Visits in Paradise - October 23, 2003 (BGSW)

We've had our third adventure charter this week!  Keith's uncle Sonny came down for a nine-day visit to the Dominican Republic, and we had a great time with him.  He gave us the excuse we needed to do all the remaining fun things we meant to do, and do all our favorite things over again.  Despite the fact that Keith and I happened to be sick as dogs with a bug going around the harbor (Keith bedridden for two days, me just dragging my sorry behind around in slow motion), Sonny inspired us to get moving.

First day -- arrival in Santiago airport under a sky pouring with drenching silver rain, chicken rice and beans at a roadside refrescateria.  A leisurely drive back to the boat for an evening of cocktails on deck and early night to rest up.  

Second day -- Sonny sets out on a motorcycle for the first time in his life!  He -- and I !! -- learn to ride a 100hp Japanese bike on the network of dusty cow paths along the shore outside our little coastal town of Luperon.  

Third day -- with our friend Randy from Aditi, we climb seven of the fourteen waterfalls of the nearby valley town of Imbert (the guides don't like you to go any higher, they worry about getting you back down).  

Next, we explore the cities of Puerto Plata and Santiago on various missions --  Sonny to shop for gifts for sister Dottie and new girlfriend Carol; Keith and I to order a custom-made stainless steel handle for a Bomar hatch that gave up the ghost.  Keith describing the concept of "stainless steel" in Spanish is entertainment not to be forgotten.  Since neither of us knows "steel," let alone "stainless," it's like that seventies game show the $10,000 Pyramid.  You can't use the key words you need, and someone has to guess your meaning from cryptic phrases.  This went:  "It's a kind of metal." "It's very strong."  "It doesn't get brown in water."  Mission accomplished, though -- a beautiful new handle.

We also take a jaunt to the nearby beach of Cambiaso, spending an afternoon wandering the sands there from the cliffs on one edge to the palm trees on the other.

It was great fun to see Sonny enjoy the cuisine here -- everything from high-class German food with impeccable service, to continental (filet mignon) at expatriate Sharon and Andy's informal Estrella de Luperon, to downright local -- chicken with rice, beans, and hot sauce at the locally owned Pica Pollo, also known more descriptively as the chicken shack, because it looks like it's about to fall down around the ears of the friendly round old black lady who owns it, runs it, and cooks the meals.  Her dog and two cats wander around our feet as we eat.

On his last night, Sonny treats us all to a hotel in Santiago.  Keith and I take forty minute showers in steaming hot water and laze in bed watching cable TV for a few hours.  It feels downright sinful.  

We can't wait for Sonny to come back!