Punta Cana

Eight days will mark one month that I’ve been here, and ten days is two months after my graduation ceremony. The events of my arrival here and departure from scholasticity seem like a distant memory, and this already feels like the new ‘normal’, which happens every time I change locations. A trend a co-worker tends to experience in his writing is the eventual lack of surprise or wonderment at the daily life, even living in far away places. That causes him to assume nothing ‘new’ or ‘interesting’ is happening and therefore stop writing ever so slowly. I’m going to try to stay alert for some things that you wouldn’t see elsewhere, and keep it interesting.In keeping it interesting, I’m going to have to travel to some pretty novel places, as opposed to Punta Cana. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun place with good people and relaxing activities to join in on, but it’s not interesting nor a challenge. It’s more like a really really big docked cruise ship. A key indicator of this was that I brought my two cameras and had no inclination to take either of them out the entire time. Do you want to see a picture of a really big mermaid-shaped pool? How about feaux-Taino huts interspersed among a perfectly groomed palm tree forest? Or maybe where I ate six of seven local Dominican meals featuring foods from Italy, France, the United States, Mexico, and everywhere but the Republic? I don’t need to take those photos, it’s all the same as what’s been done. Although I am a hypocrite, because I did repeat history by neglecting to reapply sunscreen and allowing my back and shoulders to turn medium-rare.

Anyways, the days were filled with more than just photos, as there were hours of beach volleyball played, minutes of beach napping napped, plates of meals eaten, and nights of beds slept in. Beach volleyball is a fun sport, and combined with surfing could make a Shaneshake happy for two weeks straight. I also played a game of chess outside where you move the two-foot tall pieces, which is so much better than little chess for ants. This game was actually the cause of my sunburn as I was standing with my back to el sol fuerte for two hours. I would’ve won, too, if it wasn’t for one dumb move late in the game. Hint: Don’t try to queen a pawn that’s three spots away right after putting the opponent in check when it will block your second-best weapon, a rook. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Kayaking was also involved for a couple hours one morning, and the rest was spent eating, sleeping, or swimming – the life of a baby alligator pretty much.

One thing that people don’t warn you about is yellow seaweed. That stuff stings like a small jellyfish, so don’t do the following things with it: throw it at each other in the ocean, put clumps under your arms and try to swim with it, or pretend like it’s a bouquet at a wedding, toss it up and try to catch it. The second night was really fun with a nice itch on a third of my torso along with a sweet burn on the outer arms and shoulders. As a lady said after we were done tossing it around and realizing our grave mistake, “esa cosa pica mucho [those things bite a lot]”.

Other quick notes on Punta Cannes:

– Had an Italian dinner followed by a gratis shot of mamajuana. I’m not counting that goal completed because it tasted like processed honey moonshine and came from a resort. The way I’m counting mamajuana completed is brewing it myself. I’m going to use the finest rum I’ve had here, Brugal Extra Viejo. That’s pretty much their top shelf, and it comes in at about $10/liter. Did you know that honey is the only human-edible food that doesn’t ever go bad?

– It is nice to have a shower with the option of hot or cold, but I ended up choosing cold all the way. I think I’m getting to like cold showers. How manly.

– Pools are disgusting. The ocean makes the skin feel way better and it’s pretty cool watching pool guys walking around the pool dumping tens of gallons of rock salt into it until you realize that’s the chlorine that makes your eyes hate you.

– I tried to dance the merengue. It’s hard because I don’t have any Latin blood in me (I hear that’s a key ingredient so I’m looking into black market transusions). It’s also hard because I’ve never tried but I think I can get it going eventually. My hips do lie, but I’m going to eventually feel it’s right.

Kicked tushy in foosball. See, I don’t want to resort (get it?) to putting that kind of stuff in this online diary.

Reading: Travesía (more on that later)

Listening: 9, Damien Rice

Learning: Blame it on the Tetons, The World At Large, The Animals Were Gone, Für Elise

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