the rainy season came early this year. it was nice on some level, i suppose - cooler weather, strong nighttime breezes. but rain here is more of an inconvenience than anything else. especially when it pours for 25 minutes and floods the city. see, the drainage system is... antiquated at best, and non-existent at worst.
we live in an area that is a bit higher than the land around us, so we're basically okay. and we live on the third floor, so we don't really need to worry about flooding in our house. but the reality of many santiagueros is that of constant water-removal during the rainy seasons.
this year was an election year - just a few weeks ago, dominicans elected a new president, danilo medina, to run the country - and during election years, a lot of things happen. streets are paved, hospitals are built, schools are given money, people are treated with respect they might not have ever seen in their lives, all in the efforts to get your vote.
one of the big "election" projects in santiago was a major street-paving project. normally, this would fall under the jurisdiction of the local government, but... well, what better way to win some votes than to do something necessary that's been a long time in the waiting?
i had heard the commentary that the work being done was mediocre, and that we'd be lucky if the new asphalt lasted a year, but the streets in our neighborhood - asphalted before the election fevers - have held up nicely and seem to be done well. i didn't understand the fuss.
until one morning when i was coming home from the grocery store after a big rain. we drove one of the busiest streets in santiago, that had recently been paved. just a day early, the street was beautiful and black... even still smelling of tar.
the job was so poorly done that the rain swept right under the asphalt and lifted it up! it was a rough ride home, and luckily we avoided the few accidents we could have had. people were, for once, driving cautiously.
what a sad state of affairs. all of that time, effort and money wasted.
these guys had a few things to say about it. they were loud and insisted i take their picture. right after i snapped this, they rushed to a car behind us that had fallen into a hole so they could help push it out.
that's the dominican spirit - you see groups of guys like this all the time during floods - ready to push your car through, and laugh and shoot the breeze until roads are passable.
the street probably won't get fixed any time soon - afterall, we've got 4 more years until the next election season. but as long as there are people to help out on the way, it's not that bad.