Sunday, August 2, 2009
Back from a week in the sun and sand. I ate too much, had too much fun, and had more than my share of sun.
I also wrote.
So you good reader, get to share my seven day excursion by way of journal.
I will not do the ungrateful blog faux pas of posting all of my ramblings in one heap of a post. I would much rather spread it out over a week or so, and hope that you get a sense of our journey that lasted seven days.
I hope you take a partial peace and piece of the experience I had, and I hope you enjoy,
The plane lands in Punta Cana International airport, and the first anomaly that strikes is the grass and palm thatched roof on what appears to be a tiny and primitive international terminal. I half expect to see Nick Nolte and Chuck Norris type characters come flying out on the tarmac in military decked out jeeps and duke it out with us with semi-automatic weapons, It is a visual deju vu almost from Hollywood. A movie like "Nicaragua" comes to mind.
It is just past 7:30 on Saturday evening when Mary and I land for my first true vacation in well over 15 years. I am both excited and open minded. Excited about visiting the Dominican Republic for the first time, and open minded about "letting go" and discovering a Zen like inner peace and tranquility that I hope comes from seven days of blue Caribbean ocean that is outlined with near perfect white sand, and boasted with ever ever present coconut palm trees.
As we exit the airplane right out doors to the steamy asphalt tarmac, the tar seems to melt and evaporate in a hot hallucination brought on by the 33 degree Celsius temperatures. The moist hot humid air fills my lungs immediately as if I just took a huge swallow of hot black African Rooibus tea.
The runway is lined with many planes that all sport foreign countries.I am in awe of the multitude of countries that are landed at this port. Holland, Great Britain, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Germany, Finland...to name a few. In my naivete I pictured only us sun and beach deprived Canadians such as Mary and I that would come to this Caribbean Island in the heat of July. We would discover that we are just a tiny fraction of the tourist population here.
I am nervous to be sure, when I not two large men that work the "Immigration" checkpoint that I am in line to go through. There are no smiles on their faces and I hear no "Hola!" traditional welcome given to my fellow travellers ahead of me in line as they make their way past the imposing military attired Dominican civil servants. I quickly glance at my paperwork that I hurriedly filled out in the dimly lit terminal. The mostly Spanish required paper work has guessed at for the most part by me. As I approach the checkpoint I wonder if I will be detained for questioning as a result of my laziness and ineptitude.
The uniformed Dominican looks at my passport (although I truly doubt he read any of it or looked at picture for comparison), then took my guessed at answers on my paperwork and placed them in a box where I note thousands of others are lying in disarray. Perhaps destined for a fireplace in the hills.
Welcome to the Island!
This vacation will be a "first" on many levels. For starters in my life before deafness, Janet and I always opted to stay home on vacation and do house projects. In my world of business I travelled Canada extensively and constantly. Living in hotels,waiting for the inevitable flight delays and passing valuable family time in airport terminals that all have the same shops and sterile die cuts It has been two years since I have graced the the at one time very familiar airport security, and today as I flew out of Toronto, I am aware of my deafness more so today than in previous days in the past two years, as I struggle with boarding announcements and general airport information. In my cochlear Implant world the comprehension of electronically and artificially enhanced speech, is less than 10% comprehended.
Going through security I await with trepidation the "beep" of the metal detector that should pick up my surgically implanted tiny computer that lies millimetres just inside my melon. I have my Advanced Bionics card that will explain that I harbour no weapons or small metal projectiles that I might have evil designs or intent.
But no "beep".
I smile relieved, but wonder now about the reliability of our airport security.
Now arrived in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, the bus ride to our resort is a wonderfully short one. Bavaro Beach is a quick 15 minutes in the darkness that surprises me. It is barely past 8 pm, but the sun has been extinguished for almost 15 minutes, It is as if God has wet his thumb and snuffed out the ball of orange flame swiftly and with ease. The darkness snuck on us quickly, and will continue to surprise for the next few days. The darkness that engulfs us on this bus ride is in striking contrast to the sun that I marvelled at forty five minutes earlier.
On the way to Bavaro Beach the road seems narrow, but here are no lights for me to judge. The driver must know the quirks and quarks of the journey well. The large tour bus that takes about 40 or 50 of us to our destination seems so ill fitted for the narrow roads, yet the driver guides it well over the twists and turns. The narrow jungle growth lined paths appear to be almost rainforest like in setting. The driver stops and with patience it seems, waits as native workers on two-wheeled bikes take away the much need room to navigate his big bus through a particularly tight area. He waits for as long as he can, knowing that he has a schedule, but he respects their schedule to get home to their families as well.
He flashes his lights in the darkness to explain that his waiting is done, and the workers dismount and allow the big bus to pass throught the path that might be called a road, in this jungle like landscape.
We arrive at the resort and Mary and I are in awe of the sheer size as well as the majestic architecure. The huge white colums and glistening marble tiles in the entrance lobby are but a small indicator of the elegance and oppulance that will delight our senses over the next seven days.
More to come, and thanks for letting us share!