Beach life wherever you are in the world can take on a different meaning. In Canada, it’s relatively quiet and serene. The smell of pine trees in the air and the freshwater breeze is peaceful and soothing. There is only the sound of splashing and children’s laughter. Family picnics and a little bit of fishing up the shoreline (if you are responsible fisherman, hooks and beach don’t mix).
There are no pets allowed on beaches. No drinking on public property. Noise bylaws keep the music at minimum. Noise is not part of the Canadian culture. Music is listened to, but is not “lived.” This is in sharp contrast to the Dominican Republic. The land where it seems anything goes!
I love the energy of freedom of DR beaches. Walking along, music plays loudly from picnicking cars, bars, or cafes. Depending on what beach you are at, you can walk for miles and miles. White sands, light sands, dark sands or stones, the country differs from region to region. The common ground … people. Whether you are a tourist or a local, the beaches of DR are inviting. Weekends see them jam packed with activity. If you want action or tranquility, you can find it here. Not all beaches are created equal. When it comes to beach-combing, some yield better results than others. Shells, driftwood, sand crabs that scurry back to their holes are some of the finds.
Tropical storms and hurricanes leave a lot of devastation in their wake. Beaches get torn up and litter is everywhere. Part of that litter is uprooted palm trees that wash up. These are a hazard to the coastline through erosion from the waves. It is common to see men in their skivvies removing these trees to keep the beach intact. All this is done manually with an axe. The driftwood is chopped up and piled up on dry ground and set ablaze. It’s wonderful to see these men hard at work.
A few years ago, I came across these two delightful children. They were happily playing in the water, parents somewhere on shore. The were encouraging me to join them in their play. I declined as I had my camera at hand. The were extremely thrilled to have their photos taken. In the water, out of the water, in and out repeatedly to view their snapshots. I only kept the one picture and reminded them to make sure it was ok with their parents. Their friendliness, optimism and lack of fear of strangers touched me. Now, I am very approachable but it struck me that in Canada, this would never have happened. There are many friendly individuals. In this country it is very much like the Canada of the 1950’s. The men are full of compliments and very flirtatious. Does a girl’s ego good! If I took every one of them seriously, I’ld have to double up dates … lolz.
And I love, Love, LOVE walking the beach and watching the fisherman. Some on land and some in boats do their business from the early morning into the heat of the day. Whether they are dip-netting from the shore or tossing their nets from the boat, their grace is mesmerizing.
There’s always a piece of a driftwood palm tree for me to perch myself on to reflect on what is before me. Peaceful still waters sooth my spirit as I see them hurl their nets like a cowboy with a lasso. I am so amazed at their fitness, lean, sinewy, they stand in their heavy wooden boats un-wavered by the motion. Years of hard work and practice show on them. Weathered faces peer at me on the shore and a toothless smile appears. A wide wave of the arm, and it’s back to work.
Not all is roses at the beach. Like anywhere else you do have to watch for predators. The do come in all shapes, sizes and ages. I am suspicious by nature and if I see someone admiring my Ray Bans a little too closely, they do not stay on top of my head. They go in my hands. Be “street” smart. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or carry expensive equipment if you are walking alone. This is a very poor country and temptation has it’s price.
So flippies in hand, I’m off to explore … maybe, a good spot to snorkel is around the next corner!
Listen to the palms…
© Loca Gringa and https://locagringa.wordpress.com