I have written many articles about Los Gringos and the people over the course of four years. I will not bore you with all of them but some I feel are important to character development, not Los Gringos’… but mine.
The sign painted on the outside of the restaurant at Los Gringos reads “Island Soul Global Flavor”. I’m sure that when it was painted it was referring to the food or at least I think it was. But it also describes the people you meet at Los Gringos.
The other day I sat down for a cold beverage at Patrick’s table. It’s a table surrounded by a banquette that will seat eight to ten people. This is Patrick’s office where he conducts all his business. His computer is open at all times unless he’s in the kitchen cooking. His cell phone lies on the table close at hand and is constantly going off with calls and text messages. For me this is a place of leisure and relaxation, for him this is the office.
It did not take long before we were joined by Pete, an ex-pat from Maryland (via England) who is a part owner in a hotel in Cabarete. A few cold beers later my wife joins the table and within an hour the two other guests that are staying at Los Gringos happen into the restaurant and are invited to join us. This is the way of Los Gringos.
Click and Band-Aid are here from Philadelphia for five days. He is a photographer and she a nurse (I’m sure you can figure out who’s who)here on a break-away from the nasty weather they are experiencing back home. This is their first trip to the DR and appears they’ve loved every minute of it. They flew into the country via Punta Cana and rented a car, driving the four plus hours up the coast to the Playa Magante. This is something I could never see myself doing. To me there are no ‘rules of the road’ in this country, just a few loose guidelines, like don’t hit anybody!! But they are young and therefore fearless, so good for them. Like all the other people I have met over my two visits to Los Gringos, they are good people.
Over beer, shots of whiskey and paella, we all sat and discussed the affairs of the world. The last time I was here it was a couple from England and a woman from Switzerland. The faces are different but the companionship of strangers well met is the same. Everyone brings something to the table at Los Gringos. Tales of past adventures and personal views of the world in general. The conversation is free and fluid and frequently in multiple languages. The opinions are varied as they should be when people from different countries meet. To me it stands to reason that the way I see the world should be different than those of someone from another country. We all have a perspective.
My wife likens Los Gringos to the old television show ‘Cheers’. A place where everyone knows your name and even the most casual of acquaintances are welcome to join in whatever may be going on at the time. The staff treat you like you come by every day rather than every other year. They greet you with a smile and an ‘Ola’. I don’t understand a word they say after that but I don’t feel awkward about it because they don’t understand me either. But that is just language and we all laugh as we try to understand each other. What I do understand is that I am welcome.
I have been to many different resorts and have said hello (or nodded a greeting) to people from all around the world. I only know this because I hear different languages being spoken. We are all in the same place but we are miles apart. We sit at tables next to each other at dinner and never utter a single word to one another and after our brief stay in the island paradise we leave each other never having learned a single thing. This is not the case at Los Gringos, after only a few days here I have met new people and learned something about who they are and the way they think.
The conversation the other night covered such all important topics as ‘attending funerals’, the ‘good and evil of the internet’, ‘hookers in Sosua’ and the ‘value of locking doors’. Very heady stuff, I’m sure you agree. Coming from different parts of the globe and from different generations our views on these subjects varied. We didn’t always agree with each other but we did respect what each of us had to say. It’s not really what we were talking about that was important, it’s the fact that we were talking. We are simply people from different parts of the world that have found ourselves under the same roof at the same time and taken the opportunity to sit and spend that time together.