Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Generalisimo Arrives

Our flight was late. We were all bloated from the airplane rations and sore from the inhospitable seats. The airline tortured us once again by putting on Aquamarine. The only consolation came upon descent, where the waters of the Caribbean were themselves aquamarine, and the island of HispaƱola lush and green. We’ve arrived.

The authorities checked our papers and demanded a $10 fee for the pleasure of getting through customs. Once out, we were met by a cadre of uniformed men, one of whom escorted us… back to the airfield. We were corralled into security again. Our bags were taken from us as we were whisked over to a helicopter. The chopper lifted us up along the coastline, over the ramshackle tin-and-concrete huts, and down into a compound, where its director, Eduardo, would be waiting for us.

Upon arrival, we were dumped out of the helicopter, our bags in the hands of more uniformed men. Eduardo watched as we were given the wet towel treatment and subsequently fed an effervescent, yellowish-poison. “Welcome to the Lifestyle Hacienda Resort,” he said.

Alright, so perhaps I’m playing things up a bit. The uniforms are white polo shirts, the wet towels were refreshing, and the yellow-tinged poison actually champagne. And the chopper ride? Freakin’ awesome. We may be carrying nothing but backpacks, but we’re carrying them on our own golf cart, over to our own three-bedroom villa, with our own swimming pool. In case there’s any question: This is not a backpacking trip.

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