The time has come to accelerate the process, so you’re getting 3 re-posts today. This will explain what happened last year and I will be able to finally tell all three of you readers what has become of Los Gringos.
Bad news is something that we all must endure. We don’t look for it but it will seek us out. This is the case currently with me. I started my first week of holidays this week. My travel plans I believed were set and I had six days to get myself ready. I say myself because as is always the case my wife is 80% ready. I still have to locate all my summer gear and wash it to get the stale out.
We depart on the 8th of February for 18 days at our favorite spot, Los Gringos in the Dominican Republic. Money is little tighter this year with the upcoming merger of IT Genie and Company but our flight and accommodations are paid for so all we need is to cover our food and entertainment. At the start of this week everything looked peachy.
On Monday morning I sat at my trusty computer and started surfing the web. I decided to look at Trip Advisor and see if there were any new reviews for Los Gringos, I was greeted by the heading ‘Bad News’. As I read the review my world changed dramatically. It was only a paragraph long but what it said was that our friend and host, Patrick Verleije, had died in a car accident a few days before. Talk about something that makes you reel.
I spent the rest of the day sending e-mails in English and Spanish to anyone I could think of and searched for some kind of news article to verify this claim. The one thing about the Dominican Republic is that there is no good source for information. I couldn’t find anything, not even an obituary. Finally at ten that night I received a reply to one of my e-mails from The Earl and Ginger, the owners of the property, informing me that it was true and Patrick had been killed a few days previously.
Sudden death is the worst thing to try to deal with. I found myself going through a whole series of emotions. I am truly saddened by this news. Patrick was one of those people that you don’t meet too often in your life. A special guy that made our travels to the DR something to look forward to, I will miss him.
With Patrick gone the situation at Los Gringos has changed. To what I’m not sure and I don’t know if anyone does yet. Ginger had been glad we had contacted them they had had no way of reaching us since everything was on Patrick’s computer and password protected. She explained that for legal reasons the business needed to be closed at least temporarily. Ginger and The Earl were there now and would be staying until the 16th. I was booked to stay there from the 8th to the 26th. “Houston we have a problem.”
I have written in the past about booking last minute but six days out is more last minute than I meant. I had spent Monday searching for alternative accommodations while I waited for some kind of reply from the DR. I sent out inquiries to several condo owners in the general vicinity of Caberete DR and had had no success. By the time I received a reply from Ginger we were looking at the possibility of forfeiting our flight and staying home. There is no point in arriving in a foreign country with no place to go, you need to have some kind of plan and at that moment we had none.
It wasn’t that there were no hotels available in the Dominican Republic, there were plenty but almost all of them were out of my price range. We had already paid for our time at Los Gringos in advance to Patrick and even though I might receive some kind of refund that could take months while the Dominican legal system grinds through the necessary paperwork. The business was Patrick’s, only the property belonged to someone else. I figure my chances of seeing anything are less than 50%.
The e-mail from Ginger at least righted the ship a little when she invited us to come to Los Gringos and stay there while they were still there. Okay this was helpful, at least we had some kind of starting point. The thought of staying home and staring at snow for three weeks was something I just couldn’t accept. Tuesday I went hard at it with internet searches and inquiries to the DR and by the end of the day I had rented a car and booked a hotel (within my price range) in Caberete. Our trip is now a $2000 over budget and will take on an entirely different look than anticipated.
All of this has tempered my enthusiasm for the upcoming vacation but as I’m sure Patrick would have said ‘life goes on’ and it does. As is normal I will write while I am there and post when I am able to. My thought is that internet service will not be available while I’m at Los Gringos but once I get to Caberete all will be fine.