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It was my last night in Cabarete, and I wanted to dance. This was my last chance at bachata for a long time, which is one of the top eight things I’ll miss about Dominican Republic.
Dancing bachata was just a bonus, however. I was really hoping to catch a last glimpse of the band of Russian prozies I was so fond of who hung out on the top floor of this particular beach club, where House music blared at all hours. This band of Eastern European girls looked like they walked straight out of a Victoria Secret catalog, complete with skirts that looked like over-sized belts, six-inch platform heels, animal-print clothing, and long, glossy hair. They were always accompanied by older, pudgy, overweight clients, as well as a couple of younger men that I suspected were their “protection.”
I called these girls “The Windsocks” because they danced in a spastic manner. Flailing their limbs wildly in all directions, The Windsocks looked like their extremities were at the mercy of the breeze.
Downstairs in the bachata room, I was mid-turn when heard the clickity-clack of stilettos. The Windsocks had arrived! I gathered up my friends to make our way to the top floor, where we grabbed a table next to the Russians.
“I’m going to try to talk to the blond one,” my friend Igor said.
“I wouldn’t do that,” said our Dominican friend Jonathan. “If you try to dance with those girls, those men will tell you politely to stop. But then they’ll beat the shit out of you in the street when you leave the club.”
I pondered the cost-benefit of this scenario. “I’d prefer to fly home without any head injuries,” I said. “How about I try to intercept the bodyguard while you talk to the blond, Igor?” I was overwhelmed with curiosity; I’m fascinated by misplaced prostitutes.
I was also about four gin and tonics into the night, so this plan to meddle with an organized international prostitution ring sounded like a completely sensible idea.
A note: the ‘body guard’ I’m speaking of is not what you have in mind. He was a small-ish, nerdy looking guy wearing tennis shoes and a short-sleeved button up shirt and jeans. He could have been a beard-less, misplaced Chicago hipster with dorky glasses that weren’t dorky in the ironic, hipster sort of way, but in the pure nerd sort of way. I’m convinced this was an ingenious costume that hid the body guard’s secret karate-kid strength and martial arts talent.
Misplaced-could-be-hipster-body-guard got up from his seat and proceeded to the bathroom. I turned to Igor – This was our chance! We rose from our seats and meandered onto the dance floor. Upon body guard’s return, I turned to intercept him.
“Hi, what’s your name?” I said, blocking his progression towards his group. Perhaps I would have been more distracting with a wittier line, but at the time “Hi, what’s your name” combined with my sexy flip flops and ragged cotton beach dress attire seemed like a valid distraction for a man working to protect ten Eastern European models.
The body guard appeared completely flustered, looking over my shoulder towards his prozies.
“Uh… uh…” he muttered nervously with an accent I couldn’t place, “I gotta go…” And with that, he shoved me out of the way.
By this point Tanicus was up and hopping around like a cricket, in the same fashion he dances for karaoke purposes. He leaped over towards would-be-hipster-body-guard and started talking to him. Within a few seconds, the two looked like old pals. Tanicus laughed, the body guard chuckled and patted him on the back. What was going on?
After a solid two minutes of what looked like friendly banter, I was convinced I had lost Tanicus to his new line of work in organized crime. Then Tanicus shook hands with his new buddy and made his way over to Igor and I.
“What happened?!” we hissed.
“I just asked him what the deal was with the girls, and he said ‘you can’t dance with these girls.’ Then I asked him where they were from and he said ‘all over.’ Then he changed the subject and we talked about Argentina.”
“So I guess we can’t dance with the girls?” Igor said.
“Yeah, probably not a good idea,” Tanicus said.
Jonathan shook his head. I was still oozing with curiosity. Certainly this was the perfect storyline for a Lifetime movie. Ten Eastern European models sent to Dominican Republic and sold into a prostitution ring with ex-hipster body guard.
But that was all a couple of nights ago. This morning I woke up abruptly wondering why I was cold.
I’m not in Dominican Republic anymore.
Immediate depression set in. No beach? No sunshine? No kiting? No Russian prostitutes? I have to make my own bed? I have to bathe?
I stared into my closet, annoyed that I had to wear more than my bikini and board shorts. Getting myself dressed seemed like an absurd amount of effort. Do I really have to shower, put on clothes, shoes and make-up? My hair didn’t have that beachy, salt-water look. I decided I better comb it.
How do people live like this their entire lives?
I needed something to make me feel better. So here I am, eating chilaquiles in my favorite dirty Chicago diner, exactly where I started my trip to Cabarete.
It’s always curious to me that I can displace myself for extended periods of time, return to the exact place where I started, and realize nothing has changed at all. It’s as if time stands still while you’re off having the experience of a lifetime. Many people worry that if they travel for a long time, they’re going to miss goings-on at home, but the truth is, you really don’t miss anything at all.
What’s even more unanticipated is that friends and family almost never ask you about your trip, at least nothing more than the formality of “How was your trip?” to which they’re praying for a succinct response. No one really wants to hear the details. I suppose that’s what this blog is for… to give the saucy details to those that are interested, so I can just smile and nod to everyone else and respond, “It was wonderful. My trip was truly wonderful.”