Oblivious in Sosua: Part 4

Feeling the effect of the past three days and nights; I quietly and slowly contemplate how to recover my mind and body before engaging in any more research.

When you travel alone, you can be whomever you want to be. It’s frighteningly simple to camouflage oneself and shape the perception that others have of you.  It’s not so much lying as it is disappearing for a little while. If you’re humble when you speak; calm in tone and action; the mortals gravitate toward your well masked yet truly emaciated self control.

The self-control and balance were hard fought and hard earned. It’s perception really; as perception is reality. Our reality is whatever we choose to perceive it to be; mixed with choice, consequence and chance. The truth is that I have no idea how the others perceive me; I simply exist.

The people here have so much less than we do; but they seem happy. As we rode through the North Coast yesterday on the way to the island; we saw life; life in the Dominican Republic. Simple and poor; without all of the affluence and luxury that we Americans, Europeans and Canadians expect. It doesn’t seem that bad, actually. It seems like a nice place to live. Not in the cities of course; but in the mountains. An ex-pat on a middle-class pension could live out their years as a king; as a God; in the rolling green mountains of this beautiful country.

My face hurts as the pockets below my eyes are bruised, bloodshot, and sunburned.

Was it worth it?

Sure it was. It’s almost always worth it.

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Part Five

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Oblivious in Sosua: Part 3

So much rum; before, during, and after snorkeling on a coral reef for hours upon hours surrounded by beautiful tropical fish.

There were three Americans, several Dutch, a lone German and then myself. Two and a half hours in the back seat of a van en route to the reef can make a man thirsty. We disembark for our boat ride in a small fishing village of around one hundred people. I walk into the nearest bar and order a beer for the boat.

Quesero una cervesa, por favor.

We haggle over the price for a moment; they open my beer and I leave with the group. Three US Dollars for a forty-ounce bottle of Presidente; not bad, I guess.

I finish it by the time we get to Paradise Island; that’s when Ramon (our tour guide) takes a large bottle of Brugal rum from his bag and starts pouring drinks.

“Rum makes the fish bigger.” he says.

It makes the fish something, I thought. Not sure what. Perhaps it just lowers our inhibitions enough that we’re indifferent to the fact that a shark could tear our fucking legs off. With this, the rum helped. I’ve never been a fan of dark and deep water. Not because I can’t swim; but because I’m hyper-aware of the unknown creatures that lurk beneath.

Some of them are beautiful; but realistically, some of them are deadly.

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Part Four

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Oblivious in Sosua: Part 2

I went for three walks on that first day, just around the block; not far.

As the day got later; the clothing became more provocative. Every woman I see is eyeing me up and down, smiling, and asking how I’m doing. I see Ruiz again; that fucker. I walk away. Two black Dominican women cross the street and call at me. Ruiz runs over to play pimp. Fuck off Ruiz.

The chicas are dark skinned and beautiful. I see police on the corner paying no mind to the skin and narcotics for sale on the street. The companions-for-hire put their arms around me and say, “You ever have two girl suck yo dick same time. Oh Papi… we suck yo dick real good”.

A Spanish speaking tongue calling me ‘Papi’ is hot; not sure why – but it’s certainly a turn on. Something about that native tongue spouting such a suggestive and masculine term in such rudimentary English is on-putting. I posit this is how one advertises their services while employed in such a profession. Pimping is illegal in this country; but hooking is not.

Both their arms around me, one pulls out her right breast while the other grabs at my business. The police don’t care… at all. Ruiz is playing goalie.

Fuck this shit, I need to get out of here.

Temptation is tricky. There’s something about that chocolate-cinnamon skin and those skinny hands grabbing my junk while I do everything in my power not to ask how much.

When I finally walk away from these women; I really start to notice all of the others – just like her and her friend.

“How can shit like this exist in the world?” is something I asked myself in Dubai. The answer, quite frankly, is supply and demand. There’s always a demand for our vices. I’ve been here less than 24 hours and I’ve been offered pussy, pot and cocaine. Our species is one of experience and temporary satisfaction. If I was less spiritually fulfilled than I am; I’d of gladly taken the cocaine. My understanding is that the Dominican Republic is a transit point – so you know the marching powder would be pure. I can smell fresh pot from my hotel; surely it’s not Canadian grade but it can’t be that hard to locate.

Animals; the whole lot of us. Monkeys who’ve figured out how to build things.

Part Three
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Oblivious in Sosua: Part 1 – The Debauchery Begins

Wednesday around 3PM

When you remove the cost factor around alcohol and place these white Western animals into an environment where truly anything goes; it’s incredibly entertaining if not a little bit sad.

I learned very quickly that it doesn’t matter what language you speak. Long conversations took place with Dutch, French and Spanish speakers. The liquor tends to mend the broken English we’re all speaking.

Upon my arrival and after unpacking my bags; I walked the streets around the baseball field across from my hotel. This walk was a lot longer than I’d anticipated. Walking in Sosua was intriguing. I went for three walks that day and was hounded by locals each time.

Winding through back roads I’m still half-cut from the champagne and Heineken on the flight; the two forty-ounce bottles of Presidente on the bus; and the lack of sleep. I appreciated the fresh-air and anonymity.

On the first walk; a man followed me. Talking about how everyone needs a friend in the Dominican Republic.

“Chica, Dominican Chica for you, I get.”

No.

“You no like chica?”

