Finally here at the resort! A definite first for me, I guess I have to rewind a bit and explain myself before I go any further. You see I have always said I was born “under the sun” and therefore did not have to spend any of my hard-earned money going to a sunny destination for a vacation. I was wrong! This is heaven. Going back home to Africa is not a vacation at all it’s going home. But this trip to the Dominican Republic, now that’s a vacation. Ok, so now that I have gotten that out-of-the-way, let’s talk about the trip.
The journey from Toronto to Puerto Plata was about 4 hours and uneventful unless you count the loud obnoxious “know it alls” who were sitting behind me. They felt they had to explain everything and I mean just about everything to whom exactly, we have yet to find out. Anyways I eventually tuned them out thanks to my beloved Kindle which I bought as a treat to myself this past Christmas. The plane landed at Puerto Plata airport around 10pm and there I have to take a moment and thank the universe for blessing me with such eye candy. Standing by the exit doorway from the plane to immigration was some serious eye candy – oh did I mention that he was probably young enough to be dating my daughter if I had one- but I digress eye candy is eye candy at whatever age. After waiting for a good 20 minutes or so for my luggage Zoe and I found ourselves face to face with what I have to say so far more than 24 hours later in the Dominican Republic remains the most beautiful/handsome/gorgeous simply divine God’s gift to human kind a man to literally die for. We didn’t have to say anything to each other or pinch each other like girlfriends normally do, we had both noticed this beautiful creature, his arms, his lips, simply amazing! What made this man delicious to look at besides his God-given natural looks was the fact that he knew he was fine, he knew we were looking at him, he knew we knew he was fine. “Ola” said the dude and of course yours truly could not do much except grin like an idiot hoping against hope that he would slip his number back to me at the same time as my passport. But of course that didn’t happen. Zoe and I started contemplating whether we were going to be blessed with such beauty again on this journey. Honestly we were so happy as if someone had just told us that while Stella had to go to Jamaica to get her groove back our destination was Dominican Republic. Reality hit me exactly 2 minutes after these beautiful thoughts when we were greeted animatedly by our tour guide a man I will just say was a far cry from Mr Immigration dude. I have to say a few Hail Marys to atone for my thoughts and rudeness directed towards the tour guide dude coz he wasn’t immigration dude and he kept asking me questions none stop totally missing the point that I wasn’t interested in him period. Anyways an hour and fifteen minutes later we were finally at Bahia Principe in San Juan after driving though Sosua were there was a baseball match taking place under floodlights. This of coz had me dreaming that maybe I would meet my Jose Cruz/Sammy Sousa/Carlos Delgado/Vernon Wells/Roberto Alomar who knows a baseball dude. I am sure by now you have guessed that I have a one track mind it’s stuck on men, men, men.
I am not usually like this but a few weeks after walking away from a relationship that I wanted more than anything is no picnic. I keep telling myself that I am going to find a handsome dude who will love me forever and I can stick it to my ex and say one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Whatever, right! If there is one thing I should know by now is that life is not like that…. it just is! But walking away from that relationship is what led me to think outside my box and book a trip to the Dominican Republic without any thought to the cost.
The resort is a massive place with yellowish buildings spread out over a lot of land, I wouldn’t even begin to guess how big this place is. There are 3 A la carte restaurants, one buffet type restaurant, one snack/fast food joint and many bars this is the part that makes me super happy. But means nothing to my friend Zoë who doesn’t care much for alcohol. There is a gym not that great but hey who would even dream of spending a minute inside that gym when you can get all the exercising you need by walking up and down left, right and centre through this resort and you would probably shed a few pounds doing just that. There is also a spa which I have to confess after looking at the price list both Zoe and I decided we were not going to see the inside of. The cheapest thing on that price list was a 30 minute Caribbean Massage for $55 US. Right outside our cabana was the tennis courts, mini-golf, bicycle rental place and huge coconut trees. Again all simply divine. Sadly I can’t say the same about the beach at our resort, it was sand and more sand that dirty looking kind of sand.
Can I just confess that I don’t care much for going to the beach. Why you ask? well my picture of the beach is ‘blubbery’ old men with wobbly fat thighs in skin-tight teeny-weeny trunks with unattractive muffin tops (can they ever be attractive?) I find that revolting and I don’t want to see it. I personally don’t wear 2 piece or a one piece bathing suit coz I have issues that’s why. I wear a bathing dress to cover my fat inner thighs, my wobbly stomach. And so I definitely don’t want to see it on others. However enough of my insecurities really I am carrying quite a lot of them on this journey.
Back to the trip by the time we were done with showering and settling in it was already after 2am. I don’t know why we got on this subject but our first night in this magical place Zoe and I decided to talk about horror movies. We were going on for hours talking about the Exorcist which we both feel remains the scariest movie ever made. We talked about The Shinning, Rosemary’s Baby, The Ring and the Rite. Needless to say we both were tossing and turning long after the scary conversation had stopped. On my part I was scared to close my eyes and deal with all my demons imagined and otherwise which I thought I had left back in Toronto. I am not sure what was keeping Zoe awake till almost 4am besides the lumpy mattress which she confessed was the worst mattress she had ever slept on in all her travels. This might be a 4 star resort but the mattress is definitely not in that category.
