This is the last of the three posts, I can’t say for certain whether this is the end of my re-posts on Los Gringos as it was, I have close to 60 un-republished articles that I wrote during the three visits I made there but I think I have given any new readers an idea of what the place and people were all about and with this last post it is time to move on to other things. After all, you haven’t met the family yet.
I have left Los Gringos after a short visit for what I can assume will be the last time. Am I sad? Absolutely but even after being warmly greeted by our friends Ginger and The Earl (the property owners)and spending the first evening catching up on all that had transpired, I could see that regardless of what may happen in the future, the place would never be the same again.
The location is still the same. It’s beauty unrivaled, as peaceful and quiet as ever. But as it stands now the soul has been torn from its body.
“Cerrado, Ferme, Closed”, the sign on the locked gate read. A final message to all, that the business was no longer in operation. At least you would think, but in the few short days I was there I continually witnessed people who would ignore the sign, crawl under the gate or enter the beach from another location and travel to the restaurant just to make sure. “Si, Oui, Yes, they weren’t kidding!
What is with these people??? “We just wanted to get a bite to eat” or “Will it be open next week?” or “Can I still get a beer?” What part of “Cerrado, Ferme, Closed,” don’t you get??? You try to be polite and tell them that the restaurant proprietor has died suddenly, thinking they may not be aware. To which every single person replied, “Yes I know but I thought…” THOUGHT WHAT??? CERRADO, FERME, CLOSED DIDN’T APPLY TO YOU?!!! That this is McDonalds and anyone can make a Paella Happy Meal!!! You came all this way and were owed something??? They just buried the poor man three days ago!!! Go away and come back when the sign is gone!!
I’m not sure I can or should describe what I witnessed over the five days I spent at the beach at Playa Magante. The steady stream of people all showing up looking for something. Not just would-be customers but people who had had dealings with Patrick and figured they were owed something. Some were quite legitimate like the company that had leased him the solar panels that were affixed to the roof of the apartments; they arrived with a signed contract, a truck and enough workers to remove their equipment. Others were people that would claim they had lent Patrick something or done something for him and were looking to be compensated in some way, preferably in cash. They all behaved like vultures circling a carcass.
In Canada upon a person’s death all assets are frozen until such time as a legitimate will is produced. If none is found the state takes over and would oversee all disbursements. This does not appear to be the way in the DR. It’s a free-for-all!! Just show up at the doorstep and stick your hand out. Watching all this action makes me wonder if having a legal will would even matter. These people have no conscience when they believe there is something to be gained.
The Earl and Ginger, who were trying to get their own affairs in order in regards to their property, were forced to keep an eye on everyone. When the family of Patrick’s girlfriend arrived to retrieve the personal belongings from the apartment they shared, they took the ceiling fans and the light switches. Just ripped them out of the wall and cut the wires!! Are you serious?!!! That’s not personal belongings, they’re part of the building which neither Patrick nor his girlfriend owned!! What is wrong with these people?!!? The Earl had to retrieve these items then pay an electrician to re-install them! The culprits simply shrugged and said they didn’t know who they belonged to. They were attached to the wall!!! I guess it’s better to admit you’re stupid than to admit to being a thief.
If anything good has come out of this it is that my friends who say they arrived with little hope of finding a new tenant did receive inquiries from four or five interested parties. To their credit rather than jump on the first offer through the door they set a deadline for those interested to submit a written proposal. I’m sure that a couple of the people inquiring about the opportunity were expecting to just get handed the key and therefore may not be heard from again but I believe that at least a couple were legit and there may be light at the end of the tunnel for the couple from England.
The whole affair has put a bad taste in my mouth. My seven-year retirement plan has taken a major setback as far as I am concerned. Seeing the way that the people conduct themselves is making me reconsider whether this is the island for me. I don’t know whether it would be any different on another island but I think I will at least look around some more before I settle. I still love the Dominican Republic… just a little less than before.