Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chillin' like a villain in the DR

So here we are, all tied up to the docks at Ocean World marina. My Canadian friends, Eben, and Genevieve, and their two little girls, Arias, 4, and Elia, 2, have been awaiting are arrival for about six months now. Yeah, we are slow. The kids are all happy to see each other, I mean we are happy too, but the kids are more expressive. Slowly, the pain of the rough crossing from Providenciales to the DR fades away as we lay by the pool, soaking in decadence. It won't be long before I will have little recollection of the crossing, and then...I'll do it again. I think it's some kind of defense mechanism gone amiss.

Hadrian, Eva, and Arias at the Ocean World pool.
It's great to have the products of a modern world available, and in reach at reasonable prices. The supermarket in Puerto Plata is like a Walmart state-side. It's time to restock the pantry. The produce section is full of exotic tropical fruits that I have never seen. There is even a rum section, a huge rum section, and the prices are about half that of the U.S.
Eben has some pull at one of the all-inclusive resorts in the town of Sosua. He got us a room for the four of us, just $80 a night. We stayed 2 days and 1 night. I had "little lies" (Cuba Libre) all day long. The kids had banana and strawberry smoothies at about the same pace that I was drinking rum at. I think Marie was drinking "Pina Coladas", but it's all kinda blurry. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner, twice each for 80 bucks total. The room had a separate bedroom and a great view of the ocean. You gotta love the DR.
Lunch at the Sosua resort.

Nice hotel room.

We even had a separate bedroom.

The pool area was really a treat.

I got a baby!

Eva and Arias enjoying cake.

In the days that followed, we all traveled the country side. Eben drives just as crazy as everyone else, and therefore figures it's all somehow safer this way. The truth is that to drive in the DR one must forget all that you have been taught about driving a car. Think organic, in the DR you drive a car much like you would make your way across a crowded room, organic like. You wouldn't just plow a straight line across the room, no, that would be rude. You weave smoothly in the direction you wish to go, in and out, ignore any stripes that may confuse you, and make you a hazard to the established traffic pattern.
We visited a quiet small town called Luperon where American cruisers like to hangout. The bay at Luperon is said to be the best hurricane hole the all of the Caribbean. It is protected on all four sides and surrounded by mountains. The DR's highest mountain is about 10,000 feet above sea level. The island itself is called the hurricane buster because the high mountain range disorganizes any hurricane that tries to go through it.
The Dominican countryside is just gorgeous.

Marie and the kids have to go back to the states for their school testing, medical and dental check-ups. I hope, and pray they do well on all counts because it takes a lot of courage and faith to take the kids on this adventure. We do however live in a society that's way quick to judge, but too lazy to educate themselves, and even though it is more dangerous to strap a child into a car (the leading cause of death among young people, they call it unintentional injuries to protect the "car culture", followed by suicides) they are quick to accuse cruising families of putting children at risk. The way I see it is "I may have dodged the two most common causes of death among young people". We have a large community back home that encourages us and gives us strength, it's the people that know nothing about boats that are the most critical, the ones that see their own children a cumulative 3 hours or less each day (again, suicide is number two). You think I may be too sensitive on this subject? Then again Mark Twain once said "There are lies, dam lies, and then there are statistics." Who knows?
Okay, let me turn the tone of this post around before I let you go.
Look at all the kites at Cabarete.

Have you ever had this fruit?

If you think our stay in Sosua was cheap, get this, I asked for "day pass" at the same all-inclusive resort, and they charged me 6 bucks. All I can eat and drink, all day, 6 bucks. Three beers and I break even. So, here we are it's late in the evening, we'd been drinking all day, and Eben asks me "Do I have to drive you home?", in a nervous voice. Having used my money so wisely earlier in the day, I said "No, I'll just take a cab." I don't want to ware-out my welcome, and all. So we drive out to the main street, and find a cab. I settle with the driver, 350 pesos, or $8.75. Cab drivers in the DR don't just settle for one passenger, oh no, they fill up the cab. Knowing this, I jump in the front passengers side, and figure "I'm safe from being squeezed in the back seat with others of perhaps questionable hygiene". Think again, after the back seat of this 1992 Toyota Corolla that's put together like a little kids very first model, fills up with four adults, the driver asks me to carry this young senorita standing by me in a bikini. This felt really awkward, so as this girl climbs on my lap, I put both my hands on the window sill, to brace myself, and to demonstrate my good intentions. We had gone about two blocks when I felt some distinct tapping on my zipper. Like, three taps at a time, over and over like someone waiting for an answer at a door. Oh sh_t, was my first thought. If I say something she might just turn the whole event around, and say that it was I that made the lewd advances. Who would you believe? There might just be a lynching tonight. I decided that discretion might just be the better way to go, so I just sat there, and ignored the tapping, no one home baby. By the time we reached her stop I felt I owed her something, so I said "thank you". She didn't look back.

1 comment:

  1. Nice place!!!!
    In cuba that fruit is called a guanabana. I think.