Today we took a cable car to the top of the beautiful mountain that we see every day from the marina. Isabel de Torres is 2700 feet high, not the highest in the DR, but high enough. You can hike up, or take the cable car.  I am glad we had trusty Ramon with us, as that kept the other would be guides from bothering us. It was a quick ride, and on top of the mountain were beautiful botanical gardens. There was color everywhere. I loved being on top of a mountain and seeing palm trees.  It was also nice to have a cool breeze. While it hasn’t been overly hot in the marina, it was nice to feel some cool air.

The top of the mountain had a statue of Jesus Christ, similar to the one in Brazil. In fact I think it was donated by Brazil. Tessa took a look at it and wanted to know if we could go up inside of it. Somehow that did not seem like a good idea.

After the cable car, we told Ramon we were interested in authentic Dominican Republic food. He took us to the town of Mamon. We walked into a busy, open air, roadside restaurant. Instead of heading for a table, Ramon took us over to where fish was being cooked. Huge silver bowls piled high with fresh fish, threatened to collapse the old wooden tables. There were fish of every description. Ramon asked us what kind we liked. I have never been a lover of fish until  this trip. I wasn’t sure what kind to pick out, so Ramon suggested the Sea Bass. Dan went with that too. Now the hard part was picking out the fish. These are the complete fish, heads and all. Dan and I were at a loss to pick one out so Ramon did it for us. Now it was the kids turn. I thought they would freak when they saw the fish with the heads still on, (some with teeth!) but they were great. Ramon pick out mutton snappers for them. Next, they were weighed and given to the cook to fry while we found a seat.

As we passed the rice and conch salad on the way, (and paella loaded with seafood, my favorite!) Ramon loaded us up. The restaurant was busy, and Ramon told us this was a very popular with the locals. We ordered drinks, and soon our fish was brought to the table. The fish was fried with the head still on, a surprise to all of us. I looked expectantly at the kids, but they were fine with it. Dan and cleaned the meat off the bone for them but they were great about it. When I was their age, there would have been no way I would have eaten fish, let alone a fish with a head on it. Soon more rice came and a wonderful garlic sauce to put on the fish. Everyone ate all their fish and wished there was more. We bought Ramon’s meal too and the total including 2 grande Presidentes and 3 Cokes was $45.00. The Paella and the conch salad were the most expensive, but they were delicious.

As we left Ramon showed us the communal sink, with the communal bar of soap, where you wash the fish smell off your hands. I chose not to use the communal towel. After that it was back to the marina and into the swimming pool. A bad note on the end of the day was Tessa chipping her permanent front tooth on the pool. We will have to get that fixed at some point, maybe in the States. I am not sure I could take my 7 year old daughter to a Dominican dentist