Friday October 20 2017


At 4:55 a.m. my alarm goes off. Mom drives me to the airport. It seems like it’s still the night before – the sun still hides from the city.

At the airport it’s smooth sailing through check-in and TSA security. Jimmy and Tony Bullard join me on the plane. There’s a maintenance issue before we take off that lasts almost 30 minutes. But then, it’s a semi-comfortable flight to Miami – layover for a couple hours.

RX Breakfast Bar.

Back in flight mode for another 2 hours across the ocean to our destination: Dominican Republic. As soon as we get off the plane there’s a little Meringue band making noise to welcome us. Hustlers on the curbside try to make a dollar helping you transport your luggage to the van. On the drive to the resort we get a glimpse into the everyday street life here – reminds me of Indonesia – motorcycles rule the road – lanes are merely a guideline – multicolor buildings of all different architectural design sit planted in no particular order along the road.

Time to explore the terrain. People wading in the pool next to a bar – on the beach there’s a VIP only area where they have fancy beds right out in the open with white curtains adorned on the posts – it feels like I’m in an R&B video – picturesque couples lying on the beds and sitting in the Jacuzzi’s soaking in their vacation. I take a stroll along the beach – feet wading in the water. Wild dogs, cats, and peacocks roam the sand and all across the resort. I find Drew relaxing on a lawn chair – a big peaceful smile on her face.

Later on, we all have a reservation at The Blue Lagoon – the kind of place that requires a reservation and serves small delicate portions. I order the Grouper with Caribbean Salad and Mud Cake – along with fruity cocktails. Two older native gentlemen serenade us with a couple Latin tunes.  

After 9:30 Elias, a very hospitable taxi driver, takes a small group of us into town to the nearest Casino. I really want to play poker but I put a limit on it up front so I don’t get trapped into buying back in multiple times. While Drew and everyone else tames the Black Jack tables I sit down at the only poker table there is. My lack of Spanish makes it difficult to communicate sometimes but overall we all know the rules and the rhythm of the game. I take a moment to observe my surroundings and realize where I’m at – at a local casino in the middle of Dominican Republic. I watch girls sit beside men at the slot machines befriending them in order to keep the men putting money into the games. The characters at my poker table each have distinct personalities comparable to a table one might play in America. One heavy set man with fat lips, whom I get the feeling is the one in charge of this place, smokes a cigar casually as he throws in chips – every now and then commenting on the game in Spanish. Meanwhile, it’s an up and down hill for me. At one point I land quads, a very rare hand. They give me a 2,000 peso bonus as a reward! I should’ve just stopped right there and walked away tripling up but I continue and feel the slow bleed of chips out of my hands. Good times.

On the drive back to the resort Elias promises he can take us to see “Senioritas” but instead we get back. Nigel tells one of his corny jokes, something about how three Jews invented air condition and their names being Low, Norm, and Max. [insert chuckle]

Finally, in the hotel room. Eric’s flipping through the TV channels, most of it with overdubbed Spanish. I’m just grateful to be in this bed.

[i] Images by me.

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