Buster's Baseball Merengue
The Dominican Republic
In the D.R. (the Dominican Republic), I learned about two of their national pastimes: baseball, and merengue music and dance. Baseball and merengue are lots of fun, and they both can give you a great workout!
Baseball started in North America. About 150 years ago, a young Cuban man went to the U.S. as a student. He came back a baseball fan! When he returned to Cuba, he brought baseball with him. A few years later, baseball also became popular in the D.R. (which is on an island near Cuba).
Los Viajeros wrote a song about our trip to the D.R. It's called ¡Me Gusta Béisbol! That means "I like baseball." Hey, it's true: I DO like baseball! Especially the Elwood City Grebes!
I met Danny in the D.R. He's a really good baseball player. He plays on a team! His friend Javier showed me how to play bitilla. It's like baseball, but you play with a stick and a bottle cap, instead of a bat and ball.
I also spent time with Patty. She likes to surf, dance ballet, and play soccer and piano. She and her best friend Belenia also love to dance to merengue music.
Merengue has many meanings in the D.R. It's the name of a dessert made from egg whites and sugar.
It's also the name of a traditional type of music and dance that comes from the D.R. Patty and Belenia are really good at it!
People who live in the D.R. speak Spanish. I knew some Spanish from my trip to Guanajuato, but I learned more here! "Buen juego" (pronounced "bwain hway-go") means "good game." And "jonrón" (pronounced "hone-rone") means "home run." Hey! That kind of sounds the same in English and Spanish!
Arthur reminded me: I'm here looking for baseball players. The Grebes lost two of their best players. I hope I find someone really good. Hey! Maybe Danny could play for the Grebes in a few years!
Ooh, I almost forgot! I ate a pastele here, which is meat, peppers, plantain (like a banana), yam (like a sweet potato) and spices, all wrapped in a banana leaf for cooking. Delicious!