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Dominican Christmas

I spent Christmas of '93 on a motorcycle. Rich and I rode the Dominican Republic's coastal route from the boat in Puerto Plata to Cabrera and back. I remember it all in singular images now. Blurred scenes of roadside tables below palms with whole cooked hogs laid out. Hog for sale. Pickup truckloads of people headed somewhere, a dozen white chickens tied together by their necks draped like laundry over the tailgate. Miles of painfully beautiful, empty surf beaches. The surf shop in Cabarete. More grass huts, the blue-pool resort on the high cliff, stacks of machete-peeled oranges, the heat at 60 mph. The closed metal gates to Haiti are in the middle of nowhere. All have guys with sawed off shotguns standing by, certainly bored. We pointed at bubbling pots and the griddle of her kitchen stove and the woman served us in paper bowls. A barefoot boy showed us his buried cache of ancient pottery before we turned below streaked limestone walls. The last Punch burned down short in Lauderdale as our dirty ship awaited re-entry.


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