I checked email in the lounge once a day, more to make sure that no one had died and no cat of mine had gotten mysteriously ill in my absence (as the Small Troubled Cat is wont to do occasionally when I go out of town). My phone didn't work internationally, and I didn't care. It is rare that I Check Out, and felt so good to be away from email, texts, and anything pressing. Instead - my book called to me. And endless trains of free drinks. And guavas, mangoes, passion fruit, sugar cane, and the vast Technicolor cornucopia of fruits and vegetables laid out everywhere. Everything was glittering - brilliant, clear blues and whites with the occasional shock of bright, luscious pinks and reds of fruit and tropical drinks. We laughed, we spent time with our friends, and we attended an absolutely beautiful wedding. We went snorkeling in reefs filled with fish spanning from the size of my pinky to the size of my arm. We lounged on boats floating in ten feet of glassy water, gazing down through the clarity to see the powder-fine sand beneath.
I saw sea urchins, spiky and menacing to protect the hearts of them, so brilliant red they appeared to glow under the water. There were clownfish and coral that looked like brains, and hundreds of other fish that I cannot identify but for their appearance. Bright Blue Skinny Fish With Needle Nose, Flat Silver Fish With Fat Black Stripes, Teensy Wee Neon Yellow Fish With Crossed-Looking Eyes. Scientific names unknown.
It didn't escape me once that on the other side of that vast island of paradise is Haiti. And that, outside of the resort, there was nothing. That our dollars are worth hundreds of thousands of pesos. It's that part of me that feels the pull between the love of nice things, nice places, nice food, nice drinks; and the guilt that tugs at me when I feel the discrepancy between how I make my living and how I spend my free time. I live my life swinging from moment to juxtaposed moment. I haven't found a way to make peace with this yet. For the time being - it just is.
|A popular choice: caipirinhas. Brazil's national cocktail with a Dominican spin - local sugar and rum; not quite a real caipirinha, not quite a mojito. Delicious all around.|
|Once again - international breakfast buffets prove a bajillion times better than American fare.|
|Oh, you know, just a fried banana. Wrapped in bacon. Win.|
|Plantain and yucca chips.|
|Crab cake and citrus salad.|
|The wedding. Was. Beautiful.|
|Where the Brahma never runs dry....|
|Apparently the Dominican Republic is flirting madly with Russian tourists, trying to entice them to buy property.|
|Right back at you, bro.|
|The decision is yours.|