Woman for me at home. No chica.

“Okay, okay. Praise the baby Jesus. I get anything for you, you want. Cocaine? I get best cocaine, good price. Marijuana? I get for you. I get you cocaine to try first, no charge.”

No drugas [droog-as].

I have no idea if this is the Spanish word for illegal narcotics; but it seemed fitting to add the ‘-as’ to the end of the word and roll my tongue. Either way, it worked; but he still wouldn’t fuck off. I rounded a corner to the left; half in an attempt to drop this fool; but mostly because it was on my route around the baseball field.

“Mr. Justin, my friend (pronounced fren); no go down there. Dangerous. That where real Dominican live, not safe.”

I’ll be alright.

“Wait, Mr. Justin, my friend. You give Ruiz the money for the milk for my little baby.”

No, but what’s her name?

“Emilie, her name Emilie.”

Goodbye Ruiz.

I parted ways by rounding the corner and smiling with my hand on my chest, nodding goodbye to Ruiz. These hustlers are crafty; I’ll give him that. This feigned amicability on both our parts was apparent. I picture some of my less traveled and lighter skinned countrymen being pulled in by his charm. The aggressive nature of the economically disadvantaged is hard to fathom or understand for almost any privileged Westerner. I picture people I know being drawn into it; almost as if it was their own idea to blindly follow the hustler. Their game is to make you think it was your idea.

Drugs, women, charity and fear. All to drain my pockets.

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Part Two

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Oblivious in America: Part 6

Somewhere in Indiana

Never fuck on the road. Temptation is tricky; but logic trumps the allure.

Solo, I headed back to my hotel and got an early sleep.

Upon hitting the road at the crack of dawn, I find a huge sign reading “TOBACCO” at the next exit. Brilliant – this is why I took this route. I pull over and buy a carton of Marlboros. Legally, I can bring one carton back with me across the border; alongside one bottle of hooch.

I wonder how much more I can manage. Should I risk it?

Hitting the road; I enjoy the scenery and drive until I hit Minnesota. A few minor stops were made along the way – to take pictures and relieve myself.

On this day I used a piss jug. Only once; but I really didn’t want to stop the car again. Keeping control of my small car while engaging in such a vulnerable action provided some mild and unexpected comedic and entertainment value.

I was wearing sweatpants after all; fuck it.

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PART 7

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Oblivious in America: Part 5

Somewhere in Indiana

I pull off the highway; onto an old country road with three modern hotels. There’s a Cracker Barrel too.

The only advertising displayed were three large signs; one posted on the pole in front of each establishment – $59, $49 and $39. There may have only been ten dollar gaps in the price; but the quality was orders of magnitude more varied.

I choose the cheapest room; pay for it; and unpack. There’s a spider in one of the beds and a piss stain on the other. I choose the spider-bed and get in the shower.

Time to eat. I light a cigarette and wander across the old country highway to the Cracker Barrel. I’ve been in one of these before; somewhere along the East Coast as a child – driving to Florida with my parents. In case you’re unfamiliar with this establishment; you enter into a grandiose candy store; filled with branded merchandise and American pride paraphernalia; eventually making your way into the Cracker Barrel restaurant.

A cute yet slightly heavyset waitress seats me. There’s those eyes again.

She brings me a menu and I order a beer. She laughs.

“Honey, you ever been to Cracker Barrel before?”

“No.” I said

“This is a family restaurant; we don’t serve beer here. Where you from, cutie?”

“Canada.”

She proceeds to tell me her whole life story. She’s from Georgia; used to be a long-haul truck driver; moved to Indiana to start over.

“Well there’s a bar up the road, they open at ten.”

“I’d rather a liquor store. What’s the drinking age in Indiana?” I asked her, knowing full-well that I was under-age.

“Twenty-one, how old are you?” she asked.

“Twenty.” I said

“You have a hotel for the night?” she asked suggestively.

“Yeah… the dive across the street.”

“I’m off at ten; I’ll buy you some beer. What’s your room number?”

Part Six

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Oblivious in America: Part 4

Albany, New York

I wake early; it’s imperative to get wakeup calls when you’re travelling.

Always operate using a dual-authentication method of timekeeping. Your primary method of waking up on time must always be the alarm; with your secondary method being the wakeup call. Some hotels have great wakeup call service; others don’t. Most establishments just add you to the computer or switchboard and it’s automated – but this isn’t always foolproof.

Either way; it worked in Albany.

I returned to the same gas station where I’d filled up my tank and made an illicit alcohol purchase; the gas station that employed the cute New Yorker with the fuck-me eyes.

A fat Italian guy, receiving his weekly milk order, rang in my coffee and breakfast sandwich. Friendly enough; but not as friendly as I’m accustomed to in rural Canada. Cultural differences, I guess.

What a beautiful day for a drive; a great day to be alive. Traversing the open road on the ass-end of the spring season with no idea what lies ahead on this beautiful day.

I chain smoke Marlboros and match up with pace-cars so as not to be bait for a state trooper. My strategy is simple – don’t be the first guy in a line of speeding cars; and don’t be the last. If you find a comfortable medium in which you’re the third or fourth car in a series of five or six – chances are the guy in the front or the guy in the back will be the one to submit to the will of state troopers setting up speed-traps between the endless toll booths.

I chose this route to gain access to cheap American cigarettes and booze; though the more toll roads I encounter, the less economical this decision appears to be.

Part Five

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