We just did it in reverse of getting in.
Michael held my legs and the bartender bent down and grabbed me under my arms and pulled me straight out and into my chair. The drying off would be done by the heat and sun. There were cabanas down there facing the ocean. I could at least see it and feel the breeze.
The sand was way to thick and powdery for the wheelchair to go through and I would have had an easier time walking on water than on that beach.
So, there we sat at the cabanas and as best I remember, promptly fell asleep.
We discovered the outdoor showers at the pool were wide and easily accessible so we brought shampoo and I showered there, propped up by Michael for the rest of the week.
Every meal was a challenge because the restaurants didn’t have ramps.
Lots and lots of stairs.
Michael would wait to catch the eye of a nice looking server or busboy and ask him to help lift me, grabbing one side of my chair while the startled worker would grab and lift the other side.
I could have easily felt like Cleopatra in her ancient litter if it weren’t for the stares of children and their parents; the huge fuzzy socks and hands that couldn’t wave to a crowd or adjust a crown.
I slumped and tried to become invisible.
Our butler, Juan, who was assigned to our room could not have been nicer or cuter or more compassionate.
We asked him about shopping in the village we had passed on our way in.
It was walking distance and safe.
The thought of one more day trying to navigate the resort and the pool was too much.
I decided we needed an adventure and fun!
Never try leaving a five star resort in a third world country in a wheelchair.
Juan was nice enough to chaperone us after his work day ended.
We’d still be there if he hadn’t.
The roads were full of potholes and gravel. Trucks and motorcycles whizzing by at alarming speeds with a surprising number of people hanging on.
We saw motorcycles carrying five and six people.
We saw one carrying a washing machine. Seriously.
There seemed to be no defined traffic laws and no stop signs or lights.
Just pandemonium and Michael pushing me in the chair trying not to jostle me out into any one of the crater size holes.
When we reached a sidewalk and a few of the shops, I had real hope.
We were able to find a few gifts and a few of the shops had wide enough isles I could go up and down and see everything.
But mostly they were small, un air conditioned and I was losing interest fast.
It was just too hot and I was melting.
I couldn’t smile or talk on the way back.
I couldn’t cry either, too dehydrated, I think.
But, I just couldn’t figure out why everything was just so hard and I was so weak.
Juan being the adorable butler he was, offered to take us into his town on his day off to shop there. His brother- in- law had a van, his wife could come too. Terrific!
The night before we went, Michael decided to drink, a lot!
It started at the pool that afternoon and then a beer or two in our room getting ready for dinner. We were scheduled for the Japanese Steakhouse and when we got there he ordered a Jack and Coke, “really?” I ask.
Seated for dinner he ordered a Ching Dow beer, then another. “Really?” I ask again.
On our long walk back to our room it’s still early and we pass the main bar, many stairs away.
He wants to get a night cap, comes back with rum. I say nothing.
The next morning, bright and early, I’m awake.
Excited to see a big city, to meet Juan’s wife and to be in an air conditioned van, and of course to shop.
I had made my list out and planned to knock out all of my Christmas presents by noon if lucky.
Michael just moaned a little when I mentioned breakfast.
Not much more of a response when I mentioned getting dressed.
I got a whiff when he rolled over and sensed the problem, he was either still drunk or very, very hungover.
Either way, he stunk.
The whole fiasco of trying out another pony tail was not an option.
It’s backward for me to tell him how in the mirror and he’s left handed so my hair staid down.
Thick, long and hot.
We got dressed and made our way to the front of the resort where the van driven by Juan’s brother- in- law would be waiting.
We had to leave the property before Juan could get in so we picked him up outside the gates.
Michael was sitting up front and it was obvious immediately to Juan he was ill.
We picked up Juan’s wife at the resort where she worked and off we went.
And went. And went.
We passed nothing in the way of business or towns.
We passed a lot of houses that had a small table out front with a plastic jug on top.
It was gasoline. There was a bowl next to it to put your money. Wow.
When we entered the city over an hour later it was chaos. The vendors were all out roadside with meat or vegetables piled high. The roads are mostly dirt.
The chickens roamed wild along with the goats and small children.
The manic motorcycles were everywhere in every direction.
Michael was miserable.
I saw piles of clothes spilling out of a store front and asked about it.
They were American donations sent to Haiti after the earthquake that were sold to the Dominican Republic. Is everyone corrupt everywhere?
I was intent on finding some Larimar stones.
You can only get them in the Dominican Republic and they are gorgeous and I’d thought they’d be cheaper than at the resort.
I’d be wrong, again.
Since sidewalks were nonexistent and the traffic too dangerous to navigate in the wheelchair I decided to wait in the van and let the others fan out and try to find the stones I wanted.
All agreed and Michael wanting fresh air and a non moving car, he left with my hopes and desires of this crazy beautiful, blue stone.
Problem was no one told Juan’s brother- in -law to stay with me and soon after they all got out. He said something to me in Spanish and he got out, and took the keys.
OMG! OMG! OMG!
I was locked in a van I could not get out of and it was getting hotter by the second.
The windows are rolled up and even if I could get someone’s attention, I couldn’t tell them how to help me.
I had no idea where anybody had gone or how far away.
I had nothing to drink.
The sweat started to roll down my neck, then down my back.
I could feel my face flush and the panic start to rise.
I felt like a goldfish in an empty bowl.
By the time they all returned, at the same time, Michael looked in and panicked.
I couldn’t reach for him.
I couldn’t lift my arms.
He started the van right away and the A/C vents were all turned to me.
I felt like jello.
I felt sad.
I saw the look on Michaels’ face and I felt too overwhelmed to cry.