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September 2004
Bayahibe, Dominican Republic

Tutto inclusivo

Well, here I am…Ready for a vacation. After 14 months of good old corporate slavery, I am finally approaching my long awaited vacation to the Dominican Republic. It is Tuesday morning 4.30 a.m., and my alarm goes off. I wish I have to get up for my flight to hedonistic delights, but no, I have to get up to catch my fight for Washington DC for 4 more days of work. OK, the alarm goes off, I grab my cell phone with one hand, the charger with the other, and start climbing down the ladder from my loft where I sleep. Apparently at 4.30 a.m. I am not ready for an elegant descent; I slip, and down the ladder…pain…blood…and no time because I have to catch my flight. I shower the blood off, call Janine to get me some Aspirin to make my blood thinner, and off to Washington DC where I work all day and keep my leg up in the air during the night. Meanwhile my thigh looks like a gigantic aubergine with a hard boiled egg surgically inserted underneath my skin.

Friday with some delay because of a defect aircraft I make it back to Boston at 10 p.m. where my next flight to Miami at 7.30 a.m. is already on the monitors. My dear friend Janine picks me up from the airport. I throw my clothes into the washing machine and get ready to entertain some friends who I have invited for drinks. After a short sleep, the alarm goes off at 4.45 a.m.. After packing I am off to Miami and on to La Romana in the Dominican Republic. Mind you, it is Sept 11 and I am flying over New York City at 8.30 a.m.. All went well and the vacation is finally here.

As always when I travel to Spanish speaking countries I take my little Spanish course with me hoping I would find some time for studying the language. The pickup from the airport works fine, and I get a nice room in my all inclusive Viva Resort. I immediately enjoy the delicious food at the lunch buffet. Back in my room I get a phone call that even plundering the mini bar in my room is without any extra charge. If my damn leg wasn't hurting everything would be fine.

I start wandering around the beautiful resort trying to figure out where people are from, and what I kind of people I will have to deal with for the next 9 nights. Well, I am kind of prepared for Germans, Americans, not no, it is Italians, and they are everywhere. Here I am trying to study Spanish and everybody speaks Italian including the Spanish speaking personnel. Tutto - todo - parlare - hablar - e - es. I AM CONFUSED. There is also a nice share of French, so lets add "tout" and "parler" to the confusion. The French tend to not mix with other nations and stay quiet in the background compared to the Italians who seems to have power amplifiers built into their voices.

As I am lying on the pool studying the faces and noses, behaviorisms and lip movements, suddenly this crew of uniformly dressed sporty creatures starts molesting me to take part in all kinds of activities like beach volley, salsa class and a beer drinking completion. This is the moment when I realize what "All inclusive" means. It is not just food and booze, but it is bloody Dirty Dancing. Luckily I have my egg plant colored leg which works great to scare them away.

Another thing I have to learn quickly. All inclusive includes a lot but no homosexuals. The few spotted individuals end up being those meterosexuals, or still need to find themselves. Italians, you know, they find themselves behind the altar with the young cute priest while the girlfriend is cooking dinner at home. No church and the girlfriends are on vacation with them. There are the animators, but with Latinos in their home countries is not that easy either. What else can I do but smoke a cigarette here and there because those are the only fags I can get get during this vacation.

The vacation works in a 48 hour cycle. One day, more activity, the next day, my leg hurts and I have to rest all day. Finally when I decide to ignore my leg and try windsurfing. I find out that there is a hurricane approaching and all water activities have been canceled. It is September after all, but I thought since Hurricane Ivan missed the island, I should be good for my 9 days. No, that is not the case. Hurricane Jeanne is on her way.

First she is supposed to pass the Dominican Republic on the north shore, but then that bitch changes her mind and she blows destructively straight through the island. The island gets into a state of emergency. Power and water go out but luckily in my hotel only for a couple of hours. At this time I exercise bonding with my new acquired friends from Germany. Three single salsa dancers, two girls and one meterosexual (damn). We play games in the room hoping the water would come back so we can flush the toilet if needed. Meanwhile an old school bus brings us to the neighbor resort where lunch is served in the theatre because all the restaurants are flooded.

Luckily our hotel is very modern and we get water and electricity In other hotels tourists have to sleep in a gymnasium because all rooms are flooded or have to get evacuated by helicopter. The TV is gone, so we don't know what is going on in the rest of the world.

After three days the weather is getting better but the little cold that I got from having wet feet all the time turns into a fever and I have to hide in my room for two days to get better. Delirious from the fever I also find out that I will not be able to make my flight because the bridge to La Romana (airport) is flooded. Luckily the gentleman from American Airlines is very friendly and changes my ticked to another airport on the island which can be reached by land. So I schedule a taxi to bring me to airport on my day of departure.

My last morning…the fever is gone…the sky is finally blue again….and my taxi is waiting for me at 11 a.m. to bring me in a two hour ride across the country to Punta Cana Airport. Gigantic pot holes, trees and electricity poles lying on the ground. The country will need a while to recover. It is very sad.

Here I am now typing into my laptop at Punta Cana Airport getting ready for one day in Boston and then off to Washington DC for an exciting project.