 1:30 because the teachers had a reunion, which my dad says means a meeting. Pretty weird school huh? The classes are all in Spanish. Only about three kids in the school could speak English fluently. So I had to switch from English to Spanish because some people couldn’t understand me. Luckily I made some friends so I wasn’t sad and lonely.

Ian

Me no leave!

December 31, 2012

New Years eve and my birthday! Overall I think Honeymoon Bay has been my favorite place so far. It has plenty of kids and things to do. Yesterday there was a big New Years party and it was my birthday. We had a big party with cake. It’s really been better now that I have friends to play with down here in the West Indies. I’ve been having so much fun I don’t want go to Culebra for school. There’s just so much more stuff to do here. Another reason why I don’t want to leave is because I personally think I’m doing just fine in home schooling. But Dad says I have to learn Spanish more fluently. But hey, at least I’m not cold back in Maine.

Ian

Curse of Curtis – Chapters thee and four

Chapter 3 The Woods

“Well somebody’s grumpy this morning.” I teased as Jack sat up with seaweed in his hair. “Shut up Ian, it’ll only be a matter of time before I find something to bust your chops about!” he growled. “So how’d ya’ sleep? I couldn’t sleep one bit.” I told him. “Well I slept like a strand of seaweed.” He snickered. Jesse and Parker had been looking for supplies but apparently hadn’t found anything when they came back with empty hands. “Well look who’s up.” Parker said. “Lets go into the woods today!” Jesse said excitedly. “Whoever votes we go into the woods say aye!” Parker said. Of course I was the only one to say no. About 15 minutes later we where off the beach and in the woods. This place didn’t seem normal. It just had a strange aura of negative power…… it almost felt cursed. We walked for about 30 minutes discussing things that had happened on our adventure and things that might happen next. Then we arrived at the dead man.

There right in front of us there was a skeleton in ragged clothes. His bleached bones were as white as milk. He was hanging two feet of the ground with his neck in a tight noose. “Let’s check for supplies!” Parker said. “Maybe even some money!” Jack shouted with joy. Jesse stood back. “Guys this doesn’t feel right. Don’t steal from him, he could be cursed.” Jesse said worriedly. “Pffft!!! Yeah right you’re just trying to scare us!” Jack said reaching out to touch the skeleton. As soon as Jack touched it, we heard a twig snap somewhere in the brush……….

Chapter 4 Attacked

………………… “Uh guys what was that!?” Parker said. “Nice going Jack.” I said. “Ow!” Jack suddenly yelped. I looked down and saw a short man with a small sword. I cringed. That short guy really creeped me out. “The knife.” I said impatiently holding my hand out ready to take it from Parker. He handed me the knife we found in the treasure chest and I lunged at the short man slicing him in half. When I killed him I expected him to fall over dead, but instead he melted like a candle would. “Guys I think he’s made out of wax.” I said. Then we heard what sounded like the war cry of an Indian. All of a sudden about fifty short people burst out of the bushes with their weapons at the ready. I picked up the sword of the short man, which was the size of a large dagger, and gave it to Jesse. We all jumped into battle stomping and jabbing, slowly winning. Soon we were killing, and just as fast as they where melting. We all had weapons and there were only about two dozen wax men left. “Ian! Behind you!” Jack yelled. I spun around and saw a bunny made of wax with claws at least a foot long bounding straight towards me. I had one second to think about this. I mean really! A spiked war bunny? It was twenty feet away, now ten. As it got about one foot away I jumped over it and landed behind it. It spun around and I had to back up to avoid a blow from one of it’s claws. Jack approached it from behind. When he got close it turned around and swiped his dagger out of his hands. While it was occupied with Jack, I stabbed it from behind and it slowly melted away. “That was way to close for comfort.” Parker said. “Let’s go back to the beach.”