Partial Account of My Stay at the Seagrape Beach Club in d.r.

by Michael Marzol

SeaGrape Beach Club, Northern Coast of Dominican Republic

July 12. 2005. Circa 3:04 P.M.

The ceiling fan just above and to the left of me is roaring so hard it's likely to tear itself from it's mount and sail on down and shred my legs to roast beef. This is my first concern, as I lay here on my bed in room 803 after drinking and reading on the beach for a short 2 hours.

I was set to arrive here at 1:50 in the PM yesterday. Our turboprop left San Juan as scheduled. My fellow passengers and I strolled down the jetway at 11:40 AM and down to the tarmac where a shuttle sped us off in the pouring rain to the stairway of our American Eagle Prop Plane; Flight 5092. This aircraft was a pillbox with propellers. I calmed myself with the thinking that it seemed a flight-worthy craft despite its 1950's design. Besides, I was too damn tired and wired to focus on the possibility that this prop plane might fail in mid flight and speed me into the Caribbean Sea due purely to neglect in maintenance. I, in fact, fantasized about a high altitude (16,000 ft.) engine failure. I had a window seat just behind the aft side engine, I could see the flames erupt and sweep down the fuselage engulfing us in a sick orange globe of fire. That's when the stewardess offered me a bag of Cheetos. I took the fucking thing knowing straight well I wouldn't have even the slightest bit of time to enjoy even one bite before we would be sliced in half by some radar-less oncoming smuggler plane. We were too low man! Only rogues, drug crazed airmen, and smugglers dare to pilot an aircraft this low in the stratosphere!

We bank left and pull a 180 one half hour into the flight. What the fuck! Something's wrong!

The pilot comes in low and broken through the squawk box, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected a malfunction in one of the gauges, flight maintenance has requested that we turn back to San Juan to investigate. We are sorry for any inconvenience".

Fuck! I'm wrung and spent. I'm a tight ball of living nerves.

Ok, no big deal. We make it back intact, no fatalities.

One and a half hours later we are back on the repaired airplane.

Towards Puerto Plata, we fly for 1 and a half-hours and land. The cab ride, oh the cab ride. 15 minutes of sheer torture. Now, I'm the type of guy who enjoys winding it up and weaving in and out of traffic like a crazed wing nut, I'm used to it on paved roads though, with discernable painted lanes. This was sheer insanity. The brown man behind the wheel was on his cell phone while dodging hundreds of oncoming 550 Yamahas going 40 to 50 MPH, potholes that filled the unpainted road like a thousand meteors had hit the night before, big badly maintained diesel burning banana trucks. I was dead before I got settled in, I thought.

Forward to my first impression of the SeaGrape Beach Club.

If you are a fan of hot water, toilet paper, regular electricity and a normal amount of ice in your drinks, you have fucked yourself if you stay at the SeaGrape. The room seemed decent enough as the bell guy opened the door to my room while carrying my bags. We fumbled about a tip and my not having any for him seeing as how I spent my last $35 American Dollars on the short mad cab ride from the airport, the first blatant Dominican rip-off. I lay my stuff out in the classic fashion of a man ready for any possible quick escape: only the necessities out of the suitcase and boots by the bedside. It is very important to be prepared for unexpected flight. I jump in the shower, no hot water, I get out, no towels; I then look around the bathroom and to my horror"no toilet paper or even a bar of soap. So I decide to do what any self-respecting hygienic man would do in such a position, call the front desk. No fucking phone. My first impression: I have placed myself in the third-world hands of diabolic sadists.

July 13. 2005 Madness and Possible Decapitation in Hell

I'm in trouble and worse yet, I'm bored. There are hired killers outside my door ready to take me into the surrounding trees and take my hands for torture.

I was in a bad state last night right around 1 a.m. The accounts vary but the consensus is that I went insane on too much local whiskey, no doubt brewed with contaminated local waters. I'm told that, after a healthy political conversation with the staff, I went mad with a whiskey fever. I tossed glasses while screaming obscenities in every language I know and a few I have no clue of, I tossed tables around like Frisbees and railed for justice. I am not proud of the way".no, I am, I am proud of it. However, if I'm guilty of these things".I regret not a one of them.

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