Taking photos from the bell tower of the cathedral, I was surprised by a young French girl also seeking the best shot of the city, but was more than likely looking for someone to hang out with. We spent the day touring the city streets and finally ended up at the Backpacker’s Hostel patio sipping on the infamous Flor de Cana rum, while a pack of six or eight street dogs took turns trying to sit on my feet and hump my leg.
I asked her to speak to me in French; she obliged, but I didn’t understand more than a few passing words. After reviewing the conjugations of the all-important Avoir and Etre verbs, she humoured me further by listening to me butcher her language, as I tried to make observations around circling dogs.
When we later shared a drink with some gregarious 6’ 10’ Austrians, one of whom couldn’t seem to stop changing songs on his IPOD, the language changed to English, but I felt like the only foreigner.
New light in the little French girl’s eyes had turned on either from the rum, or more likely from the fact that she had found what she was really looking for: other Europeans. She asked if she could tag along on their Reggae-tone night out, while I said goodnight and headed back to my hostel to rest my bones for Léon. But a tiny nightmare would take place first.
I was smoking a cigarette absent-mindedly in front of my hostel when a womanish looking man or a mannish looking woman passed me by and almost as an afterthought, seeing that I wasn’t paying attention, reached back and tried to grab me below the belt. “Hey,” I exclaimed as I batted away the intruding hand. I wondered if there was something he or she read in my face that led him or her to believe that his or her hand might not be turned away. Smoking a cigarette had become just a little more dangerous.