Christmas time has come and gone. While, no matter how pleasant they may be, most of our Christmases drift in to the fog of the past. I believe that this Christmas in conjunction with the trip itself will remain in my memory for a very long time. This particular holiday stands out on many elements. The people I met on this adventure I guess I should start from the beginning. made me feel completely at home and very much welcomed. The place was an entirely new environment that, for me, elicited a sense of an adventurous and exotic location. Many of the events were in some ways very familiar while being different enough to be most intriguing.
I guess I should start from the beginning. My girlfriend is from the Dominican Republic.
While the majority of her family remains in the DR (Dominican Republic) most of the nuclear family resides in the U. S. (United States of America). Christmas time is a time they take very seriously. It is also a time for as much of the family as possible to get together. In this case I and my girlfriend elected to make the trip. Traveling separately but in parallel were my girlfriend’s daughter, granddaughter, son-in-law and his daughter. While all of the other characters in this play had made this trip before, it was indeed a new, exciting and scary adventure for me.
Seating! Of course with Southwest Airlines seating is on a “First Come, First Serve” basis. So here is a lonely picture of me by myself on the plane. My first trip out of the country since my stint in the army in 1983 and I am flying by myself. Cheap tickets come with a price. Later in the flight there was this pretty lady who kept bumping into me as she strolled up and down the aisle. She found me!
Cheap Flights come with a price…..
The Flight was uneventful. For this I was most grateful since I HATE FLYING. Every control-freak in the universe has gotten a job with the TSA so they can practice their art. Every kid who was bullied in High-School, or perhaps even bullies from High-School have a chance to either make-up for their youth or to continue it. E’nuff said about that.
Schedule! According to Moltke’s Razor, “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.” Though there was no enemy here, my travel plans did not survive first contact with Punta Cana. Two weeks before the trip I had arranged a rental with Thrifty Rent-a-Car. When I arrived at the car rental desk at the airport, the man behind the counter informed us the price was going to three times what the web-page had said. So we took a taxi to Santo Domingo, the home of my girlfriend’s mother. This was actually the only real hitch in then entire journey. Thank you Thrifty Rent-A-Car.
Now on to the trip! We arrived at my girlfriend’s mother’s house after a rather intense introduction to driving in the DR. Traffic laws are mere suggestions with no visible enforcement. I will write more on that later. I would like to introduce my girlfriend Baldemira Pujols and her mother Doña Altagracia Luciano. I found a new friend and someone who loves a good hug. We did not speak the same language but with the help of Baldemira and a little work, we got the meaning across.
Home. It a very nice house with a few differences from my experiences in the U. S. While I have a relatively sophisticated electronic alarm that summons the police if necessary, there is no such response in the DR. It is up to you to protect what you have.
Yes, That is real Concertina wire. Every door, Every Window, Every aperture is covered with iron bars. The perimeter of the roof is rimmed by razor wire. The sophistication of the padlocks reduces the vulnerability that padlocks usually present. Yet with all of this, the home was very warm and welcoming.
Off and Running. I was very nervous about meeting Baldemira’s siblings. What were they going to think of this gringo? What were they going to think of my weak Spanish? What were they going to think about me and their sister? Needless to say I was a bit nervous and wanted to make a good impression. All of my fears were unfounded though. They were as warm and welcoming as if they adopted me into the family right away.
Cast of Characters.
Los Tres Ojos