My last day out on the water has ended and I am remarkably sad to leave. I miss my son and his mother’s family and my family as well so I know that its time to return home. A big part of me wishes I was a beach bum that could just live somewhere for as long as I wanted to just kiting every day. I realize that I have a lot of responsibilities to my son, my customers and my family. The place we stayed while we were here is an ultra nice ultra new condo that Laurel Eastman purchased with a friend of hers Karen. It’s very cush and everything is very expensive, but there is still the constant reminders that you are in the DR. The power goes out at regular intervals and the water goes off as well. The first 3 days we had no hot water. Anytime Kevin and I got home and there was water, hot water and electricity all at the same time we were thankful and amazed. The people here steal electricity by wiring up their businesses and homes when the power is out. The only problem is that if they are messing with the cables when the power goes back on they get fried. The people here in the DR are just as friendly as I remember them. There are a few bad apples but for the most part people here are very easy-going and pretty friendly. I like the place we’re staying halfway between Kite Beach and Cabarete. Its a little beach called Bozo beach and the people here are super friendly. It’s also far less crowded than kite beach and there is little or no attitude. It’s only a 5-minute walk into the heart of Cabarete or to Kite Beach, which is nice.
Kevin and I rode a Gua-Gua which is a bus full of people you can ride in for $1 to Sou-Sua one day when there was not much wind. It was a beautiful beach in a bay with some amazing cliffs on the sides. We enjoyed some spectacular seafood on the outdoor tables, which was very inexpensive. Almost every night Kevin and I would go out into town and meet people and have fun. Usually I would retire before midnight but Kevin frequently stayed out till the wee hours of the morning. My favorite people were 2 guys from Panama Itzick and Raymone. They were both really cool and I think there is a kiting trip to Panama in my not-to-distant future. We watched movies with them, cooked them dinner and frequently hung out with them in the morning when waiting for wind.
The first day I was here I got terribly sunburned on my neck and legs. I cut up the sleeves of one of my shirts to make a neck sock and then cut holes in 2 of my socks to wear around my calves and ankles. Wearing my winter underwear I would put the socks on over my ankles and then the neck gator on my neck. I looked sufficiently ridiculous to keep anyone who actually knew how to kiteboard far away from me.
One night when the Panamanians and Kevin and I were walking into town we got some attention from some Dominican prostitutes. The seemed to zero in on Kevin and managed to pickpocket 500 of his pesos and a ten-dollar bill. On the way back later that night Kevin did what any upstanding tourist would do, he tried to pickpocket the money back. He was not as experienced as the Dominican prostitute so he was caught red-handed.
Another night Kevin and I went out dancing with a Canadian woman. There was this crazy bar that was packed with Dominicans who seemed quite enamored with the tall German looking tourist who was dancing like he had epilepsy. They created a circle and the Dominicans started to break dance, which was cool. They kept pushing me in the circle and I had no idea what I was doing but I’m sure it looked pretty insane. I felt like I was trying to start a mosh pit to some weird house music. Eventually the ‘dance police’ came and broke it up which was just as well. Some young kid came and whacked me upside the head and ran off. When I came over to talk to him he was apologizing profusely and not making eye contact. Little did he know I was a pacifist, but I wonder what the whole head-whacking thing was about, probably a dare from his friends. I didn’t let it spoil my night and had fun dancing for a long time before turning in.
The trip to the DR was a smashing success, I got to ride boards and kites I hardly ever get to ride in the states because it’s never windy enough. My kiting got boosted to the next level from increased confidence, some great instructional notes from the Panamanians and a lot of water time. I starting doing grabs, riding toeside and doing deadman’s. My jumping is higher and cleaner and my landings are better as well. It was incredibly relaxing and fun hanging out with Kevin and I never felt pressured to stay out when I wanted to retire. Although I swore I’d never go back to the same country twice, I’m glad I did with the DR. The last day I was there Ramone let me borrow his gear and I got to remember why I like foil kites so much. Although the Octane he flew turned very quickly it created very little power for such a large guy as me. It felt great to be out on the water flying foils when everyone else had LEIs and to be wearing a helmet when everyone else was without a helmet and to have a seat harness when everyone else was wearing a waist harness. I march to the beat of a different drummer, there is no doubt about that.