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Finding peace, friendships and love – the Dominican Republic pt 3

Feb 11, 2011

Who the hack knows what time it is right now???

Day 3 has got to be the day that I understood what being on vacation means. After breakfast Zoe and I went and found a lovely spot at the beach at Bahia Principe, our resort. I had not showered, I had just gotten up brushed my teeth went to eat and that was it. I looked up in the sky and started thinking about what I had left behind in Toronto. I had time to reflect on my life and where I wanted it to go. I think after about 10 minutes of wrestling with all these thoughts and questions I realized that I didn’t need to think about all that at all. I became very tired and just wanted to sleep out there under the watchful eye of the clear blue sky, bright stars and the good Lord and his wisdom. I slept like a baby for real as if I had no care in the world or a big decision to make on February 14th, 2011 upon my return back to Toronto. From that day until today Saturday February 12, 2011 at 01:15am I have not bothered with all the demons I left behind. I knew right away on that 3rd day that I was where I was supposed to be at that moment. That it was not by accident that I had found myself in the Dominican Republic especially the fact that I had booked this vacation a week before my life changed drastically. Had it been the old me or if this journey had been refundable I would have cancelled it and took that money to the bank to keep it for a rainy day which I was convinced was coming.

I have traveled extensively around the world clocking thousands of air miles each year hopping from one plane onto another. But in all my travels I have never experienced “the moment”. This is that time of nothingness, when you are at peace with you, your environment, your mind, your body, your spirit, your beliefs and knowing full well that you were absolutely fine and were going to be fine. Not knowing how you knew this to be true but deep down in your heart knowing it to be the absolute truth. Amen to this. I am a believer in God, and excuse me those who don’t believe in God that’s okay, that’s your entitlement. I do believe and I knew he was with me and would make everything alright. The stress migraines I had been experiencing in Toronto were gone; my bad knee which has given me pain for years especially when going up the stairs was also silent. In fact I forgot I had a bad knee. I am not saying I was healed or cured or my troubles were all of a sudden gone. I am saying in this paradise, in this beautiful country I found something and experienced a state of peace day after day which I had never done before. This feeling of being at peace is why I knew that things would be alright.  I started rationally and calmly looking at my life to find solutions instead of lamenting on and on about the imagined problems I thought I had. “Be still” and listen.

We didn’t do much after this 3rd day except eat, sit by the beach, eat some more, swim, bathe, sit by the beach, and eat then go to bed. This is what I spent my hard-earned money for….the nothingness. This was why I was in the Dominican Republic for a vacation. Amen again! So much more happened during my stay at the resort like the nightly entertainment shows and the disco at night. I just want to say, please don’t fly from Toronto or wherever specifically to enjoy a resort’s nightly entertainment, you will be disappointed.  People come here for the sun, the beauty and nothingness. And that you will find in abundance. I enjoyed the nightly entertainment shows for what they were. On my last night I finally made my way to the disco and karaoke bars. I had tons of fun listening to drunken people belt some tunes. All things considered it was a perfect way to say goodbye to the Dominican Republic…a night out listening to music and drinking wine with zero cares in the world.

My best day hands down in the Dominican Republic came on our final day Saturday February 12th, 2011.  Zoe has a friend called Magda who lives in both Toronto and the Dominican Republic.

This lady had kindly invited us to spend our last night as her guests. But due to financial constraints we were not able to go. She then offered to come and pick us up from the hotel on Saturday around 11am then bring us back around 4pm in time to catch our bus to the airport. By 11am we were all packed and had checked out of our rooms ready for our tour of Cabarette and Sosua with Magda. She picked us up accompanied by a lovely looking young Dominican guy called Adolfo. Adolfo was kind of shy and it didn’t help that his English was limited. So we didn’t communicate much with him from the resort to Magda’s condo by the sea. All the way to Cabarrette, Magda was giving us history of the country and pointing out places of interest. She chatted on about how she a Cuban Canadian woman ended up living and loving the Dominican Republic. She is a fascinating woman listening to her was so inspiring and made me think about myself and the decisions waiting for me back in Toronto. We arrived at Madga’s condo and got out of Adolfo’s car to use the toilet. Unfortunately Magda did not have her keys so we had to use her neighbour’s bathroom. This condo was to die for, Zoe and I forgot that we were supposed to use the toilet only and get out. We were overwhelmed by the beauty of this condo that we forgot our manners and gave ourselves a tour of the neighbour’s place. With our eyes green with envy we went to meet Magda to find out how much a place like that would cost. She promised to find out and let us know.

