A Surprise Visit
Trip Start Sep 05, 2009
4Trip End Sep 13, 2009
I felt bad dropping in on her unannounced, but it was great to see her. We knew we were at the right house when five dogs bounded out to greet us. Emma arrived in Cabrera more than two years ago with virtually no Spanish, but within three weeks she had organized her first spay/neuter clinic, and now she works with all the local vets. She had been living in SF, but she moved to the DR to decrease costs and allow her to work for Animal Balance full-time - a brilliant move. She's really a force. So we enjoyed a cold glass of water while catching up in her peaceful, tropical garden.
Emma also had some great recommendations for places to go, so after we left her house we guagua-ed to Laguna Dudu, an unfortunately named but really magical spot. It's a natural pool set at the bottom of 30-40 foot cliffs, with vines and plants hanging down the cliff walls all the way to the water. We were again impressed with the level of investment in tourism infrastructure. One side of the pool has a concrete platform with a ladder going down to the water, and there are several rope swings. When we arrived there were about a dozen locals drinking rum and playing in the water (not so sure about that combination, but...) The water was cool but not cold, perfectly clear, and a beautiful blue-green color
Some of the locals were jumping from the high cliffs, and that is something that Shen just can't resist. One of the guys, who actually lives in New Jersey, offered to go up with him. It was funny, because clearly no one thought he would jump - after he walked away, there was a chorus of, "Look! The gringo is going up to the cliff! Snicker snicker snicker.." Shen is definitely not one to show off, but the poor expectations made it totally necessary, so he did a back flip off a 35-foot cliff. The group made several comments about how the gringos never jump, they had never seen anything like that - and then gave him a round of applause when his head (safely) broke the surface. I was a little indignant that I did not get the same reaction going off of the 6-foot rope swing.
After goodbyes all around, we headed back to town to watch the amazing sunset from our terrace, batido in hand. Batidos are milkshakes made with fresh fruit - in this case, papaya - and they're the perfect antidote to a steamy tropical evening.