Author's note: I had two wisdom teeth extracted yesterday. I apparently have the healing abilities of friggin' Deadpool because I was able to go to work today and have taken maybe three T3's in the last 36 hours for pain. Or fun. Whatever.
So Thursday morning I got up and hopped on the hotel interwebs once again to try and get a hold of Karen, but with little luck. After depositing some towels and bags on some beach chairs, I tried calling out, and got a hold of Ryan who informed me that she was on a bus on her way to Puerto Plata as we spoke. Since we weren't sure where exactly the bus was going to drop her off, I sent out a series of text messages, and eventually figured out that the bus had dropped her off just outside of the Playa Dorada compound. The three of us set out on foot to find her, which we eventually did, wandering around out near the shopping center.
Not having seen each other for about 8 months, we did a comedic slow motion Chariots of Fire run at each other as a means of saying "Hi". As we made our way back to the hotel we decided to hire a cab to take us into Puerto Plata proper for a few hours so we could shop for souvenirs for the kiddies and get some lunch. Karen negotiated the cab for us. It was quite a sight to see my very blonde, Irish/scandinavian looking friend speaking fluent Spanish with the cab driver, while negotiating as well as through most of the ride to town.
Note on Dominican traffic.. holy hell am I glad I never followed through with my plan to rent a car to go to Santo Domingo, because drivers there are friggin' NUTS. I'm pretty sure there's no posted speed limit, and people actually honk to communicate to other drivers, rather than as a mere expression of road rage. Oh and we saw a couple carrying a barbecue. On a frickin' MOTORBIKE. Yeah.
The driver took us to a flea market type place, where we explored the various stalls that mostly had a lot of the same stuff that we had seen in the other flea market, and in the mall and being sold by the wandering beach vendors. There was one stall that had a lot of potions and powders and voodoo-ish type stuff, including baby dolls hanging from the ceiling with blood-stains (fake or real, I don't know). It looked kind of like my house at halloween, and I finally understood what some people meant when they said that dead baby dolls were disturbing.
We had lunch at a local restaurant, but still tourist-board approved so as to avoid all that pesky cholera and whatnot. I attempted to order off the menu in Spanish but probably came off like kind of a dink. The restaurant had a neat atmosphere.. it appears run down, but when you look closely, the chipped plaster and exposed brick is all painted on. I had some fried chicken, but the meat portion was huge and I couldn't finish it all. Over lunch we all got caught up on what had been going on in our lives and Kiki told of her varying adventures in academia abroad.
After lunch we went to a large department store which was basically the Dominican equivalent to Zellers or Wal-Mart. They had shirts on for super cheap and I thought about adding to the collection, but instead bought a lovely tramp-top to wear out for my last night on the island. Oddly, the large box store was the only place we went where they would NOT accept U.S. dollars, which I found odd.
We came back to the hotel afterwards but were informed that without paying upwards of 60 bucks for a day pass we wouldn't be able to bring Karen into the hotel. Fortunately Reynaldo, a friend we made at the hotel informed us of a public access to the beach that we could get to by crossing this huge empty field. while we were making our way across I kept getting struck with the idea that snipers were going to start shooting at us from nearby buildings. Weird, I know.
After chilling out on the beach for an hour or two, we walked Karen back to the bus so she could head over to another resort to visit her cousin who was also in the country that week. We got caught in a rainstorm on the way out, only the second instance of rain we had the whole week (the first being a light mist the day we went on the Runners excursion).
I may have napped. I am not sure. Maybe that was the day before. We may have gone straight to dinner. No, no, that's not right. We ran into our "Family" and insisted on having a family portrait taken, then ran into some of our H-town buddies who would be leaving on the same flight the next day, then we got dressed for dinner one last time at Michaelangelos, and one last awesome canneloni.
At Coco Bongo's K's wee admirer started being a douchehat and had her really upset, to the point where when our Hamilton friends showed up, they were called into do damage control, as this guy had her freaked right out. They were good guys and helped her out. Later we told our friend Reynaldo about it, and asked if this was just a cultural thing we didn't pick up on and he pretty much confirmed, "No, that guy's just a dick." While at the bar I had run into my friend the Quebecker, who after some conversation asked if he could come by my room to say hi. For reasons unknown I said sure (and no, it actually had little to do with alchohol). After the awkward situtation with the sketchy douchehat Kaylee and I had gone back to the hotel and talked for quite sometime, so I was surprised when Mindy showed up (she had left the bar earlier due to back issues) and told me that he had been looking for me. More surprised I was when about half an hour after I got back to my room there was a knock at my door. So I let him in and we visited (okay, shit, made out) for a bit, before I sent him back to his room. Hey, the deal was just to say hi. Amiright? Yeah, thought so. Hey, it was my last night there. Sue me.