Every structure in the resort has a roof of dried palm leaves. They are intricate in their artistry and give the place a more natural feel. The upkeep is continuous and the work takes place around us everyday, trimming, discarding and filling in what remains.
Our room is a haven of calm. Fresh flowers scattered on the many surfaces and bed. Dark wood and grey stone in the large bathroom with two sinks, a jacuzzi tub, and an open, glass shower. Baskets of rolled towels. A large walk in closet. A bedroom that’s double doors open onto a patio with cushion furniture and a swim up pool shared by just a handful of rooms. It is quiet apart from the buzzing of wildlife.
Yoga in a hut on the beach. A reflective way to begin my morning. It is the meditative beginners class, with only four practitioners.
During another walk there are about 10 horses tied among the palm trees and small groups of riders go up and down the length of the beach. Higher up on the beach trash has accumulated where the land is empty. A large clearing with abandoned buildings features one white building intact, where a large two story veranda beckons. A man leading a group on horseback, blows kisses in my direction. Another man, was being followed loyally by a group of dogs we had seen roaming the beach earlier.
Traveling the roads provides endless visuals and thoughts.
Lanes full of tourist vans, yellow school buses, new model cars, and dirt bikes.
So many dirt bikes. Often carrying more than one rider.
electric pillars of concrete
gated apartment buildings near resorts
fields of homes with metal roofs
concrete structures painted vibrantly
mountains in the distance
Open aired “cafeterias,” with varying level of crowds and a frequency and size similar to bodegas in Manhattan.
Communities passing time together.
Imposing gates and walls leading to sprawling resort complexes.
Lots of seafood and Tres Leches cake. We sample about 12 flavors of a special kind of infused tequila, everything from coconut to star fruit, while listening to the live music offered each evening.
The same staff who worked dinner service are back at breakfast. I’ve been told that the resorts here have staff housing near the resorts. Another tourist informs me that the housing provided is better than what the employees could get elsewhere, but I'm not sure where he got this information.
Our day trip planner speaks 4 languages: Spanish, English, Dutch, and Italian, plus he is half fluent in French. His father wanted him to be a lawyer, but he didn’t want to “spend all his time arguing.” He confides that he would make more money working in an office, but he likes the resort for the interaction with other people. Plus he gets to use all those languages, his real passion.
I here a woman walking by our beach hut, whisper to her husband, “Honey, this isn’t real.”
After another day under a secluded beach hut, we go to the spa, where little fish in a tank eat our feet, it is ticklish and fun. My sister and I can’t resist swinging in a hammock as the sun sets. Laughing and squirming, just like we have all our lives together. There is no one quite like my own sister.
I wanted to talk to more people, collect more stories, visit more places and walk the streets of Santo Domingo. I will need to return some day, and complete what feels vastly unfinished. There is mystery in this place that exhausts me in questioning.
A snow storm approaches the east coast of the United States. Our cancelled flight to Philadelphia ends us taking a plane to Charlotte followed by a winding train all the way up to NYC. In a course of 30 hours I sleep a lot as I go from the tropical island of warmth, jump high over the ocean, and rattle through forest, rural, town centers, and ever gathering snow. It is a moderated and beautiful trade off that feels like a prolonged dream of landscapes and moving people.