The first morning that I woke up in Punta Cana was bitter-sweet. Though I was excited to embark on the hotel's buffet breakfast, I couldn't help but acknowledge the pain that was beginning to befall the length of my right leg. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and peered at my calf, knee, and thigh; a racing stripe of bright red sunburn had appeared since yesterday. The good news was that I was able to see that sunscreen actually does work when applied to every inch of your body- just remember not to miss any spots...
That day our party of four had the distinct opportunity to meet CraigRuss (I have no idea if that is his actual name, but this is what he became known as to us). Stumbling over on the beach, he laughed as he slurred, “I don't usually drink that much... but they just keep bringing us cocktail after cocktail... this bartender is CRAZY... where are you guys from?” After we told him, he exclaimed, “We live pretty close to yous guys too! When are you here 'til?” I hate this question, because it forces me to consider our time of departure. Anyway, did he think that if we'd be here a while maybe we can do lunch? We told him that we were leaving next Saturday. He nodded, then stared at us uncomfortably and walked away. This was not, however, our last encounter with CraigRuss.
Although the resort was rather large, we seemed to see CraigRuss (who didn't remember speaking to us on the beach, and just ignored us completely- fine by me) at every turn. No matter where we were sitting- pool, beach, restaurant, bar- he was just THERE.
One thing about this hotel (and probably many others) was that you had to get up pretty early to get the seats you wanted at the pool, so one of us would get up at 6 or 6:30 every morning to secure four lounge chairs under huts by our rooms. At around noon, Kyle and I were laying in the sun, drying off from a dip in the water when Mrs. CraigRuss began dragging her lounge chair toward the little hut that we'd secured 6 hours earlier. “Umm, excuse me, but we were using that...”
“Oh. Fine.” She made a face, dropped the chair she'd been scraping across the ground, and skulked away.
I made a decision not to ever move an inch away from the shade, lest she try to steal it away again.
As the days unfolded, I came to find out that she was a perfect counterpart to her husband.
|The woman tried to steal my shade!|
As evening approached a couple days later, the four of us compadres were enjoying a pre-dinner toddy and snack in the lounge by our room. The few others who assembled in the room were very quiet, and the atmosphere was calming and tranquil. That is until the arrival of CraigRuss.
The sound of his voice cut through the silence like a rusty hatched- booming, and yet a little whiny. His voice cracked several times as he screamed, “THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I PAYED FOR THIS VACATION? (apparently he didn't know about the 10% discount offered by American Express) HOW COME I CAN'T GET ON THE INTERNET? WHAT KIND OF PLACE IS THIS?” There were some muffled apologies from the concierge who was taking this verbal abuse from the insolent buffalo downstairs. “THAT'S IT- I WANT TO SPEAK TO THE MANAGER OF THIS OPERATION, AND NOT THE RESTAURANT MANAGER, EITHER. I WANT TO SPEAK TO... MR. EXCELLENCE HIMSELF!” (It is important to note that the name of the resort we were staying in was “The Excellence”).
We all looked at each other with wide eyes, then we started laughing. “Mr. Excellence? Really?”
The final installment of the CraigRuss saga came toward the end of our trip, as we were all, again, gathered in the lounge.
“This feels awesome,” Kyle stretched on the leather sofa, drink in hand. “The only thing that would make it better would be if CraigRuss were here.” We all giggled.
“Don't look now, but your prayers have been answered.”
In he strutted: short-sleeved button-down shirt, jeans, and no shoes. A picture of class.
Just then, the boys decided that they would be funny. Loudly, they conversed so CraigRuss could hear, “How's your WiFi been doing?”
“Surprisingly well. I can't believe I've been able to use my iPad down at the beach this whole time without any problems.”
I sunk down in the couch, hoping that it would swallow me whole.
“Yeah... It's amazing on an island such this that the internet is still so accessible.”
I truly wanted to die.
I truly wanted to die.
Strangely enough, the news that broadcast into our room each morning was the local New York affiliate station, so we were able to see what was going on at home all the time (not that I wanted to, but Kyle refused to watch Saved by the Bell on TBS each morning while getting ready). The story came about the impending snow storm within a couple of days of our stay.
Now obsessively glued to the TV screen, Kyle was getting up-to-the-minute coverage of the storm by the minute, while the sun, and strawberry daiquiris, waited for us outside. “Come on! It doesn't even affect us!” I would whine, pulling him out the door.
As it turns out, I was kinda wrong (this happens, unfortunately, all too frequently).
The day before our traveling companions were set to leave (we were staying for a couple days after them), they checked their departure status online (since the internet worked so well, CraigRuss), only to discover that their flight had already been cancelled. Not awaiting further notice. Not delayed. Cancelled.
In all due fairness, this was not the worst place in the world to get stranded, however they had to even find out if there was “room at the inn,” so to speak.
As it turned out, they were able to remain in the hotel for the night, for an astronomical amount of money, and they were forced to change rooms. C'est la vie.
Who can be mad while sipping pina coladas at the beach, anyway?
|It took us 15 minutes and 4 people to determine which was women's and which was men's|
Coming soon, Part III: The Departure. How we survived, I'm not quite so sure.