Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
 
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam

Catelina Island
photo by Rhonda Spivak


Tuscan village Altos de Chavon. Editor in Serong with Dominicans dressed in carnival costumes


Port of Romana
photo by Rhonda Spivak



 
THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHANUKAH: MY TRIP TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

by Rhonda Spivak, December 27, 2011

I decided to venture outside the comforts of my all inclusive Iberostar Punta Cana Hotel today and tour the idyllic tropical Catelina Island, a day trip booked through the hotel. No one actually lives on the island except a bunch of coconut trees. How could I resist the glistening clear green Caribbean waters and the long stretches of powdery white sand?
 
Only minutes after arriving by boat, I placed my backpack on a beach cot, removing my camera and purse.  My group was one of the first to arrive on the island and the few people on the beach were Dominicans who ran the concession stand. I waded into the water, admiring the beauty of the place and noticed that another tourist left his shirt and towel on the cot next to mine. The next time I looked at the beach, I noticed that my backpack had disappeared. Of course, no one on the beach noticed the thief in action. Lucky guy; the thief made away with raggedy shorts, a sweaty t- shirt, worn cotton underwear, custom-made orthotics (which fit only my running shoes), and an undersized hotel towel. Serves him right!
 
 I found the theft of my meagre possessions very inconvenient. It was only 10 in the morning and I faced the prospect of wearing my bathing suit until 8 that evening, when the day trip ended. Just me and my bathing suit. As the sun beat down on my back, I went to grab my suntan lotion. Hmmm- it was in my backpack. There was only about half a bottle left and I hoped the thief needed sun protection. I kept hoping that the thief would return my clothing so I wouldn't be the only one on the tour in a bathing suit all day.
 
Worse than that was the fact that I couldn’t even go swimming because I didn't trust anyone to watch my purse or camera. No snorkelling to see the tropical fish, no banana boat ride. The only thing of interest I managed to photograph was a run-of-the-mill lizard. As I continued to bake in the sun, I wandered over to the single (souvenir) shop on Catelina Island. It dawned on me that the owner and his assistants would have a motive for snagging tourists' clothes--so they would need to buy ones at his shop! He had the market cornered. After that thought I didn't feel like buying anything from him, in the event I was rewarding thievery. But I did need some new clothing or an accessory to get me through the day. Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, I tried to figure out the least expensive way to clothe myself for the day.
 
With my keen fashion sense and 10 US dollars, I bought a blue sarong with Dominican Republic printed on it. I thought it was the most versatile addition to my extremely limited wardrobe. Throughout the day, I could reconfigure it, so that others in my group would hardly realize that I had no clothing. I could wear it around my waist as a skirt. It could serve as a makeshift beach towel, or pillow. I could create a neck scarf for the windy boat ride back. And as mincha /maariv approached, it could function as a prayer shall when I put it over my head (as the Kohanim do for High Holidays), or hijab. As the day progressed, I realized I could write a Dominican Republic version of the award winning children's story Something from Nothing.
 
Once suitably attired, I relaxed and the rest of the tour was great. I saw the port of Romana, a Tuscany styled village built by an American millionaire, the church in which Michael Jackson was married, as well as the delights of a regular tropical island. The Tuscan village and church were rather upscale, and I did feel slightly underdressed in my bathing suit--especially when the wind started to make my sarong flap around. The one boutique I entered was selling purses bought by a European princess (maybe Polish) visiting the Dominican, but I passed it over. It didn’t match the design on my sarong!
 
At the final stop in the early evening, I noticed two 8 year old Dominican boys blowing kisses at me. Why me, I wondered? Possibly because I was the only one wearing a bathing suit. Possibly the very stylish and functional sarong. Given my fashion adventure, would I recommend sightseeing daytrips in the Dominican Republic? Definitely. Just make sure to pack light!
 
P.S. I could go on and on about the daytrip, but I have to make arrangements for a new pair of orthotics; my feet are covered with blisters from wearing my shoes without them.
 
 
 
<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • Fillmore Riley
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • Winter's Collision Repair
  • Gray Academy
  • Coughlin Insurance
  • Joyce Rykiss
  • CHW
  • Cantor's Meats
  • JCFS
  • Esther and Sid Halpern Shana Tovah
  • GTP
  • Jim Muir
  • Booke & Partners
  • Sobey's
  • Commercial Pool
  • CDN Visa
  • Jack & Debbie Lipkin
  • Daniel Friedman and Rob Dalgliesh
  • Rady JCC
  • The Bob Silver Family
  • Carol and Barry McArton
  • Shindico
  • D'Arcy & Deacon LLP
  • Shinewald Family
  • Piston Ring
  • Bruce Shefrin
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • Fair Service
  • Eddie's Gravel Supply Ltd.
  • John Bucklaschuk
  • Tyler Bucklaschuk
  • Kromar Printing
  • Daien Denture Clinic
  • Bob & Shirley Freeman
  • Protexia
  • Ixtapa Travel
  • Superlite
  • Brent Schacter Sora Ludwig
  • Dr Ted and Harriet Lyons
  • Amalgamated Drywall Systems Ltd.
  • Josef Ryan
  • Munroe Dental Centre
  • Chisick Family
  • Broadway Law Group
  • Laufman Reprographics
  • Dakota Chiropractic Office
  • Maric Homes
  • Artista Homes
  • Southwynn Homes
  • Tradesman Mechanical
  • Imperial Soap
  • Winnipeg Drapery
  • JCFS
  • Western Scrap Metals Inc.
  • Taverna Rodos
  • Jim Gauthier
  • Capital Grill
  • CVA Systems
  • Stella's
  • Chochy's
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Dr. Gary Levine
  • Fetching Style
  • Lazar Family
  • Dr. Marshall Stitz
  • Michel and Danita Aziza and family
  • Ronald B. Zimmerman
  • Dimensions Insurance
  • HUB
  • Doheny Securities Limited
  • Orthodox Union
  • Allan Davies
  • City Sheet Metal
  • John Orlikow
  • Ross Eadie
  • Ambassador Mechanical
  • Winnipeg Prophecy Conference
  • Thorvaldson Care
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Total Lighting Sales
  • Miller's Super Valu Meats
  • Pitblado
  • Cavalier Candies
  • Erickson Motors
  • Canadian Magen David Adom
  • Bridges for Peace
  • Elaine and Bernie Lofchick & family
  • Cascade Financial Group
  • Sorrento's
  • Canadian Friends of Boys Town Jerusalem
  • East India Company
  • Nikos
  • Sean Fisher
  • Sarel Canada
  • Santa Lucia Pizza
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.