Viva la Republica Dominicana

I’m sure glad I read up on this place before I stuck down my money.  I knew that check-in would be a nightmare, so I just stayed very very calm.  And waited.  And waited.  We ran into a lovely middle aged Finnish Canadian couple the first day and we’ll be touring Santo Domingo and Saona with them.  Lonely Planet says Saona is a great example of how places get f=cked up by tourism, but I frankly do not care.  The place I most want to see is Trujillo’s unused palace west of Santo Domingo, but instead I will be shopping in la Zona Colonial in the old city and we will be going to the gorgeous sun-drenched isle of Saona – but that’s all the touristy things we’ll be doing apart from hanging at the resort, which is, since some people may care, the Barcelo Capella in Juan Dolio, room 1351.  Since Katie and I have achieved perfect agreement about what constitutes a holiday – someone else cooking, someone else cleaning, and air conditioned tour buses – we’re having a lovely time.

I didn’t bring my USB cable for the camera so the grisly pictures of our horrible time (NOT) will not be available until our return, ever supposing I don’t lose the camera.

To rewind:  The flight was bumpy.  Like, really really bumpy.  Like, clutching Katie’s arm while she laughed at me bumpy.  She was not impressed by my childish display of fear…  Got here at night, drove through Santo Domingo in the dark.  Katie burst into laughter when she saw a midsized truck loaded to the gunwhales with bananas.  You just don’t ever see that in Canada.  The tour bus had to wait as four people were stuck in customs but we were only delayed about an hour and the package coordinator Leo said, partly to entertain us, that we had a challenge and a commitment, to support the beer factories of the Dominican Republic.  Personally I find Presidente beer quite refreshing, but in the last day Katie and I have branched out to Cuba Libres and Pina Coladas.  Whoever said, in the reading I did about the resort, that they water down the drinks is a raging bloody alcoholic; Katie and I have seen NO evidence that this is the case.

 They are supposed to have internet access in the resort, but fat freaking chance, muchachos.  I’m across the street at the mini mall, pounding away for 100 RD an hour.  The story is that the resort doesn’t have a ‘code’ but all that means is that they aren’t paying their suppliers.

There are a million little lizards on the grounds – which are stunning, no word of a lie – and they move like greased lightning.  There is a little pool with flamingos in it – they croak when they speak – and do yoga.  I have pictures, and hope to prove this assertion later. 

Other than reading Harry Potter; body surfing in the warmest water I’ve ever experienced while keeping a sharp eye on our crap; drinking (5 drinks or less per day, spaced out carefully); napping; eating damned good buffet food given the climate; sleeping; walking around the grounds being all happy; booking trips; a small amount of outrageously expensive shopping for the items we couldn’t bring on the airplane; and standing for a long long time waiting to talk to the reception dudes and dudettes – we’ve done nothing at all.  Okay, we’ve watched lizards and been chased down the hall by the biggest goddamned moth I’ve ever seen in my life.

The vendors on the beach are by no means as pressing and persistent as the guidebooks said they’d be, but they are still out like bugs, as Katie remarked. 

The room is really nice, and the a/c – when we run it – keeps the place ice cold.  I was terrified at the complaints about the stench of mold in the rooms, but the smell is omnipresent because of the heat and humidity.  The first thing I did when I got to the room was smell the bedding for mold and bedbuggy evidence, and I was vastly relieved when there was no sign of either.  We’ve slept like dormice every night.

So far the biggest complaints I have are that they don’t have functioning internet, that the elevator in our building doesn’t work, and that the front desk staff appear to have been provided with Quaaludes as part of their compensation package.  However, I also note that the desk staff appear to work 12 hour shifts in heat and humidity that would cause most Canuckistanis to experience convulsions after about six hours, so I make my comments with that admonitory note.

The hurricane Noel that passed through a week ago did not appear to put the grounds in much disarray.  The upkeep on the grounds is amazing – we’ve seen groundskeepers working every day trimming and feeding and watering and in general keeping things looking lovely.  At this time of year not much is in bloom, but the lushness is amazing.  There’s a cactus that is twice the height of a person out by the buffet – I hope to get a snap of Katie standing in front of it.

Another fact I gleaned from the reviews of the resort is that it’s jammed with locals on the weekend.  If the notion of having well behaved children and gorgeous young twenty-something couples strolling around the grounds and sharing the buffet space with you bothers you – which evidently it did for some of the stuck up dickweeds who were reviewing the place – then obviously weekends at the resort will bother you.  Since Katie and I have found any of the Dominicans who have enough money to get into this place quite charming I am thinking the reviewers had ‘issues’.

There were also whiny noises made about the buffet. Dominican food is so bland that anybody used to sampling the culinary delights of Vancouver, with its Thai, Sri Lankan, Szechuan and Sushi smorgasbord, will be saddened by it; me, I’m just happy to be eating food that can’t possibly upset my stomach.  Katie, with her background in Foodsafe, has been watching like a hawk for any evidence of unsanitary practices, and she pronounces herself happy.

Beach is full of ground up shells, so you have to wear footgear in and out of the water, but it was so gorgeous that we didn’t care.  The water, as I say, was bathtub warm, and the waves were big enough to provide interest and small enough to feel safe.  Except for the one time I got smacked real good from behind and Katie nearly died laughing.

You would think after the long airplane ride and the hour long bus ride my back would be a wreck, but I feel better than I have done in ages.

Another item which makes me shake my head is the people who complained about the floor show every night.  I think it’s great, although I’ll probably be tired of it in a week.  It’s quite loud – but nice to hear from your room.  A nine piece live merengue band is an auditory treat.

My kind regards to all you suckers.  I’m having a wonderful time.

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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

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