Planning an outing never goes quite according to the plan, especially in a foreign country. As a strict planner, this past weekend was a true test of my flexibility, spontaneity, and sense of adventure. We didn’t realize exactly how long public transportation takes to get to the beach. Note to self: leave before 8am to get to the beach at a decent time. We had to take a guagua to the bus station then took a 2.5 hour bus ride to Sosua then from Sosua we took a taxi to Cabarete Beach. We finally got to the beach at around 3. Cabarete is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The soft, fine sand squishes between your toes, the waves race onto the land crashing with a magnificent sound, and the palm trees bend and shake with the wind. One section of Cabarete is called Kite Beach and is home to the best kite surfing in the Carribean. Hundreds of colorful kites fill the sky overhead as their owners skim over the wavy water below. We spent hours relaxing and swimming. We befriended a three-year-old girl who loved the attention of us older kids. The little girl recruited another group of girls about our age who are teaching English in Santiago for a year. The girls were super friendly and gave us the inside scoop about the fun places around Cabarete. After the sunset, we sat down for happy hour and dinner on the beach. It was an incredible moment to eat dinner and watch the sun sink below the ocean surface while burying my feet in the soft sand. The nightlife in Cabarete is just as vibrant as life when the sun’s up. We met up with our teacher friends and bar hopped up and down the beach until we arrived at our final stop for the night: a two level dance club called Los Ojos. The top floor played American club music and the bottom floor played Bachata and Merengue. With our new found love of Dominican music we stayed on the bottom floor. We had the best time dancing with the Dominicans who were so eager to teach “Los Americanos” the native dances. I love that from an early age Dominicans learn to dance the Bachata and Merengue so that by the time they are young adults everyone is a master of the dance floor. I wish dancing was a larger part of our American culture and not our type of dancing which doesn’t take any skill, but traditional and complex dancing.
Because we had gotten there so late and wouldn’t be able to stay very long before the last bus left to go back to Santiago, we decided to stay the night in the cheapest hotel we could find. The hotel website said it was located right on the beach. This turned out to be a very loose use of the word “on”. We ended up walking through the gated yards of other hotels, through alleyways, and several miles down the main road before we finally came across the sign “Kite Dreem Hotel” (still convinced they meant to spell “dream” wrong). The hotel’s bubbly Jamaican owner led us to our rooms. Staying at the Kite Dreem Hotel was definitely an experience, but not quite a dream. The floor was covered with a thin layer of dirt, the rooms could have used a few hours worth of fix ups, only one of the rooms had toilet paper, and in the corners resided my worst nightmare…cockroaches. We defintely got what we paid for. The condition of the rooms made me so grateful for the quality of the rooms at ILAC. After eating breakfast overlooking the ocean, we began our trek home after our exhilarating trip to Cabarete.