Sunday, May 4, 2008

Horses, Rain & Adios to Costambar

PHOTO CAPTIONS: 1. The Happy Equestrians, 2. Our fearless leader Jose, 3. Andre on top of Estrello, taking in the view of Cofresi, 4. Letting the horses eat a bit, 5. View of Ocean World, 6-7. How the other 2% lives, 8. Back at the Casino for fish dinner and a swim, 9. Walking back to Costambar along the coast, 10-11. The two sides of Costambar, 12-13. Adios to our hosts Joseph and Vashti at L'Oase.

Rainy season arrived in Dominican Republic on May 1. Before that, we had slight sprinkles that helped keep the temperature comfortable. But the day we had arranged for Jose to take us horseback riding for a few hours, it poured all night. We were lucky to get a break in the rain to take a nice ride over to Cofresi, home of Ocean World and luxury living. Jose kept the ride lively with his hearty personality and constant joking. He accommodated us when we wanted to stop for photos, which as you know, is my weakness. The views from the hilltops were spectacular. At the very top, as we let the horses munch some grass, our friend Hubert called from NJ -- thanks to a cell phone tower sticking out of the roof of a nearby mansion. Hubert's having doubts about his Dominican girlfriend. Jose's answer: Get another! Our 29-year-old guide has lived in Costambar all his life and has seen huge changes. Cofresi was still a quiet fishing village rather than a high-end vacation resort when Jose was a kid. Jose spent the rest of the ride asking questions about what kind of girl Hubert likes, sure that he had the perfect one in his "menu."

We were hungry after the ride, so we walked back to the Casino at Ocean World to enjoy the fish dinner and chef's salad. I learned last time not to order the grilled shrimp, mango and avocado salad, no matter how good it sounds, since avocados and mangos are out of season. They substituted iceberg lettuce and cantaloupe, which was good, but not what I'd ordered. We walked back along the coast. By the time we got back to L'Oase, Andre was done for the day. I walked into the village to buy food for our bus ride back to the capitol the next day and said goodbye to Rainer, Beatriz and their daughter Ana at R&B Bakery. I also went swimming for a bit, but basically it was time to move on. Joseph and Vashti, as always, hope to see us again soon. I'm hoping Andre gets his visa soon so he can finally immigrate to the U.S. In that case, the soonest we'd be back is in 9 months -- 3 months to get married and 6 months to get US residency. But we'll see. I didn't think I'd be back this soon when I said adios in February.

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