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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Farmwife honeymoon at long last

The Farmer and I have finally had a honeymoon. We waited until the time was right, and that took 3 years! We are in between Christmas and lambing season, so we're safe. I left the girls in charge of the farm with a list of reminders: 1. Feed the barn cats more than they need. When they are full, another bunch will emerge from the rafters. 2. Cody and Chelsea need fresh water and food everyday. Remember that Chelsea bites females and Cody eats everything that you dont put out of his reach, including butter. 3. Check the cow and sheep feeders every day; when they are empty call the neighbour. He will refill them. Refill the water; they are big drinkers - especially the lactating mama cows. 4. Dont forget my New Years lambs in the barn. Dont overdo the sweetfeed in the creep though. They will eat til they are paralyzed. 5. Sheila the housecat will remind you she is in the basement. You will hear her singing when she hears your footsteps. She needs fresh water and food daily and lots of attention too. 6. If you have friends over, no smoking in the house or barn! We want them standing when we return. Have fun, be safe.

After arriving in Punta Cana, it took me a full day to stop worrying about the animals and children. The Farmer/Professor got into relaxation mode far quicker than I did. By the first afternoon, he had already totally forgotten his school schedule. He has to teach the day after we return, but he cant remember what. That first night, we were welcomed into the resort by a bunch of Guelph and Ottawa U students who decided to introduce us to the local shot, known as Mama Juana. Basically its cherry liquor and rum with tree bark floating in it. Scary. Tastes like cough syrup and packs a punch. I have no idea how I got to my room. The Farmer says he slung me over his shoulder but I suspect he is exaggerating. I do remember saying goodnight to the 3 flamingoes (and one duck) who live in the fountain pond outside our window before I went to bed. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we got into the beach relaxation mode, finishing the books we had started on the plane ride and working on our tans. I think its a form of meditation therapy. When our backs kinked up from doing nothing, we walked on the beach. When our tummies grumbled, we wandered over to one of the all-inclusive buffet restaurants to snack on fish, veggies, rice and fresh fruit. By Thursday we were beginning to feel we needed a bit of an adventure, so we signed up for a catamaran excursion to a national park, Saona Island. The 90-minute ride included free-flowing alcohol, but knowing my tendency toward motion sickness, I did not imbibe. I didnt feel like taking Caribbean line dancing lessons on the rolling deck either. I just sat and enjoyed the breezes while the tour guides took photos and film that they tried to sell to us later.

On the island, you walk along a white powder beach strewn with conch shells, urchins and coral. Lunch is a bbq buffet of grilled tuna, chicken, potato salad and fruit. As on the resort beach, vendors of art, jewellery and wood carvings keep trying to sell you stuff, until you learn not to make eye contact with them at all. It helps if you have a book handy to stick your nose in when they come by. The Farmer and I did buy a few pieces of the local Dominican Diamond (larimar - looks like turquoise), as well as a colourful painting of a market scene and a box of cigars. But we did our shopping at out-of-the-way places at the end of the beach and down the road from the resort where the salespeople are less pushy. Hopefully they realize they were being rewarded for that. "You're not going to change the world," the Farmer said. I had to remind him of this when later that day he gestured at yet another speedboat driver who was cutting through the snorkeling area with little regard for the swimmers he was scattering around him.

On our way back to the resort from Saona, we stopped on a sandbar in the middle of the ocean, where the Caribbean and Atlantic seas meet. There we could walk around in 2 feet of glass-clear water, looking for starfish. Our guide swam behind the boat and produced two big red ones. I suspect they were plants, and I am not convinced they were alive, but they were heavy and still had all their teeth. In fact, they are covered in them, which makes them difficult to hold.

Back at the resort, we went to see the nightly entertainment, which involved some sort of crowd-interactive dance and a lot of showgirls and acrobats. I love the way everyone is so happy to be doing their jobs here - they sing from morning to night, smile Ola at you when they pass you on the walk. It reminded me of Taiwan, the way the servers seemed to be so happy and without complaint. That and the poor sewer system that makes it against regulation to flush toilet paper. Both Taiwan and the Dominican need to invest in some quality plumbing.

On Friday, we braved the cave, which is a discotheque called Imagine. It looks like a castle from the road but that is just the entrance to an actual nightclub built into a cave. Men dressed as tribal warriors stand like statues on pedestals, guarding the door. Later those same warriors joined us and several hundred college kids on the various dance floors within the cave. Showgirls in jewelled bikinis danced on platforms between the stalactites. International club music changed to techno beats after a while and the thickening crowd made it difficult to breathe. I only lasted two hours, Im ashamed to report. The Farmer and I had to take a taxi home, unable to last to the 4am shuttle back to the resort.

On Saturday, the Farmer had his dream trip out to the deep sea for some fishing. Unfortunately, within twenty minutes of boarding the boat, his Farmwife was hanging over the edge of the boat. There I remained for two hours. But I did see a whale, through teary eyes. That was cool.

It is now our last night and I know its time to go home because my worry brain has returned. I forgot to tell the girls not to give the horse too much grain. And I hope I have given them enough time to clean up after any partying they did in our absence, and that the barn is still standing. I apologize for the absence of apostrophes; this was written on a keyboard sticking with sunscreen in the resort Internet cafe.

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