Yesterday’s flight out of San Juan was delayed for an hour due to mechanical problems – the gate agent announced the delay, then a short time later said that we were good to fly. He corrected himself five minutes later saying “the ground folks said we were OK, but the pilot wants to change planes.” This pronouncement was followed ten minutes later by (essentially) “well, they’ve decided to go ahead and use this plane.” It was a confident group of passengers that boarded that twin-propeller aircraft.
Having now been here for a little more than twenty-four hours, the Dominican Republic seems to be a place that is full of magic that must be sought out. The area I’m staying in is home to a number of big resort hotels and the associated throng of middle-aged folks that frequent them, and, while pretty, it feels very commercial. Lonely Planet says that there is more of the same in the neighboring towns, but I’m convinced that there must be some amazing and isolated spots available to those who know how to find them. That said, despite the in-your-face souvenir vendors and crowds there’s a huge allure to hanging out on the beach and eating fish dinners on cliffs over the water while watching the sun set, so I’m very tempted to simply tranform into resort/beach bum Ryan and relax here for the next six days.
Exploring today revealed that there are two main beaches in the immediate area – one seems to be more popular with the locals, and is a chaotic, bustling hub of activity with cabana bars and restaurants tucked back under the trees at the beach’s edge. The second borders a large resort and is quieter but more sterile. Prior to departing I joked with many of my co-workers that I’d be bringing my banana thong along – many of the visitors to the resort beach apparently said the same thing, although not in jest; it’s disturbing on a number of levels to see an old man on the beach and know without any doubt how well endowed he is. The flip side of the equation is that the ladies’ swimwear is similarly revealing, but while this is in general a good thing, nature has dictated that less is not always more for every female body size and age, and I had at least a dozen cringe-worthy moments while strolling along the water.