Life's More Real is in the Dominican Republic for the next month, where surprisingly life is LESS real than anywhere I've ever been. The whole island seems to suffer from all-inclusiveitis. Here in Bavaro, recommend by Lonely Planet as having some of the best beaches in the whole country, those beaches have been replaced by row after row of beach chairs belonging to the different resorts as far as the eye can see.
Each resort caters to a different crowd, political and cultural boundries maintained by a ropes running from hotel to sea. Here Americans, with their trademark love handles. There blondish people speaking a guttural German sounding tongue. Further on topless women indentify the Spanish, French, and Italians and so on and so on. All wear different colored arm bands, like those you get at the fair, to keep theirs in and others out.
The only thing left out is nature. We were forced to hunt for the no man's land between the resorts. We finally found a nice little stretch of beach where no one cared what armband we had on. A tropical Switzerland.
The tourist industry here is in overdrive. Stores selling painting and little wood figures are everywhere. Everyone is friendly, but so for all the wrong reasons. It's impossible to go 10 minutes without someone trying to shepard you into his store, cooing comforting words. "I give you the best price," "What do you want to buy today?" or my favorite "I got what you need." Really? Oh, male and female salt and pepper shakers in erotic poses. Thanks, but not today.
The restaurants? Serving overpriced, poorly done American selections. I'm hoping I'm in the wrong part of the country. We're leaving tomorrow for the North coast and what we hope will be a more authentic slice of Dominican life.