DR TRAVELOGUE | PART 5 | DOMINOS
Math Quiz: What fichas do the other 2 players have? By Led Black
If baseball is DR’s favorite sport then Dominos is its favorite pastime. Everyone in Esperanza, from the youngest to the oldest, male and female alike, spends countless hours playing dominos. To even use the word playing might be considered by some die-hard aficionados as sacrilegious because to them Dominos is not a game – it is more like a science. Dominos is Dominican Chess. I thought I knew how to play until I came to Esperanza and tried to play with some of these folks.
As soon as the welcome feast ended we sat down to play some Dominos. My mom who loves to play had a table made just for playing Dominos in the backyard. It has 4 fixtures for the player’s fichas (Domino pieces) as well as 4 cup holders for each player’s drinks, which usually meant Brugal and Coke. My mom’s brother, Santiago, who has to be about 70 teamed up with his son, Miguel, to play against me and my cousin Uri. Uri, by the way, plays in a Dominos league.
I’m not really a rum drinker. I prefer beer and as of late I kind of gotten into drinking wine but since my uncle Santiago was drinking Brugal and Coke, I decided to follow his lead. I figured that if the old man gets hosed he would be easier to beat. I could not have been more wrong. On this fateful first day in Esperanza I got ate up by 3 three things. First, it was the mosquitoes in my mom’s backyard that couldn’t get enough of my sweet Americanized blood. The tracks on my arms and legs from the mosquito bites left me looking like an Edgecombe junkie. Secondly, I was throwing back the Brugal like it was water. The more I lost, the more I drank until I was thoroughly trashed and thirdly it was my uncle and his son. It was like they were in my mind. After I had enough of this bloodletting, I just got up and went to my air-conditioned bedroom and fell asleep. It was about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Que humo! My uncles and cousins must have been thinking what a new jack.
I woke up around 9 o’clock in the evening with my head spinning, my stomach growling and my ego bruised from the bashing I had received just a few hours earlier. The first 2 symptoms were easy to resolve. My mom made some fried salchichon and tostones to cure the hunger and I washed down my favorite meal with an ice cold Presidente to deal with the hangover. According to popular Dominican wisdom, the best way to get over a Resaca (hangover) is to keep drinking. So I did. Bottoms up!
The bitter sting of defeat, on the other hand, could not be so easily placated. I couldn’t get over getting whooped like I did in Dominos. I tried to tell myself that maybe it was the Brugal. There was no way I could be that bad. I play Dominos on a weekly basis. Tomorrow I will get my revenge. Not! The next day it was pretty much the same story.