Man Overboard

Stranger Than Paradise

I don’t want to sound like I’m gloating, but while you were wondering when your power was going to return, I was gallivanting off to the beach in the Dominican Republic. Right now I don’t want to make light of a situation where people have no lights. But I heard there was a bombogenesis coming and that Phil Collins wasn’t touring with it, so I hightailed it out of there. We landed in Punta Cana and checked into a beautiful, all-inclusive island resort.

Our first stop was the beach. I was nursing a drink, just what the doctor ordered. You can’t drink the water in Punta Cana, a situation that didn’t come up once at the tiki bar.

I’m not very good with Spanish, but I do speak some rudimentary English. When I was in the fourth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Fritschler, made us learn how to count from one to 10 in Spanish. So even though I can’t tell you what anything is in the Dominican Republic, I can tell you how many of them there are. For everything else I just added an “o” to the end of a word and hoped for the best. “Food-o American-o?”

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When I couldn’t figure out how to say something, I launched into an impromptu game of charades. I wanted to find out where the coffee was, so I tried to mime the act of picking the coffee beans during the harvest, getting the best price for them amid an ever-changing commodities market. The whole thing took about half an hour, and at the end of my presentation, I couldn’t remember what it was I wanted.

The buffet was great, although the food was rarely hot. Ironically, the sun, the music and the women were all hot. If they had only left the food near the sun, the music and the women, I would have nothing to complain about, which is probably not true.

I guess I didn’t look at the calendar before booking the trip, as it fell smack in the middle of spring break. All of a sudden a bus rolled up and there were about a hundred 20-year-old girls. They had gathered at the bar to enjoy each others’ company, which they did by not looking up once from their cell phones. Then they started snapping pictures of their drinks. Since the line was so long to get them, I guess they could enjoy them for a few minutes more this way. A lot of them were wearing sunsuits and my wife and I had an argument about whether this look was flattering or not. I only saw the sunsuits at night, when the chances of the sun coming out were greatly diminished.

In the evening they had a show at the theater. They choose four or five couples from the audience, a good cross-section: old, young, crabby, nice, skinny, round. Then they try to get you to do something embarrassing with the other couples’ spouses. We used to have a name for that. It was called the ’70s.

The disco didn’t even open until 11:30, but I already had my nap so I was good to go. Latin music has a lot of percussion in it and the beat is infectious, so I brought along some antibiotics. Also, the car horn is an actual instrument, so what passes for a traffic jam at home is just a jam here. One song was playing everywhere we went; you couldn’t escape it. From what I could gather, the plot involved a Ford Pinto, a senorita, a pinata and a mojito. I can’t imagine that it had a happy ending. The DJ played a number called “The Roof Is on Fire,” and in the Caribbean, that is considered an official fire department notification.

All too soon, our little getaway was over. As the plane home was taxiing toward the runway, the glow of our trip was still with me. I would always have fond memories of our trip to Punta Cana, but because alcohol was included with the package, I’m damned if I can remember what any of them were.

Please join Rick and the No Options band, St. Patrick’s night, Saturday 03-17-18, at Lucy’s Lounge, 446 Bedford Road in Pleasantville.

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