a trip to the dominican republic: ukulele bridezilla zombies and no peanuts


What do beautiful beaches, cliché wedding music and twelve dollar peanuts have in common?

While I usually travel with adventure and exploration in mind, my travel buddy and I decided that this holiday we would forego climbing mountains, scaling ruins, and diving below sixty feet in exchange for a relaxing drink-beach-rinse-repeat kind of holiday. We made our way to Punta Cana, to an [he says embarrassingly] all inclusive resort which [he says contently] does not allow children.

Sans children our resort, the Majestic Colonial, was like a summer camp for adults, complete with activities, sporting events and shows. The beach and pools were beautiful. I have to give props to the Michael Jackson impersonator and the Cuban magician on the main stage — both pretty damn good. Aside from the wait staff, they added the only cultural diversity among an otherwise quite homogeneous [and predominantly Ontario Canadian] clientele. The weather, pool and beach were all phenomenal, and, as I have a penchant for drinks either 1) in a coconut, 2) in a pineapple or 3) with rum, I had way too many all inclusive “BananaMamas” and under the Caribbean sun turned many shades darker thanks to my Sicilian lineage. I have the speedo tan line to prove it. Message me privately for more details. One disconnect, the wifi was not very good which was surprising given all of the other service aspects of the resort [take note Majestic Colonial].

This resort, as with most resorts of its kind, was full of wedding parties off to their dream destination wedding. I don’t necessarily mock the choice, however I do mock the choice of wedding music, as having grown up in a family wedding band I know about these things. Each day a gazebo on the beach in the center of the almost naked masses sunning themselves became a bride and groom’s nuptial ground zero. Beach weddings, with all of the trappings of an episode of Bridezillas, were ubiquitous. Uncannily, most began with the horrid ukulele version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. As if the song itself was not tired enough, the ukulele added that cheap greeting card island charm, even though the Dominican Republic was not a particularly ukulele-ish island (this was not Hawaii). I suppose if it was your wedding it may have seemed special, but seeing several every day put that uniqueness into perspective for the rest of the guests at the resort. It was nothing less than a ukulele-zombie wedding factory. I wonder if there is a ukulele version of the theme to “Divorce Court” as well?

After a week under the beautiful Caribbean sun, it was sadly time to depart. I made my way to the airport, and, after spending about fifteen minutes at passport control waiting for the officer to find my entrance stamp [in all fairness I have dozens of stamps and visas cluttering each page], I made my way through to the food court, or more aptly named the “extortion food court”. Two hot dogs and a small drink at Nathans: $14.00. One plain cheeseburger [no fries or drink]: $8.00. One healthy meal: nonexistent. Uff. I opted to get a snack for the plane instead and went to a small deli kiosk that sold pre-wrapped sandwiches, drinks and snacks. I chose a very small can [less than half the size of a regular can] of peanuts. When the cashier rang me up, the total was $12.00. I did the math in my head, and given the size of the can, that was about 25 cents per every two peanuts. I again opted out, headed to the gate, and found a free electrical outlet and a Segafredo Zinetti cappuccino. Things were finally looking up.

An uncharacteristically on time Delta flight later and I was on my way back to the cold winter weather of New York, where a twelve dollar can of peanuts is cheap at Whole Foods. Maybe I should have bought them after all?