When we arrived in SD we promptly parked our asses by the pool with some alcohol. The wedding was held at a 16th century church in Ciudad Colonial; the ceremony and it’s participants were breathtakingly beautiful. The reception was filled with lots of Latin music and dancing. And eating and drinking.
Monday we left for Bayahibe – more or less a small fishing village surrounded by a few large resorts. On our first day there I began to feel run-down. I did get to enjoy a day and a half at the beach but my chest congestion only worsened and I started running a fever. I spent Wednesday and Thursday under the covers in the hotel room, shivering and sweating and coughing. It really, really sucked. Luckily we were traveling with another couple, so the boyf got to enjoy some activities with them. I am still not fully recovered, but by Friday I was at least able to walk around without feeling faint.
We stayed at a small hotel that provided the very basic amenities. All-inclusive luxury resorts like Dreams are buying up land down there, crowding out the locals and leaving less and less public beach space for people to enjoy. In fact, we were stopped by Dreams guards as we walked along the sand because we’d accidentally stepped onto their property. I find those luxury resorts depressing: rich white people whooping it up, eating and drinking like royals, “protected” from the locals just outside the gates. Such resorts displace people from their land and wreack havoc on the ecosystems (the tourism industry does the same thing in other countries too, of course, including the US). The thought of staying at a place like that is a buzzkill, but it’s also a buzzkill to be hassled (to buy things) everywhere you go.
This was my first time in a “developing” country, and I have a bunch of disjointed thoughts swirling about in my head. I was constantly aware of the power disparities (including the racial one) between ourselves and the residents of our host country. I was distracted by the poverty, the starving dogs roaming the streets, thoughts about appropriation and exploitation, etc. Since I’ve been back, the other harpies and I have been corresponding via email re: our views on foreign travel. Naturally, some of the same issues apply in places like Hawaii, too, so it’s not one that can be easily avoided if one wants to visit a tropical destination! I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject.
We were really disappointed that our romantic getaway turned out to be one spent mostly in separate beds, our nights highlighted by the soothing sounds of my wheezing and coughing. I am glad to be home but sad to be returning to work and class. BUT, I have not had a cigarette since Friday (which I could barely finish) so hopefully this latest sickness will prove to have been just what I needed to quit.