Even though I tried to maintain a professional demeanor with the Puerto Plata bomberos at all times, I had my moments where emotion spilled over. Two days after Chief Martínez, Pedrito and Roberto arrived, we planned a trip to Niagara Falls. The committee member who was instrumental in arranging the bomberos’ stay needed a passenger to interpret for him as he described landmarks along the way. He turned out to be a walking (or in this case, driving) encyclopedia of knowledge.
I even learned some new vocabulary. Not being an observer of wildlife, I did not know the word for “raccoon” in Spanish. Don’t ask me why the French call it a “washing rat” (raton-laveur) but in Spanish they switch to a bear (oso lavador). I seldom ride on horseback, so “horseshoe” (herradura) is not a word I use every day. I did need it to explain how the Horseshoe Falls were named.