So, last time I left you we had just begun grilling our massive bacon steaks, doing our level best to achieve a heart-attack within the hour. John, Jackson and I spiced and grilled ours normally, while we seared Ellen’s for about 15 seconds on each side, as she prefers her steak with a faint heartbeat. We had a few beers over the next couple hours before noticing that something was definitely wrong with Jackson. He kept getting up to use the head, something that all of us avoid on principle whenever we can, and it was only when he began describing his symptoms(which I will here, for the sake of your digestion, omit), that we began to wonder what could have caused such an unpleasant reaction. We decided that the steak had been too recent to be the culprit, but as we realized that we had all eaten exactly the same things over the course of the day, our concern deepened. Ellen helpfully chimed in from the bow, where she had gone to bed a couple hours before, with news that she had experienced similar…symptoms. We therefore went to bed that night in various states of discomfort: some of us from anticipation, others from a rather more manifest disturbance.
I wound up being the most fortunate party in our little group. I experienced some mild discomfort when I woke up the following morning, but it never materialized. Everyone else, however, was struck to one extent or another with what we, striking a blow for political correctness and cultural sensitivity, christened “Montezuma’s Revenge”. Jackson had by far the worst of it, having experienced the most…violent symptoms, but he was coming out of it by mid morning, while John and Ellen were still mostly bed-ridden. We therefore spent most of the day in the boat, alternatively napping and complaining until late afternoon when we had all mostly recovered and went into town to set up a car rental with Tony, as we were driving Jackson to Santo Domingo the following day for his flight out on Monday.
We started off early the following morning(Sunday, the 17th. Dang, am I a month behind again?) and headed in to Luperon to pick up the car for the long drive ahead of us. We had heard from several people that the drive across the country to Santo Domingo was an easy 4 hours, but given what we had seen of driving in the Dominican Republic, we were hardly going to trust an estimate that was the next best thing to arbitrary, given the variety of unpredictable factors from our vehicle, to the traffic, to the degree of our fellow drivers’ recklessness. Our car for the drive was Tony’s standard rental, a Chevy Tracker that, while in much better shape than our previous vehicle, had a few eccentricities of its own. The speedometer worked, though the blinkers didn’t, and neither did the horn(blared into debilitation long ago, I’m sure), which left us unable to communicate with other cars, other than by John making hourn noises out the window, distressing his passengers far more than the myriad uncaring drivers who sped by, horns blaring. Nevertheless, the drive was significantly more relaxing than our previous attempt, as the majority of the drive was on a divided highway. This didn’t stop our fellow drivers from turning three lanes into five or six, but at least there was no oncoming traffic for them to hit. It didn’t hurt, either that the drive was staggeringly beautiful. Between the various cities, we cound ourselved driving through densly wooded mountain roads, from which we would emerge onto bare cliffsides, looking out across mountain ranges wreathed in mist. These were not the harsh, jagged crags of the rockies, either, but lush forested peaks that gave the impression of verdant life everywhere you looked. Eventually we descended into Santo Domingo proper and began searching for our hoste, noticing, as we did, certain aspects of city driving in the DR that must, I’m afraid, wait until the next post, as this one has already gone over-long.