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7/365 – White Slavery
© 2011 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. For some, this is a nightmare.  For me, awesome.

7/365 – White Slavery


8:30am . . . ish.  Megan and I sit in an old 1990s Subaru 4WD, SUV.  Our driver, Felix; owner and operator of a local tourism adventure company . . . snorkeling, scuba, fishing, jeep tours . . . Megan describes him as a “slick rick.”  A used car salesman.  Meaning his sincerity is always in question.

Wanna buy a Dominican adventure?

Our destination – a glass bottom boat for an ocean tour.  We were to be picked up at the beach at the resort but Felix says the water is too rough there.  So we travel down DR Highway 5 . . . then he turns down a side road that no human has traveled in years.  It’s pock marked with dirty mud puddles, mud mounds, weeds and thickets of brush.  Megan turns to me and says, “Are we being sold into white slavery?”

Liam Neeson! Where are you? ~sigh~ I wish I had a very specific set of skills.

We exit the jungle into a clearing that leads to a beach.  A shabby, run down beach.  Ahead is a group of rusty, almost abandoned buildings.  Have you seen The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou?  The scene when they storm the abandoned hotel.  Yeah, it looks like that.  Complete with a group of mangy looking Rottweilers.

This picture does't really paint how dilapidated this place was.

Felix tells us we can visit the gift shop while he gets our boat ready.  Is the boat called the Amastad?

The gift shop is filled with old trinkets and stacks of local paintings.  We browse all the while whispering to each other things like, “What is this place?” and “I don;t want to buy anything.”  Felix asks us to take  seat in the office.  By office he means the open hut in the middle of the beach.  It’s filled with tourist brochures, maps and signs that look like remnants from the late 80s.  We sit on a couch that would look at home in a college frat house but here we look for blood stains.  We both spot a sign on the wall . . .


Yeah, that's gonna happen. Does "massage" mean "delousing" in spanish?

Felix calls us over to the beach where a boat has made a beach landing.  It looks like it more for livestock transportation than tourism . . . or are we livestock?  Then we see children.  Two kids, in fact.  And our fears subside.  “Oh, kids are here.  We’re fine.”  Then my mind goes to, “That’s what I’d bring if I wamnted to give unsuspecting victims a false sense of security.  Children.”  I do NOT say this aloud.

Then we meet Eddie . . . and everything is fine.  Eddie is a friendly boat captain and the two kids, James and Edison are his kids.  From this point on, we feel fine.  Felix really needs a PR manager because – well – SKETCHY!

The funny thing is because of Eddie’s accent, when he introduces Edison I thought he said Eddie Son – as in karate kid “son.”  I almost bowed.


Eddie, Edison and Megan.

Now we have fun . . .

We see amazing cliffs:

Amazing cliffs!

Dominican Cliffs!

A quaint lagoon called Gri Gri:

Dominican Boats!

Edison piloting the boat:

And picking his toes which is a requirement for being a boat captain.


A dog:

A Dominican dog!

I go snorkeling! (Note – snorkeling sounds kind of lame.  I wanted to scuba.  BUT, snorkeling in the US is comprised of seeing food particles and needles in a lake or ocean with about 1 foot of visibility.  In the Caribbean, the water is so damn clear you can see forever.  Amazing.)

For some, this is a nightmare. For me, awesome.

Then Eddie drops us off at a beach to meet Felix so he can take us back to The Palace for lunch.  All along the beach are these ceramic heads and bodes on the rocks surrounding a cove.

This is creepier in person or taken with a better camera.

They are in memory of the natives who first occupied the island but are no more.  Many of them committed suicide.  It was eerie.  But not as eerie as getting on the beach and instantly getting harassed by trinket peddlers.  Jewelry.  Petrified rock carvings of animals (it was actually clay, but they’d never say that . . . ), even women offering to give Megan caribbean braids.  I should have bought that instead of the stupid El Gato Blanco (the white cat).  We just wanted them to go away.

Then one peddler says he can meet us at The Palace for payment if we don’t have the money on us.  Damn it, Felix.  We were just starting to like you.  Another guy selling jewelry (the same jewelry Megan bought at the amber museum in Puerto Plata with Reafeal and Carlos) gets all snippy when we don’t want to buy,  He comes back after we rejected his pitch and asks, “How much are you paying per night at The Palace.”  I know what he was getting at and guess what – I’m not biting.  That’s rude weather you’re a Dominican, American or Martian.

How rude! I would never ask about someone's income. I'm too busy probing them.

So we eat lunch and then Felix takes us on a jeep tour of the countryside.  We sit at a roadside bar and have a Presidente.  I could have stayed there all day. Iit ws so comfortable.  But Felix wants to keep going . . . and as he pulls out he tells us that the young guy sitting with us was a professional ball player for the Toronto Blue Jays – Danny Rodriguez I think.  Now you tell us!

So, We’re still very suspicious of felix, but he seems to be loosening up so we try to enjoy the scenery.  Then he takes us to this beautiful lagoon with 50 foot high rock cliffs surrounding it.  There are rope swings all around.  Dominican teenagers are having a blast and Megan and I convince Felix to go swimming . . . and suddenly, we’re with a different guy.  He stops being a salesman and starts being an person.  He stops treating us like marks and starts treating us like friends.

Felix before swimming.

Felix After Swimming.

And then I do this:


While Megan does this:


I’m not bragging.  Megan did a good job.  But again, I did this:

While Megan did this:


And Felix, complete in his wife beater and shorts laughs and splashes around.  I’m convinced that water brings out the best in people.  The car ride home is filled with inappropriate jokes about women’s caves and how he cheated on his x-wife and feels bad and he even invites us to a Sunday BBQ.  He looks at me and says, “I like you.  You’re so friendly.  Megan, is he always this friendly?”  Felix becomes a real person and we have a grand tour of the north coast.

Maybe we’ll try White Slavery tomorrow.


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