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Saturday, 12 December 2009

Blessings in disguise

Continued by the First Mate...
I was soaked through and had to sit on a towel whilst we waited for Ray to arrive. After another round of G&Ts, Ray reasoned that it was probably the guy who had borrowed his dingy and who must have turned the pump valve the wrong way letting the air out. We agree that it was probably a good thing that the engine cut out or we may have sunk half way across Luperon Bay so that's good then. But we're still up for Shaggies Bar and Ray says he'll drop us off at a hotel in the centre of town so we can walk along to Shaggies later and we leave Colin's guitar in his car. The hotel looks a bit typico but anything will do as I need to get out of my wet shorts. A smiling Dominican opens a gate and we climb the stairs to our room and its going to be OK - very clean and amazingly hot and cold water and at the same time! Can't help feeling a little sorry for Martin and Susy although they will have the pleasure of a wonderful dawn at the Yacht Club. We shower and change and head off to Shaggies for a night of music and meatloaf (not the musician just some food) but there are only two german guys there. Shaggie is leaning back in a chair and the bar seems to be shut. Shaggie opens the bar as Ray, Barry, two Carmens and a Jessica arrive. The girls are young and Ray's Carmen is very beautiful but the language barrier prevents much conversation between us. Colin gets out his guitar and Shaggies Dominican girlfriend joins him in a rendition of a Beatles song. Later Colin sings the Luperon song again to much applause from Ray and Barry. 'James Bond meets Dr No' goes down particularly well as Jessica joins in with the chorus of 'Eye Eye Eye'. Now we're really hungry and Shaggie has no food so we head off to look for some pico pollo. Luperon is in darkness as we have the usual 'outage', there are oil lamps here and there and we eventually find ourselves outside a typico comida place but they have nothing left. A few steps away and we are in a little painted wooden shack with a tin roof. It's spotless and in the corner a fire burns under a caldron. The master of the house finds plastic chairs from somewhere and soon we have a huge spread of plantains, meat of unspecified kind but very delicious and some ensalada. We all tuck in and then Colin and I head back to our deserted hotel and sink a few rums as we play a game or two of backgammon on the balcony over-looking the streets of Luperon and we look forward to another day of sailing with Captain Ray.
In the morning we awake at dawn and after a refreshing shower we sit on the balcony and watch Luperon come alive as we eat chunks of fresh pineapple and papaya. A stray dog tips a metal drum over, spilling litter onto the street and one or two moto-conchos drive by. After a while the traffic starts to increase and a trickle, then a stream of children, neat in their school-uniforms pass by. Shops start to open and I watch a large Dominican guy clear his nose as he raises the shutters on his Gift Shop, named Jumbo's rather aptly. OK so we had the beautiful dawn at the Yacht Club last week but this is fun and we feel we are experiencing Dominican life in the raw. As the sun hits the balcony the town is buzzing with moto-conchos darting about in the usual chaotic way. We stroll out to find an Orange shop which is only a few yards away and is open. Colin tops up his phone so we can ring Susy and Martin and we wander down to the Upper Deck for breakfast and to rendevous with our sailing companions.