In the early hours the rooster crows. The rooster??? Oh right I’m not at home where currently the only thing happening in the early hours is the fierce winter winds rattling the windows reminding me just how cold it is outside. This morning I wake to the sound of the waves lapping the shore only a few feet from where I sit writing this and of course the crowing rooster.
I am back on the Playa Magante on the north shore of the Dominican Republic. I sit alone, okay that’s not true either, I sit with Capitan, the faithful canine watch dog, who has planted himself on the deck of our cabana and nearby is the night guard Carmello, who even after a few years of my absense has remembered to bring me coffee to start my day. The man is a godsend.
Upon our arrival, Honey and I stood in a very long line of other vacationers to enter the country. Entering any country is the same. You get in line and shuffle through the cattle gates until you reach the unsmiling face of the man that has the power to let you into the country or send you back from whence you came. Like any government run operation there are only four of these stern people to handle the three hundred people trying to get through and with border security being what it is now a days it takes extra time for each person to be processed. Passports are scanned and pictures are scrutinized before the stern man takes out his official stamp and slams it down on your passport.
The process is delayed by passengers that have not filled out the forms they were given on the plane. Immigration forms and declarations that need to be filled out and presented with their passports. What do these people think when they recieve the forms two hours before their arrival, that the border guard will fill it out for them?? That official documents don’t apply to them?? Can’t they see that I am starting to sweat profusely from the heat!! I left sub-zero temperatures and am dressed accordingly, and you’ve got me standing in a line while you figure out how to spell the name of the place you’re staying at!! I even lent you a pen in an effort to expediate the situation and you’re still just staring at the document!! Why do you think they gave you the form on the plane?!!
Finally through customs, Honey and I step outside quickly and have a much needed smoke. When I first came to the DR you could have a cigarette while you waited for your luggage but times have changed and now you have to wait until you are out the terminal doors. The damn non-smokers are destroying everything. After my smoke I go back into the terminal and go to the Avis rental car kiosk, where you guessed it, I get a 2015 Similar that, you guessed it again, doesn’t have the storage capacity I require. When Ginger and The Earl arrive a short time later we are forced to jam luggage in the seating area and my British comrades must endure a none to comfortable ride to the Playa. I have no clue why I bothered worrying about what I would recieve, I should have just accepted that it would be different and slept easier.
I knew it didn’t matter to my passengers, they too are just happy to be here in the warmth and sunshine but considering how much I’m being charged for the Similar it would have been nice to get more than two bags into the trunk, aka boot. At least this Similar had rear doors that latched properly, because Ginger was pressed against it and one sharp turn would have sent her onto the street had this Similar been the last one.
Ultimately we all arrive none the worse for wear and I am waking up this morning to the sound of the neighbours rooster. A sound that even though I live in farm country I never hear at home. There is something quite reasssuring about the sound, something that tells me that I have made my way back to a place where simple things mean so much. I am back on a beach I have come to love and once I get past the faux pirate ship that has been erected in my absense, I am seeing the same beach I always see and that makes me happy.
Buenos Dias Atlantic Ocean.