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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Beach Baby, Beach Baby!

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | Saturday, 23 June 2012 | Views [2988]

Five difficult, grueling, sweat-soaked days of work has passed. It's our time now to get salt-soaked! Last night Courtney and Amy took a tally of who was going to the beach today, and we all raised our hands. They also got in contact with the people on the Blue Moon project so I was really excited at the possibility of seeing Emily and the rest of the group from the Spanish course. After breakfast Felo showed up and we all grabbed our favourite seats, and with me I had my snorkelling gear, camera, and a few other things. The bus ride would be at our own expense; for the day the whole bus costs roughly US$160 but since there were about 27 of us it worked out to a little more than $5 per person. We drove past where we normally turn off to Caraballo and then made our way to the beaches of Sosua. There's a completely different atmosphere to what I've seen elsewhere in the DR: surfboards, banana boats, kitesurfing, beachside massage, and the whole lot. There's also a sizable population of German expats. As I was walking onto the beach I got a large splinter in my foot, which I spent 10 minutes in the bathroom trying to get it out. Then it was beach time for me! The girls are in their bikinis and I'm in the water. I'm with Bev here.

Janine and Bev and I got several photos before I got a gorgeous photo of Katie! A girl from Manitoba in a bikini is about as common as a blizzard in the DR, so this is a rare shot! Katie is a real stunner! Since I'm the only one with a waterproof camera I was able to snap several unique photos of several people underwater. Cheta, Alisa, and various others opted for a banana boat ride.

They asked if I wanted to join but when I lived on the farm in Whitianga I rode the banana boat nearly everyday in the New Zealand summer. The girls were ripped off through; they were promised a 15-minute ride that didn't even last five minutes and were charged almost $10 and there was a big dispute about it. Janine was ripped off when she bought a coconut and paid in American dollars. Many of the other volunteers are first-time travellers and are unaware of the plethora of scams they'll encounter whilst travelling. At that point I made it abundantly clear to everyone to not pay with American dollars. In some countries the dollar is an official currency (El Salvador, Panama) whilst in some you can pay with dollars as a secondary currency (Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua, etc.) but dollars are not a secondary currency in the DR and you WILL get ripped off if you use dollars. Whilst the rest of the group were busy sipping coconuts, swimming, and soaking up some intoxicating UV rays, Melissa, Teo, and I walked along the beach in search of the Blue Moon group. Emily would be impossible to miss with her dreadlocks! We strolled the entire length of the beach and didn't spot a single member of the Blue Moon group, so we had to leave without seeing them. Next on the agenda was lunch, and I was ready to feast on pizza! We drove to Puerta Plata and then Felo herds us all into one restaurant. When I asked him if there was a restuarant where I could get pizza he told me there were none. So, I ordered a pina colada and they don't even put rum in it! And then I order pork chops and it would be awhile, so Felo decides to take us on a shopping excursion. The only thing I was interested in are postcards, in which I got a few but there were no stamps and no post offices nearby to buy any. When we got back to the restaurant the food wasn't even ready! And then like 15 minutes later I'm served these dried out pork chops that appeared as though that sat on the counter for a couple of hours. By golly it was a nightmare at the restaurant! Anna discovered a large cockroach in her food, the server tried to rip Janine off, and we were just getting frustrated. Since Melissa is a vegetarian she went out in search of something, and she found pizza! By then I was pissed off because I felt that Felo should have pointed out several restaurants on the waterfront with "there's this kind of food here, there's this kind of food there." My bill ended up being 500 (US$12.50) for a rum-less pina colada, dried out pork chops, and decent french fries. When they tried to charge me an 80 peso tax on top of it all I just lost it! I throw down my 500 peso note and stormed out in a huff toward the bus! When we all piled back onto the bus I was told that Torrie paid my tax, which I gave back to her because it wasn't her fault for what happened or me getting upset. It was very clear that Felo felt bad and in his frustration he backed into a motorcycle and squashed it. It wasn't until a long dispute with the driver that we were finally on our way. My frustrated simmered down when we were in the ocean again; this time off of Puerto Plata. The beach wasn't as beautiful but I still had a lot of fun and I got my chance at something unique. I'm not sure what they call this sport but you stand on a surfboard with a paddle.

Except for lousy food at a very lousy restaurant, and not seeing the Blue Moon group it was a great day out today! At Tubagua we all shared what happened with Amy and Courtney. Courtney said she wished she was there and that she felt bad, but I suggested that what Felo should do for the next group is point out several restaurants and let them have a modicum of freedom. We're young adults, but we're adults; we're not middle school students who have to have their hand held everywhere they go. It's true it's the first time overseas for many of the volunteers but part of the experience is diving on in! When I took my first journey, nobody held my hand and I was completely free. That's the best way to do it, and that's when you discover yourself best. Regardless of the circumstances I can't complain much; I'm in the Dominican Republic and for the most part I'm having a blast. After a long day at the beach I'm saturated with saltwater, so now it's time for a shower! 


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