Teli and I decided to go away for the day Billy Jay (my son) died. I like to get away on that day so I do not be in the house thinking too much. I chose Playa Palenque in the province of San Cristóbal. Little did I know that Hurricane Sandy was going to pass by during my little 2-night trip.
I made the reservations in the Hotel Playa Palenque. I stayed there once before and I liked the place. They have a kitchen and fridge so I could save money and take my own food. I took sandwich stuff, cereal and non-cooking items. Except for the coffee. I thought I could use the stove at least to make coffee but they said I couldn’t. No problem, each morning I just asked the girls working in the hotel to make me coffee using my coffee and they didn’t charge me.
I had to take a taxi because they don’t permit my dog Teli to ride n the Guagua. Another no problem. I like taking a taxi because I can take better pictures of the ride. Teli hopped into the back seat, Juan Carlos of JC Taxi loaded my stuff in the trunk and I settled into the front seat for the ride.
There were many good camera shots on the ride to because the streets were filled with pools of water.
Vehicles plodded through the water on the Malecon in Santo Domingo.
Most didn’t even slow down. This caused giant waves to appear on either side of their vehicle.
It made for some interesting riding.
We got to the hotel all safe and sound. Juan Carlos, the taxi driver, helped carry my stuff to the room. I had to carry Teli because they have 2 giant German Shepard’s on the property (sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the dogs). The dogs were not mean to me on my last visit but I guess they are not very welcoming to other dogs in their territory so I had to carry Teli most of the time coming and going.
We headed down to the beach as soon as I got unpacked and loaded the fridge. We walked down to the waters edge, as close as we could get, to see what we could see. The usual darker waters of Palenque were much darker and the waves were somewhat large. The seas were rough my friend. There was no way we could go swimming or even wading for that matter.
We walked up to the Playa Cocolinda to say hi to a friend. We made it just in time. The rains started coming down strong in torrents and the wind really picked up. There were only 2 places open in that section of the beach. No one was there except for the employees. I let Teli free for a bit to check out the area under the thatched roof patio to smell around while I sat and talked to my friend and played with a kitten. I was waiting for the wave of hard driving rain to stop or at least slow down.
When the winds subsided and the rain slowed to a bleak drizzle we walked back to Playa Palenque. I went to the only place open and had myself a nice cold beer while I sat under cover of the large pavilion. The dance floor inside was empty. The chairs were all stacked up. They were putting away the large speakers to protect them from the salt spray. I watched the water and talked to the people working there. Teli was checking out all the stuff and having a good time being free to wander around without getting soaked.
Finally we went back to the hotel. We were both soaking wet because as soon as we walked out of the safety of the large thatched roof covering it started to rain hard and the winds picked up again.
I ordered some warm dinner to thaw out up my cold innards and had it delivered to the patio of the room. It was more comfortable sitting there for Teli and I. We could enjoy dining without worrying about the dogs coming and getting my baby. I forget the name of what I ordered but it was beef in mushroom gravy with rice and a salad. It was full of flavor and nice and hot. We both enjoyed.
Later that night Teli and I were summoned to the outdoor restaurant to visit with the owner, Peter. We were having a nice conversation when one of the friendlier German Shepard came over to give Teli the official dog-sniffing check out. Teli was fine at first but the Shepard started getting too close. She jumped up and growled at him! He ran away to the other side of the pool! He was sulking while pacing back and forth as he kept Teli under observation. He finally gave up and went back to his spot at the front gate. I was so proud of my little girl for holding her own.
Hurricane Sandy made herself known throughout the night with continuous rain, wind and lots of nastiness. The hotel has a generator so the lights and fan were always on. I had a cold for a few days and was not feeling my best so I just stayed in read my Kindle, watched TV and listened to the constant sound of storm outside with Teli at my side (I took a sheet to cover the bed).
We woke on the 25th, the day Billy Jay died. It was raining relentlessly. There was a pool of water outside my patio. Teli desperately had to go outside to take care of her business. We had to wait for the guard to wake so he could make sure the dogs were kept at bay so I could let Teli out. I gave my coffee to the girls to prepare for me. They brought it to the room and I had a bowl of cereal and then we were off to see what we could see.
There were no businesses open this day on this side of the bridge. All was shut down. It was empty except for a few dogs making their rounds while making it very clear to Teli that she was in their territory.
There were a few people here and there dealing with their daily duties. One family was in the back of their house building a carbon fire, cooking something that smelt very yummy. Another man was fetching water in a bucket coming from a plastic pipe across the street from their home.
We went back to he only place open at Playa Palenque and hung out for a while visiting with our new friends.
There was a little chicken seeking shelter from the storm. It did not care that there was a dog in close proximity. Teli had to go and check out the little wet chicken. The chicken did not pay heed to Teli in the least. It just went about chickening, or whatever chickens do.
One of the guys in the business decided he was going to try and catch the bird. The little spindly bird was faster than he was. They just let it stay.
The rains had stopped for a bit letting the local kids come out and see what they could find in the garbage the rough seas stirred up. All I saw in the trash the sea brought in were shoes and plastic. Not one of the shoes had a match.
A little thatched roofed Bahia sitting atop a log of palm decided it was time to give in to the waves battering it. It slowly fell over. This is when the owners decided they needed to get the wood from the frame before all was washed into the sea. They were out trying to pull the little Bahia apart, fleeing to safety as each large wave approached them. There were 6 of them pulling at the little hut, breaking pieces off then running to put their treasure inside so it was not washed away. They were laughing as they were getting drenched, as they were not that fast to escape all the waves trying to take the Bahia before they could. It was an interesting battle. I never thought of taking a video.
Nothing much happened after this. Teli and I went to the room and ordered some steaming hot Seafood Stew. When the food was delivered we just hung out in the room for the duration. The rain and wind was much stronger this night. I slept, read, sat on the patio and looked at the nastiness good ole Sandy was generously sharing with Teli and I. I was hopeful that the morning would bring a reprieve from the storm.
I had my coffee, called JC Taxi to come and get us at his earliest convenience, packed up then went out for the last check-up on what Sandy did to Palenque Beach.
Juan Carlos came with his taxi and we were on our way back to see what Sandy decided to do to the outside world while we were away.
We passed Playa Nayajo.
Saw a man trying to fit 2 big cows into a small truck. He heeded a cowhorn (lol), not a shoehorn to get those big heifers into that truck.
There was a small landslide on the street.
The river near Haina was a bit nasty looking.
The goats waiting for their turn to be butchered were washed clean by the rains. The ones that already lost their lives were hanging waiting for someone to take them home and make some wonderful Chivo dishes. The meat is tasty I just do not like seeing them before they are cooked.
The sky had a hint of blue and the sea was starting to calm down. Waves were still a bit large. Some of the benches along the Malecon were a little damaged as usually happens when any large storm passes by.
Teli and I made it home. The rain did not get in our windows. The ceiling was a little damp but it did not leak. The electric was out for about an hour. All was good.
Another year has passed since my son died when he was 23 years old on October 25, 2003. I cannot believe it has been 9 years already. In memory of my baby boy, Billy Jay Keys, you are always loved and missed. See Billy Jays memorial picture site.