Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Heat of the Dominican Republic

Image result for the dominican republic people

I just returned from a week's vacation in the Dominican Republic and I already want to go back! I must confess that I was hesitant to go, worried about my one of my businesses running smoothly while I was gone and knowing that I had a boatload of writing and work to do to get my other businesses up and going.

I stressed about it for weeks before and did some last minute "bullet shopping" as I call it, to get my summer wardrobe up-to-date! In fact, I just threw things in the suitcase with tags on them and said to myself , "ready or not, I'm going!."

The vacation was actually for a Destination Wedding for one of my best friends that had been scheduled months in advance. It felt like my girlfriends had to keep pulling the rope to keep me mindful that we were going away, to get my passport renewed and to remember when we were leaving.

I am so grateful to them for doing that! Because after the first day of getting over the plane ride and my ears finally starting to open up, I could hear the language of the native people. Spanish, a language I had taken in high school and hadn't used too much since then. It started to come back to me the more the resort staff spoke to me and I listened.  As I looked into their eyes, for some reason the vocabulary started to come to the forefront of my mind. I soon felt a strange sense of belonging, the more I communicated with them.

As I settled in and felt comfortable, grabbing my bikini, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses each morning, I walked out into the heat of the island. At first it felt really warm, almost two warm. I wondered how the native people could stand being in it day after day. As I sat on the beach with my friends, I needed to get into the water almost every hour, it was so hot.  I grabbed the 45 sunscreen and slathered it all over my Irish,white skin.  I was determined to enjoy the ocean and the sun without burning my skin!

Well, as always happens when I am near the ocean, I soon became that little girl at 13, who loved the saltiness of the water and the sand between my toes and I forget about the heat of the sun!

I soaked up the beauty of the different blues and greens of the ocean as the sun danced over it for hours on end. I closed my eyes and listened to the spanish/latin music playing in the background . How could life get any better than what I was experiencing at that very moment?

At 4:00pm everyday, there were dance lessons right on the beach! And life got even better! I jumped right in and watched the Activity Supervisor teach us the Merengue and the Bachata. I could have just stayed there and watched him! Hahaha! He was so good! I guess I would be too if I taught dance lessons everyday.

Suddenly, the heat didn't seem to matter as I got lost in the music and fun of dancing in the sand!

We stopped dancing on the beach at 5:00 to enjoy another hour or so in the sun at the pool before we chose a particular restaurant to dine in for dinner. There were several to choose from and each delicious in their own way. Doning the bathing suit for a nice, summer dress, we thought there would be a reprieve to the heat and the restaurants would be air conditioned. Well, supposedly they were but it didn't feel too cold to me. I suppose it's hard to keep things really cool, when you are so near the equator. Dinner ended and we were off to dance once again in the lobby.  Only this time it would be for several hours!

Immediately on walking out of the restaurant, the heat and humidity of the night air hit us! But  the music of the Dominican awaited!  The entertainment staff was there to greet us in the open-air lobby with a live band. The staff danced with us, teaching us and showing their amazing talent for latin dancing! Before long, the dance floor was full of guests, young and old dancing the Merengue, the Bachata, and the Salsa. The heat intensified as the energy of our bodies and the joy filled the room.  I had never sweat so much in my life! But it didn't stop me as I was so happy to be in the moment with everyone. There was just something about being in the heat of the island, dancing, smiling and enjoying the energy! I guzzled more bottles of water in 4 hours than I had in four days at home! But I was happy and smiling.

My girlfriends and I practiced the same routine, day after day. The beach during the day , dinner and dancing at night. I couldn't have been happier! I slathered that sunscreen on but despite my efforts, I ended up with a beet red tummy and a bit of Rudolph nose. It didn't bother me, the last day I was determined to spend a few more hours in the sun and talk to the friends I had made while there. I was sad to be leaving the Dominican.

I had become more accustomed to speaking Spanish and I was getting used to the heat. I now understood what the staff told me when they said that they are used to it.

There is magic in the heat of the sun and the energy of their dance in the Dominican.

 I continue to hear their music in my head and I find myself stopping midway through my daily chores dancing the Merenque.

We awaited our flight to Charlotte and I decided to go buy a magazine to pass the time. The Dominican clerk looks at me as I talked with him in Spanish and he said " you have been here many times, yes?" I smiled and said , "No, this is my first." and his reply: "you will be back!"

And he is right - I will be back to enjoy the heat and energy of the Dominican Republic.

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