Our first day at the resort we missed breakfast because we were up after 10am then went to one of those “Welcome” meetings at the resort. So when we finally made our way to the huge outdoor breakfast area we were told by a pretty smiling but very firm Latina that, breakfast time was over, this despite our pleading then eventual rudeness. Finally when we realized rules were rules – like breakfast is served from 7-10:30 and not a minute after – and we should learn to stick to them, we walked away cursing under our breaths. We did not want to be the stereotypical ‘rude’ black women. Which reminds, me on the way here to The Dominican Republic on the over packed humongous Air Transat plane Zoe and I noticed that we were the only 2 black people on that flight and wondered what that might mean. When we got to the resort we made it our mission to find other black people even employees. We found one other very lovely black couple also from Toronto. On that first day here we also noticed one black employee and greeted him with huge smiles on our faces as if he was our long-lost brother. Just before 12 we went … I guess the resort’s concierge desk to find out about how to get from the resort to the local town centre and beyond and where to have my hair braided. The beautiful Swedish born concierge young lady of Moroccan descent jokingly told Zoe and I off because of our questions about where were all the black people. She told us to stop acting foolish and just enjoy our vacation. She asked why black people do this…why do black people always look for “trouble” when it’s not there. Feeling sheepishly stupid after being told off like a kid I backed off and pretended to be interested in her African heritage as a fellow African. I have to say I was thinking about what she had said to us and I realised that I agreed with her. I am guilty of doing exactly that, I don’t know why I have to make every situation a ‘how many black people are here’, ‘where are the black people situation’, but I just do. I guess its one of those things that we do for no other reason but wanting to find comfort in knowing that as a black person when you travel you have back up in numbers should there be need to defend yourself; from whom? I guess from the white people should they decide to attack! Foolish I know but hey I was in Zimbabwe during the liberation struggle so I know what it means to take cover and hide from attacking white men. OK enough of that and back to the resort.
My advice to anyone thinking of going to an all-inclusive resort but can’t stand being stuck in one place for a week is bring lots and lots of money. You see, all the exciting things happen off the resort and they cost money. There is almost always an excursion better than the last one every day of the week. We were hoping to go on at least 3 of the 5 day trips on offer but had to come down to earth and just pick one. So we will be decided on the ‘beach/ flea market/ rum factory /cigar factory’ tour in Sosua and Puerto Plata for a whopping cost of $58 US per person. We wanted to go on a Safari tour or the Zip lining one but at a cost of US$ 90 we just could not swing that.
After lunch on day one we charmed and battered our way to US $20 taxi ride return journey into the local town centre and beach in Rio San Juan. This I have to say was value for money and both Zoe and I felt we owed the kind taxi driver more money than the measly 20 bucks. So we gave him 200 pesos which is equivalent to about 6 bucks extra. We absolutely loved this small inlet like beach which is the hub centre for the local community. We were chatting with the locals. I had a fabulous time under the shade having my hair braided and ogling handsome men. I have to say I have never been to a part of the world where there was such a huge concentration of handsome men. If my heart had stopped beating that afternoon I would have gladly gone to heaven or hell content and in bliss! Zoe enjoyed some R&R swimming and reading Terri Macmillan’s “Getting to Happy” I am pretty sure she to got to happy with all the eye candy that was on display at the beach.
After spending almost 5hrs at the Rio San Juan beach and me having to turn this way and that to get my hair braided we finally jumped in the taxi back to the resort. I finally got why so many people spend tons of money every year to come on these vacations. Doing absolutely nothing and having no daily pressures sure is good for the soul. It gives one’s spirit that rare opportunity to heal itself. From now onwards I am going to be taking “nothingness” vacations like this. Back at the resort we showered and went for supper in the big open buffet style restaurant. Another piece of advice the minute you get to a resort when doing an all-inclusive vacation package, make sure you make dinner reservations right away. The a la carte restaurants have limited seating and therefore they are by reservation only and there is a dress code. By the time we realised this we could only get reservation for 3 nights only all other nights were fully booked. After supper on day one we decided to go for a walk and enjoy the resort’s buzzing night life. There was a magic show and good music blasting from some boom box tucked away somewhere. We were sitting outside taking all this in and just talking about life. Zoe took to the slot machines for about half an hour while I over indulged in the local brew under the stars typing away my vacation story. We finally decided to call it a night around midnight I think. Who the heck keeps track of time in these places anyway? I went to bed feeling refreshed and spiritually connected to myself. I knew then that I had made one of the best decisions of my adult life so far by booking this trip at this time with all the emotional garbage I was dealing with. That first night under the beautiful un-intrusive stars and the calming, silent Dominican Republic night I honestly felt I was truly going to be okay. Mind you the hour I spent purging my soul of all the pain, and ‘what-could-have-beens’ while discussing honestly and openly with Zoe definitely helped; and of course we must not forget the powerful contribution of the local brew!
All night long we could hear the rain pounding away. We even woke up to more rain. Which was just fine by me because being on vacation also means sleeping in!!! We made it to breakfast before 10:30. It was nothing to write home about. Today we will be spending the day lounging at the resort reading our books and I will also be finishing the first chapter of this here blog post.
Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. We have to get up early for breakfast because our one and only excursion this vacation into Sosua and Puerto Plata towns starts at 8am.
Bottoms up and chat later
Monday February 7th, 2011 at 12:11pm
Bahia Principe Rio San Juan Resort