A Travellerspoint blog

Castle life

adventures around Cabarete

sunny 30 °C

The last month has gone by in yet another blur of adventures, craziness, bachata nights, and good friends. I am loving life where I am here in Cabarete, and the castle really has become like a new home to me. Only natural for the Mexican television star; princesa de Nueva Sandalia to live in a castle I suppose! The people here are amazing and everyone seems to be up for all sorts of crazy adventures – including some really good nights out dancing. One night we even piled 16 in a car to head up to the end of back street to get to the main road!
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One day a group of us headed out paddle boarding.
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Sadly, the wind picked up half way through so we all battled to get up on our boards and row our way around the beach, fun to try though!
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Another day, I went along to the work place of Juan Carlos; a local friend of mine. His job is to take care of the National Park of Cabarete. We had to wear life jackets and hard helmets to go into some of the caves, and it was really refreshing to jump into cool, fresh water to wash the sticky Caribbean heat away.
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He took me through abandoned parts of the park, where it used to be full of tourists and adventure seekers, long before the resorts of Punta Cana and Bavaro refined their guests within the walls - heart breaking to see the effects of such blatant racism and capitalism reach as far as the north coast of the island. However, we had it all to ourselves, and we wandered around and swam in all sorts of different swimming holes.
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At one point, we had to go through a tiny trap door and into a series of underground tunnels, steep stairs, and narrow corridors to reach a beautiful fresh water cave 25 metres underground! We swam down there for ages, it was so scary to be in complete darkness and I was extremely grateful for our flashlights!
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Another day, Juan Carlos took me back to his work, this time to another part. We went out punting on the lagoon with a friend of his and a nice big bottle of rum. It was pretty interesting to see the lagoon behind the hostel – the same one that had been on fire and caused the castle plague!
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We swam out in the middle of the lagoon and I tried to steer at one point. Let’s just say I wasn’t given a job!
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Another day I met a friend in Puerto Plata City and we went to one of the carnival celebrations. The costumes were intense, so well designed and planned. Each one represents a different part of the Dominican Republic, and their dance competitions were well choreographed.
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I was allowed to use the machete to cut up my own sugar cane. It was too sweet to eat too much and was super hard on my teeth - but delicious!
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I was still suffering the effects of the smoke from the fire so I didn’t stay for too long. Especially once the whipping started. The whipping? Yes. The whipping. They use these rugby ball shaped balls on strings to whip each other and chase each other around with. The balls are not at all soft, and people have actually now been banned from hitting anywhere other than the butt due to so many serious injuries – including stitches, dislocations, and even blindness! Every hit that got me hurt and stung so bad, and as the Carnaval celebrations got later towards the evening the men became more and more macho, the whipping became more intense, the people got drunker, and I just felt like it was time to leave and head back to the castle.
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The days back at the castle have included trampoline dive bombs, pool volleyball, beach adventures, and trips to the city to buy cheap necessities. Even a new hair cut for me …
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Posted by chasingsummer 16:36 Archived in Dominican Republic

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