By Jessi Atha
When I first visited Rotinet, I was absolutely terrified. Where do I eat? Where do people hang out? Is there a juice stop? These are all questions I wanted immediate answers to. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that the answers to all my questions would not assuage my fears. If you want to eat at a restaurant and get your hair cut you can go on down the road to our municipio, Repelón. If you want some juice, make it yourself. (Although I also learned that the people here are some of the most generous I’ve ever met so if I really want juice, all I have to do is wander into someone’s house). After some time, it became clear to me that what my site lacks in amenities, it makes up for in charm. Here some of the best places to get a fun, unique life experience:
Best Place to Watch the Horse Races:
A few times a year, people from all over Southwest Atlántico bring their horses to race them in pairs through the streets of Rotinet. The best place to watch them is from the stoop of the tienda. It is safely out of the way but you still have a great view and easy access to refreshments. Plus, you’re close enough to the owners that sometimes they’ll let you ride their horses around after they race!
Best Place to Watch the Sunset:
My coordinator’s house on top of the hill that overlooks the lake has the absolute best views. She’ll also serve you fresh goat’s milk if you ask nicely!
Best Place to Get Your Groove On: La Caseta de Tanganazo
The DJ’s name is Yorpa and his set of speakers will blow your socks off! Even if you want a quiet night at home, you can hear the music through out the whole town. You may as well go down for a couple of frías and some dancing.
Best Pancakes: My house!
My host mom knows they’re my favorite and fries them up with lots of sugar. I’ve tried to make them myself but they always turn into a lumpy mess.
Best Snuggles: My precious little angel, Isabella.
I don’t know how she does it but she can always tell when I’m grumpy and need a hug.
Best Petting Zoo: My neighbor’s backyard.
They have sixteen goats, two donkeys, two horses and countless piglets.
Best Sancocho: School
For Dia de los Angelitos, the kids get together at school and make a huge cauldron of sanchoco. It is by far the best I’ve ever tasted. They even butcher their own chickens!
Best Person to Talk to If You Need to Laugh: Nefren Yasir
This little guy is my neighbor and never ceases to make me smile. Whether he is chasing after his dog while naked in the street or doing impressions of his mom and I dancing, he can always cheer me up.
There you have it. That is all you need to know to survive in Rotinet. To an outsider, it may not look like much but, for now, it’s home and we all know what Dorothy says: “There is no place like home.”