Saturday, February 28, 2009

a nice, stress-free vacation

That’s why people go to all-inclusive resorts, right? For a nice, stress-free vacation. Well. We set off from our regular old non-inclusive hotel in Samana after a leisurely (because of how long they took to get our coffee, and then how long they took to get the check) breakfast and made it to Puerto Plata with relative ease. Most of the way the road was still fairly pot-holey and rough, but not nearly as bad as the road to Las Terrenas (where a 20-mile trip took over two hours). The real trouble came when we took the turn-off to Playa Dorado, which is a beach just east of Puerto Plata that’s home to over a dozen resorts.

Mom had lost the printed-off email reservation for our resort, but we remembered that it was called Something Village and figured they’d have our name in the system. So we pulled up to the Caribbean Village Resort only to be told that this resort had closed two months ago. He directed us to the Caribbean Occidental Village, which we drove too far past and ended up nearly at the beach and had to get re-directed from another resort’s beachside bar. We roll up at the Occidental Village, where Dad, now a cocky Dominican-style driver, left the car right in front of a “No Parking” sign, only to get sent back out to move the car by a bellhop. (The resorts don’t really count as Dominican.)

Anyway, the Occidental Village was also not our resort, and after some more driving and sweaty back-and-forths between several hotel employees & passersby, we finally arrived at the Puerto Plata Village. There, the receptionist asked for our email confirmation, although he had our names written down and had an envelope all ready for us with our plastic bracelets and room key. He sent us over to the “guest services” desk to open and print our email, but the “guest services” woman insisted that we did not need to print our email confirmation, so she walked back to reception with me and engaged in a glare-off with the receptionist, which she won. So! We got our neon yellow bracelets, the caste mark of the entitled, and were led off to our room. I started to unload the car, wheeling my suitcase in the room, marveling at the air conditioning and double beds, then went back to the car, locking our only room key inside. So I walked back to the reception building, explained my plight, and had to wait awhile for a security guard to come back with me with his master key. (Apparently it would be out of the question for us to simply have two keys. Whatev.)

So, back in our swank room, we changed into swimsuits, consulted our resort map, and headed over to the pool. And to the swim-up bar. Mom and I both had a few yummy fruity drinks while sitting in the pool. Unfortunately, I hardly ever drink, and after 1.5 (kind of strong) sugary pink things, my tummy hurt and I had to go lie down. I am a lame resort-goer.

Then we went to the all-inclusive buffet dinner, and I tried to go to the taco bar and their beans appeared to have giant meat hunks in them. Just to be sure, I asked if they were vegetarian, and a waiter-guy said no, and then I asked what was vegetarian, and he told me “The vegetables.” I said, “Anything else?” and he said “The vegetables over there.” Hell yeah, all-inclusive resort! I can have all the drinks I want, until I get a tummyache, and all the vegetables on two different foodbars! I also have a pretty unlimited supply of guilt about things like how much energy and water my long hot shower took, how many resources are being used to maintain this giant resort when people are living in tin shacks like 10 miles away, and how little money I assume all the resort employees are making. It also really doesn’t help that my poolside reading is No Logo by Naomi Klein, an anti-consumerist (though that is a reductive summary of her more complex argument) tome that fills me with joyful trivia about how the average sweatshop worker in China makes 13 cents an hour.

Ayyy, Dios. But if I can build up my alcohol tolerance and suppress some of my middle-class guilt, I think this will be a good vacation week. It takes a lot of planning, navigating, and translating stress off of me. And I will definitely enjoy the hot water and soft-yet-supportive double mattress that I get all to myself, not to mention the air conditioning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Renata, I am reading No Logo too, and it does occasionally make me want to lash out irrationally at The Man.