I Don’t Have To Be There To Be There


I only go to the Playa Paraiso en Magante once a year. I think about the place year round but I only put my toes in the sand for 14 days annually. I plan for this to change but that is in the future and if there is one thing I’ve learned about life, I can only be where I am.


Over the last few weeks Ginger and The Earl have been visiting their tropical estate. Usually when they are holidaying in the DR I will hear from Ginger (via e-mail) at least once every second day. Ginger will fill me in on the current state of affairs, not just the state of the business but the local gossip as well. She tells me whether the coffee arrived out of the darkness to her deck in the morning and will give me her personal opinion of the activity that is taking place around her. I look forward to their stays because our communication is frequent and on a different level from that which I share with Wendy. Wendy and I have a business relationship and that is what our communications are mostly about but Ginger and I have a friendship first and because we both speak English (although that is debatable on both sides) our communications are more conversational.


On this visit Ginger and I started to communicate using Facebook Messenger. Messenger is more like having a text conversation than e-mail communication. With Messenger you are able to see if the person you are trying to reach is ‘active’ and available in real time. It took a few days but once Ginger had the hang of it, she was active almost always and we would end up talking for hours about the most mundane stuff. It was exactly the way a conversation would be if I were sitting on her cabana deck having morning coffee or an afternoon ‘cervaza’. I would say that the majority of our conversations on Messenger were mostly nonsense and were just quick one-liners trying to make the other one laugh. She did a good job because I was wiping tears from my eyes on a regular basis.


Late last Friday night I received a message from Ginger. She and the Earl had decided to relocate to the apartment for a few days. This apartment is behind the cabanas and was built four or five years ago. It is a two-story building that has two hotel rooms at ground level and a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor. This is where Honey and I intend to spend a large portion of our golden years. Since it had always been occupied, first by Patrick then by Ahole, Ginger and The Earl had never stayed there. Ginger told me they were checking it out on my behalf, to see whether my plans to stay there for extended periods of time would work. The fact that it is the only space with air-conditioning on the whole playa had nothing to do with this action Ginger had told me; theirs was purely a humanitarian cause.


“I hope you’re up. We need your help!” The message read.

“What can I do to help?” I replied.

“We’ve locked ourselves out on the apartment balcony by accident and we need someone to come let us out!!”

My first thought is I am being set-up. There’s a punch line coming, I just know it! But if I don’t ask the question I’ll never get to hear it. So doing my best on-line customer service speak I wrote “Does madam wish me to contact management and have them contact security to come and help you?”

“Yes, please!!” Ginger replied.


I waited. That was it, there was nothing more. Holy crap… they really have locked themselves out!!! I was laughing so hard I almost sent Wendy a message in English!! In the mean time Ginger has sent me another message that explained to me that the Earl had inadvertently locked the ground level apartment door and had done so without removing the key from the exterior lock. So the “watchie” (aka guard, aka Dominican with a machete and two dogs) should have no problem getting inside the apartment. I can’t let this go… “Leaving the key on the outside kind of defeats the purpose of locking the door don’t you think?” The tears are blurring my vision!!!


I’m now having a second conversation with Wendy in Spanish. She has sent a message to the guard and we are making fun of the Earl and Ginger.

“turistas estúpidos … Una maravilla que no se han lastimado!” (Stupid tourists… A wonder they haven’t hurt themselves.) I say.

“jjjj” she replies.

She tells me that the guard has arrived and I thank her, ending the conversation. I wait a short period of time for a message from Ginger.


“The watchie came and couldn’t get the apartment door open so he left laughing!  I don’t think he’s coming back!! You need to call Wendy again!!! See if there’s a ladder, we may have to climb down!!”


My vision is completely gone and my stomach is hurting. Honey too is rubbing tears from her eyes. I send Wendy a second SOS and she replies that she knows the guard couldn’t get in and was afraid of breaking the key in the lock so stopped trying. She says that her husband is on the way. I thank her, “gringos.” “jjjj”


Seconds later I get a message from Ginger. “We’re out.”  Then, “Bet you never thought being an online booking agent meant you had to deal with this sort of crap.”


“No I hadn’t” I replied. Then again I hadn’t thought about people looking for shelter on a beach during a hurricane either, or a lost traveller that had taken a left turn when the directions on the web site clearly say stay to the right. I hadn’t imagined having to arrange for a guest to get from the airport to the playa at one in the morning or telling Wendy that a guest had requested pulpo (octopus) for dinner during their upcoming stay. I don’t know that I gave much thought to it at all but as I think of it now, I know that it doesn’t much matter, because I am where I am and truthfully I am happy to be here.












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