After the bathroom stop we were told that we would be making a stop at Adolfo’s gallery.

Wow is all I can say about the pieces we saw in Adolfo’s studio.The man is a genius, he had some amazing pieces that had Zoe and I aahing and wowing non stop. He told us to select one poster each from some of the posters he had created. Little did we know more was coming? On our way out after we discovered we were not in a financial position to purchase even the smallest of his paintings, Magda told us that Adolfo besides painting was also a photographer. Now I am a tough cookie I am not easily moved by “pictures” but OMG the photographs absolutely took my breath away. Adolfo had a collection of young black kids in different poses depicting  pain you immediately felt in your own heart as if you were that child. I was stunned by the tears, the emotions I saw on one little boy’s face so much that Adolfo (bless his good heart) felt he had no choice but to pull out this photograph, autograph it then silently hand it to me.

He explained in Spanish to Magda that it was in my eyes, in the way I looked at that boy, that was why he decided to give me that photograph. He asked Zoe and Magda to select their favourite photographs and gave them one each as well.  I have to say there are some people in the world that are just good people what a wonderful artist and man, this quiet Dominican guy. I pray and hope that this young man -well really I could not tell how old Adolfo is but hey- finds much success in this life and that his work gets to be seen and enjoyed by many people who appreciate good art. Zoe and I started thinking and plotting how we can help get him to be featured back in Toronto. As God wills so shall it be!

With our presents nicely rolled in a protective little drum like thingy we headed for some more sites. We went to the local municipal offices where Adolfo works. There we met more wonderful people, Magda introduced us to her husband Manuel (he has worked for years in radio and media in Canada and the States), to Carolina ( a stunning wonderfully put together senorita who I have to say has that “it” factor) then to Ko (if there was ever a person who knew and appreciated and lived music Ko was that person). We then went to the local theatre, casino, aesthetic health and gym all in one complex in Sosua. What an amazing building. One thing that’s common in Sosua is the Victorian style buildings you see everywhere. This place would be a dream come true for someone who has an eye for buildings, structures and that sort of thing. I am rushing through all the activities that we did on our last day in the Dominican Republic because there was a heck of a lot of activities all cramped into one afternoon. If we had known we were going to have such an amazing day we would not have wasted $58 bucks going on a tour of Puerto Plata and Sosua.

We finally drove to Ko’s place for lunch. I can’t say much; in fact I don’t have words to describe this piece of paradise Ko owns.

I will let the pictures do the talking. From the art deco, to the million dollar seafront view to heck everything about Ko’s place spoke MONEY in capital letters. Before we could get over all this we were invited to an absolutely delicious lunch. This has got to be one of the best lunches I have consumed in a while; we had red beans (one of Dominican Republic’s staple foods), shrimp, steak, fried bananas and plantain, rice and for dessert I don’t know what it was but it was simply divine as Zoe declared. I was looking out to the bluest sea and eating this scrumptious meal…hey I will say heaven is definitely a place on earth and leave it at that.

Magda, Carolina, Ko and Adolfo mucho gracias por favor a million times for giving us a taste of what good life full of good friends is all about. Ko I will definitely get you a mixed cd full of some of Africa’s best. Can I just say Ko has an amazing collection of music from all over the world and loves all music.  We were driven back to the resort; we kissed each other good-bye and promised to keep in touch. If we never see each other again that’s okay but I thank you for your kindness and giving me memories that will stay with me forever.

We left the resort for the airport around 6:50pm. This journey to the airport was totally different from the one from the airport on that first day 7 days ago. Everyone was silent, I wonder why lol! Our flight was supposed to leave Dominican Republic around 10:55pm to arrive in Toronto around 2am. Well its been delayed one wonders when we will finally get to Toronto. I am busy writing this blog it’s now 10:30pm and hey I will get to Toronto when I get there, worrying and stressing about it isn’t going to get me there any earlier.  I will head to the bar for a glass or 2 and day-dream about Adolfo’s paintings, Ko’s beautiful place, Carolina’s elegance, Magda’s adventurous spirit, Manuelo’s experience, the immigration dude guy I saw when I first got here’s manliness, and finally days spent in the state of nothingness at the Bahia Principe resort and say a silent prayer of thanks to the good Lord. Muy bien!

I am thinking of going to Quebec City to the Ice hotel before the winter season is over but for the next big trip I will be going home to Africa! Until then, Adios!

Special K

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