Last week we left Mrs Cractpot experiencing sleep deprivation that bordered on debilitating while Mr. Cractpot recovered from a severe case of Pool Bar Fever otherwise known as a hangover.
And now, the thrilling conclusion of a Cractpot gone to Punta Cana
So far, our vacation had all the plot twists of a National Lampoons remake but as we trekked back to our upgraded suite that night, I was confident that things were about to change.
I was a little emotional as I envisioned the king size bed. For the past few days sleeping had been inconsistent at best. Between furry flight risks, lost luggage nightmares, obsessive weather checking and sleeping arrangement shortages, it had been days since I had greeted the morning with a solid 8 hours of rest under my belt (which was evident by the 8 pounds of bags under my eyes)
Unfortunately when we climbed between the sheets we discovered almost half of the surface area of the mattress was marred with a crater quite possibly larger than the one found on the far side of the moon. I spent most of the night clawing my way back to the center of the bed after slowly sliding, face first, onto the night side table. I finally decided to stop fighting gravity and just embrace the firm coolness of the glass top but no sooner had I closed my eyes, the sun started leaking through the window. As I stumbled to lower the blind I wasn’t even surprised to find it broken and permanently fixed to the open position. Since I was awake anyway, I decided to head to the front and microwave myself some coffee and try to plan the day. With another storm heading in our direction, I was looking for an activity that didn’t depend on the weather and settled on planning an excursion to Monkey Land; a 5-acre squirrel monkey habitat with spectacular mountain views and the opportunity to hand feed the local residents while learning about the flora and fauna of the Dominican Republic.
After rousing the other members of the group, we headed to the parking lot to wait for our transportation. One by one, busses for all the different tours pulled up and I was encouraged by the large padded seats that I glimpsed through the slightly tinted windows and I debated catching a nap on our way to the park. As each bus that arrived turned out not to be ours, I began to feel impatient and slightly nauseous, as too little sleep and too much caffeine caught up with my intestinal track. Before I could decide whether I needed to make a mad dash to the washroom, an open-air bus turned the corner at the same time that the heavens opened up and quite literally, rained on our parade.
Of course this one was ours.
The driver thoughtfully lowered semi transparent plastic sheeting from the canvas roof before ushering us into seats that he quickly mopped up with an increasingly wet towel. The guide explained that we had a few more guests to pick up before we could officially start the tour and as we set off for the next rendezvous point, he explained that it was adult only hotel. As we neared the gate, the bus pulled over and the guide offered to wait with our children on the side of the road while the rest of us carried on up the winding drive.
With his incredibly strong Dominican accent I wondered if I might have missed something, so as the rain continued to rip it’s way through the saran wrapped windows, I looked to my husband (who had shown himself to be a master of languages) for clarification. Apparently, children are not only banned from staying at an adult only resort, they are excluded from even setting eyes on an adult only resort. I briefly wondered if it was some sort of clothing optional accommodation or a type of hedonistic vacation experience that the Dominicans were sparing my children from, but really I was too busy concentrating on keeping the contents of my stomach in place to worry much as my husband escorted the children off the bus. As we descended the drive, I squinted to see through the rain but nothing appeared out of the ordinary as we picked up 2 fully dressed people waiting at the door of a non descript front lobby of a non descript hotel. A little let down, I thought about causing a scene as my husband and children re-boarded the bus looking like drowned rats, but somehow, in the reality of our vacation experiences so far, this all seemed like par for the course. I just wanted to arrive at our destination because if there was anything that could salvage the situation, it was monkeys.
As the bus snaked it’s way out of town, our guide gave a running commentary in his heavy accent, of local landmarks, although I can neither confirm nor deny that any of it existed because semi transparent plastic + rain impaired views = zero visibility. As we neared the sanctuary the tour director started to outline what we were to expect and while admittedly my attention span wavered a little between his instructions and the gurgling of my stomach I couldn’t help but blurt out in the middle of his spiel, “Did you just ask if anybody was allergic to penis?”
“Yes, penis” and at my still confused look, he mimed putting something into his mouth and repeated, “Penis”
Now I don’t know a lot about squirrel monkeys but I wondered why my children were allowed to participate in an activity which might bring them in contact with all the ‘trimmings’ of these tree dwellers who apparently had a fetish for oral sex and yet were not allowed to sit on a bus and patiently wait outside of an adult only resort. I started having second thoughts about what I had signed us up for before the nice British couple behind me clarified that he was asking about Peanut Allergies which certainly makes more sense in hindsight. My only excuse is that I was going on several days without sleep, my stomach was staging a revolt and I obviously did not have my husband’s linguistic abilities when it came to studying accents. As well, this vacation had taken such a toll on my standards and expectations that even the possibility of pornographic primates didn’t really phase me.
I could go on; like one of those horrible late night infomercials that you can’t turn off
“…but wait, THERE’S MORE..”
but in order to complete this vacation series before I lose the remainder of my tan I’ll spare you and focus on the positive.
THE MONKEY’S. They were amazing. We learned that they are not actually native to the Dominican, instead imported from Africa. As they jumped onto our shoulders and sat on our heads, it was clear that the seemed unaffected by Punta Cana’s strange lack of pillows and unusual food choices as they happily munched on the fruit and PEANUTS that we held in our hands. As our teenager daughter spends more time perfecting her selfie smile, it was wonderful to see unfiltered joy light up her face as these adorable little creatures swung down from the trees to land on our outstretched arms.
I’d like to wrap up this post by telling you that for the rest of the vacation things turned around but truth be told, they really didn’t. Housekeeping was lackadaisical at best and when maintenance finally arrived to take a look at the broken blind they informed us it was missing a string and then we never saw them again. The food was hit and miss and one by one our gastrointestinal health suffered the consequences and the weather stayed unpredictable and stormy but even in the midst of it all… the kids had fun. There was a corner jacuzzi tub on the back deck facing the ocean (which at first seemed weird, but due to blind cords not making the packing list, our modesty was already being infringed for the week, so why not?) and full bottles of shower gel were sacrificed to the cause. As the wind gathered up the mountains of bubbles generated by the jets and whipped them into a frenzy, all three of the kids squeezed into the tub in their swimsuits and laughed together like they were at their own personal foam party.
Despite everything, I couldn’t help but smile, because no matter where I am, no matter what is going on in my world, if the kids are able to giggle with the kind of abandon that brings tears to your eyes, it just can’t be that bad.
So that’s the moral of the story folks….(that and finding yourself a trusted travel agent to explain the apparent sliding scale of 4.5 star resorts) You might not always be able to find the silver lining in your grey clouds but you can make sure to find people to dance with you in the rain…and Cractpots can cha-cha like it’s nobodies business so leave a spot on your dance card, and I’ll see you next week.
I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. ~Mark Twain