Back in the early 2000’s I belonged to a Yahoo group comprised of wanna-be writers. Each week we did a new exercise or contest to hone our craft. One week the plan was to disobey the old proverb, “Write what you know,” and do the opposite: write about something we knew nothing or little about. Pick a TV show you’ve never seen, they said, and write about it.
I’m not sure what the reason for this was, except that it’s fun to turn things on their head.
I picked The West Wing. Like a school kid who didn’t read the book before an oral report, I fumbled through it. “It’s about the White House…I guess…um…and people that work there…probably.” The fact that I still remember it made it all worthwhile, I suppose.
On the same note, I’m going to visit a country I’ve never been to and know very little about: the Dominican Republic. I’m such a newbie that I’m not even sure whether to put a “the” before it.
Here’s what I do know about the Dominican Republic.
David Ortiz, aka ‘Big Papi’ of the Boston Red Sox, hails from there.
It’s roughly the same neighborhood as Cuba, Haiti and Puerto Rico.
Big Papi got his nickname from a Boston sportscaster, who noticed that Ortiz called everyone he didn’t know “Papi”. He’s 6’3” by the way.
The plane trip is just under four hours from Boston.
Ortiz was a Minnesota Twin before coming to the Red Sox. His number, 34, was retired when he did, last year.
Chris Columbus may have stopped there a time or two. Or three.
Big Papi’s Kitchen Home Plate Shaped Tortilla Chips are pretty awesome.
So there you have it. Travel agents have a pet peeve about people who pop into their offices on a frigid winter day, and announce, “I want to go someplace warm!” (Gee, thanks buddy, that really narrows it down.)
I wanted to go someplace warm.
My sister was a big help. We sat down together before her massive computer monitor to plan a trip for me and my girlfriend Ivone. It had been a long (if not especially cold) winter and we needed a getaway.
We checked out a few places, ‘all-inclusive’ being the common factor. Some had meal prices that were sky high. But not the Dominican Republic. Only 30 dollars a day; not bad. I liked the idea of ordering a gin and tonic at 10:00 in the morning, even though I probably wouldn’t.
So we’re going. Soon. I hope to fill in the gaps in my Dominican knowledge and write more about our travels to this exotic, mysterious land. Palm trees, beaches, sun, and pools are in our future. Maybe I’ll bring you back a T-shirt.