Our trip to the Dominican Republic was alternately pleasant (90%), gritty (30%), relaxing (25%), and nerve-wracking (10%). As most of you know, I am not very good at relaxing, and so only the first day was supposed to involve lying around on the beach, drinking rum drinks and eating lobster. After that we needed to DO things! Expand our cultural HORIZONS! Eat lobster SOMEWHERE ELSE! So we rode four wheelers over rocky paths, through sugarcane plantations and mud puddles. We took a tour up to the mountains and climbed up then jumped down a series of waterfalls. We went snorkling and fed bananas to some very pushy fish. We tried very hard to run up a hundred dollar bar tab in one day (which is difficult at an open bar). We went fake-Latin dancing in what turned out to be pretty much a meat market for prostitutes--I'm sure at one point we were the only non-professionals on the dance floor. We even rented a car and tried to drive down to Santo Domingo one night but experienced an epic fail in the forms of road signage. My vacations are exhausting.
On our last morning there, after we had been snorkling around looking at fish for forty-five minutes or so, I spotted a beautiful purple jellyfish, and then another and another. I kind of eeped, because although obviously the resort wouldn't let you snorkle anywhere dangerous, jellyfish are slimy and I don't want to touch them. The guide was waving us back to the boat anyway, so I swam back and floated around, waiting for other people to climb the ladder back onto the boat and discussing with Mike what we had seen. When there were four of us left, I remembered to tell him about the jellyfish. The man in front of me, who was trying to help his enormously fat wife climb the ladder, whips his head around and says to me, "Was it purple and near the surface?" Um, yes, I told him. "Don't touch those," he says firmly. Those are Portuguese Man-o'-War." I assumed he was kidding me, one of those not-very-clever people who think lying to you and watching you panic is hilarious. After all, why would a resort let you go swimming in Portuguese Man-o'-War infested waters? But no, he was very certain and grave. Naturally once I realized he was serious I wanted to get out of the water immediately, but I couldn't because his enormously fat wife couldn't haul her bulk out of the water and into the boat, and flopped about on the only ladder while her husband pushed her from behind, and I shrieked inwardly, hated her, and tried not to flail.
So, that was exciting.
Speaking of flailing, we learned relatively early on that Dominican TV is HILARIOUS. Below is a sampling of the things we saw while channel surfing:
1) An infomercial for a butt bra. To make your butt rounder and more perky.
2) A show about doggie fertility clinics, and a very cute gay couple that seemed to have no idea that calling their chihuahua "munchkin princess," taking her shopping, and dressing her in pink feather boas was anything but normal.
3) "Britain's Worst Teeth"
4) A show that was being broadcast live from our resort, which seemed to be a game of musical chairs involving fruit, and which was mostly people running and falling down.
5) A Jackie Chan movie about vampires, whom Jackie subdues by squirting blood packs into their mouths and then forcing them to eat pills that make them dance when he drums.