BWS in Dominican Republic ~ Day 5
The sound of the waves crashing on the reef almost sounds like applause. It could explain why I've had a crowd of people cheering me on while surfing in my dreams all week. Thinking that you're waking up to applause is a great way to trick your brain to start the day happy. Outside of hiring a small Asian man to stand beside you as you sleep cheering, waves are a good substitute.
Last night's rain has left the air fresh, the grass green, and the waves now glassy. Stepping out of my room and looking straight at glassy wave faces doesn't get old. ’aking up and looking at a dozen crusty men who've only showered in the ocean for the last week, not as picturesque. Ian in his flannel shirt and full beard looks most like the Marlboro man. I'm just waiting for him to light a match off his chin.
Today we're heading back to Cabarete with the hopes of catching an afternoon kite surf session at the local surf spot Encuentro when the wind kicks in and the surfers' bug out. Loading up the car we drag our asses like toddlers who don't want to pick up their play toys. Our geared loaded like the advance level of Tetris, we take one last look at our kite boarding paradise in the Dominican, pose for one last picture, and roll out like Regulators.
Cruising to a sweet remix of Shirley Bassey's Where Do I Begin, we roll down the rocky root filled ocean side road one last time. Did I mention that on top of being an excellent photographer, Oliver is a DJ? Well he is, and it's been five days of killer tunes while traveling the back roads of DR. There are few things better than having a soundtrack to an amazing adventure. Oli has killed it with the tunes. Rolling out of town we are now hailed like royalty as our rolling caravan has been a standard sight on the one road out of La Entrada. Every day the same kid escorts us out while doing a wheelie for about two kilometers on his beat up mountain bike. The baker smiles and offers one last loaf of fresh gluten. The local pimp flashes his ladies of the night one last time. Still, he has no takers. Better luck next year amigo.
Rolling back through all the little campos and towns along our route home, we are reminded of how we were afforded the opportunity as gringos to see the real Dominican Republic. The corner barber shops. The oil drums chopped in half and turned into chicken roasting spots. The corner pool halls that are that come alive at night. The Sunday cruising on the beach with all the gangsters. The style and panache that can only be found on the island of Hispaniola, and what makes it special.
Rolling into Cabarete we are smashed in the face by the massive contrast of our simple DR surf hut, and the palace that is Millennium hotel. Located on the beach in Cabarete, Millennium is a boutique hotel straight out of New York placed smack in the middle of paradise. Spa, workout center, conference rooms, fat sunburned gringos poolside, barf! But on the other hand, a nice hot shower isn't such a bad idea. I guess luxury does have some benefits. All tired from our five-day adventure, we're content to settle in and clean up. The wind isn't on today, but the waves are. The crew unloads the caravan and rest up the afternoon. I return to my house as Cabarete is my home, collect a weeks worth of kisses, and we all plan to meet for a sunset surf session at Encuentro. At 4pm I load my surfboard onto the sidecar of my trusty faux Korean Dominican motorcycle. Rolling into Encuentro, the break is sparse as most have had their surf sessions and are now sipping cervezas and getting ready for the sunset. We paddle out into beautiful head high waves. As usual Benny and Brandon hold court, but Ian is no slouch, on a surfboard that is, otherwise he's a he'll of a slouch.
The sunset surf session is sublime. Rolling off the water we're greeted with ice cold cervezas and Chino on the BBQ getting dinner prepared. Oliver has edited yesterdays amazing session down for coaching, and Ian has prepared his photos for review as well. Huddled around Ian's laptop at the beachside grill shack, we watch each of the videos, make jokes, compliments and enjoy everyone's signature style.
Post BBQ we roll onto the strip in Cabarete. Thursday night is Salsa night, and we're on fire from a week of fantastic kite surfing. Before the festivities begin, BWS has arranged to show a little video review of our week prepared by Eye Fly Films and the BWS crew. Like movie stars on the silver screen, our amazing adventure plays on the big canvass at Ojjo's bar in the center of Cabarete in all our glory. I'm a spitting image to James Dean if I do say so myself. The video and photos are a great way to re-live and share our experiences with everyone. We celebrate like we just landed on the moon. It's been an incredible week of learning, laughing, kite surfing, and friendship creating. Good fucking times! I live in Cabarete, and we visited places on the island I never knew existed. I saw facets of the Dominican Republic that are the reasons why I call it home. The beautiful smiles of the people, the wild west feeling of an untamed country, the ocean in all her glory, and a feeling of true adventure. If I live here and still feel this way about our amazing adventure, my new brothers who've flown in from London, Paris, etcetera must have found the trip brilliant. From the smiles in their faces all week, I know they did.
I can't wait till Ian, Karl and Benny come back again next year. I look forward to more amazing adventures. Have fun in Morocco mi hermanos!