The first excursion I signed up for was a ‘Caliente Night’ with Go Travel Direct. As you can imagine, this night was supposed to be hot and spicy. So what exactly is Caliente Night you ask? Well, simply put, it was a pub crawl of northern Dominican. We were set to hop on a converted school bus, and tour around for the night. This bus was no normal bus though. It had a thatched roof, and.. wait for it… a bar at the front! Yup, the Go Travel reps would be serving us from the free-flowing rum onboard. To start, we were heading to Puerto Plata to view the sunset at an old prison. From there, supper in a typical restaurant. Then, the bar hopping began. We would stop at a road-side disco at one point. Next, we were heading East towards Sosua, and ultimately ending up at Cabarete. These are surf towns. Cabarete has the distinction of being the site of the Kite surfing world championships. Neat-o. So, just how did the night shape up? Well, read on, dear friends.
First off was hopping on a mini-van to pick up a few people from our area resorts. After that, driving to our awaiting bus. Before even getting there, I had met a couple more guys from our resort. A group of 3 guys from Montreal who were down for a week of fun and scuba diving on their own. That was good news for me, as it meant a few more people to hang out with. I now had a core group of people to hang out with. Funny thing is that they were all from Montreal. That meant I got to spend my week speaking french in the Dominican. Oh well. What is it with the french people in Canada always going travelling. They really seem to love the resorts.
Anyway, back to the bus. As is my style, I immediately set about showing everyone that I’m the king of pub crawls in converted school buses. I had barely gotten to the bus that I climbed on board and got Gwen to serve me up a tasty rum and coke. I could tell it might be dangerous night, so I made a vow to myself not to have too many of those before we ate, which was still a couple hours away. Once everyone was on board, we rolled on down the road towards Puerto Plata. This was my first view of the roads heading west from our resort. I soon decided I didn’t want to go biking that way. The traffic was pretty intense over there. There were tons of motorbikes, scooters, cars, trucks and people. Heading east was fine, but west, un-unh. Anyway, back to the fun bus.
We got to the sunset spot, and were rewarded with some great vistas. The ocean was crashing on the rocks along the shoreline. There were locals milling about, and there were children playing. Oh, that and there was a sun to watch 😉 We had about a half hour to wander around the site and take it all in. I took plenty of pictures there. It was a great way to start off the night. I even managed to catch some good pictures of the sunset itself. I took pictures of the old prison with some kids in front of it, after which they rushed me asking for money since I took their picture. Really. And they were only like 10 or 12 years old. I didn’t really have any change, so I had to just sort of brush them off. Oops.
From there, we headed out to our supper in a typical restaurant. It was a buffet-type meal, but in truth, it was nowhere near as complete as the resort buffet. However, it was nice nonetheless. There was one redeeming grace to this little place. The monkey! Yeah, you read correctly. Just beside the restaurant was a cage with pretty heavy-duty wiring on it. The sign read “Touch the monkey at your own risk”. Below that, another sign “Don’t touch the monkey”. What’s this, a monkey? As you might imagine, I had to see the monkey. As luck would have it, this one wasn’t all that friendly, and as soon as I hung around a little bit, the crazy-looking monkey rushed the cage where I was standing! And yes, I got a good picture of that as well!
From the restaurant, we headed out to a local discotheque. Of course, it was only 8pm, so there really wasn’t much of a crowd yet. That didn’t stop us from taking over anyway. We brought a little terrible dancing to the floor, just to impress the locals. They weren’t! I particularly liked the sign that you couldn’t take firearms into the disco, or guns. Yup, sign of the times around there. The dance floor was getting really hot, so I convinced them to turn the fans on (and some laser lights for fun 😉
All told we probably only spent about 45 minutes there. After that, we hit the bus for a longer drive to Sosua. Sadly, by then, I’d had ample opportunity to sample the Brugal on the bus. Things were definitely starting to get fun. The bus was getting much more energetic. We put on the party lights, and the music was jumping! Luckily, our next stop would be a karaoke bar, or so I was told.
True to their word, we ended up at another little bar, which I think was in Sosua, and it indeed had a karaoke guy running the place that night. Yours truly sang out a little rendition of “Hard to Handle”, one of my preferred karaoke tunes. It seemed to go over pretty well, and someone bought me a tasty drink afterwards. I reprised with “Superstitious”, which was a little tougher to pull off. We stayed there for about an hour. My favourite line from that place was when the Go Travel reps told us that no matter what the locals would try to tell us, we really shouldn’t buy any of the drugs they offered. That’s exactly what happened at the doorway while I was standing there. Some guy came up and offered me all sorts of drogas. Luckily, I knew better than to accept anything. Thank goodness we were coached by the reps! Seriously, did they really think I’d buy something? Anyway, it was funny. On to the next bar.
Okay, I have to be honest. Things got a little fuzzy from there on! In a blur and a number of different bars, I know that we got from Sosua to Cabarete, at various bars, but the order is unclear to me! I do recall at one point I was in the water! I think it was at Cabarete, and the bar was right on the beach, and I decided I’d wade out into the water and take a few pictures. Craziness. The reps were pretty good about herding us around, and showing us the good spots. We actually had like 5 or 6 of the reps with us, so the rep to partier ratio was pretty good. They managed to get us all home safe and sound. After getting back to the Blue Bay, I tagged on with the Montreal guys, and we headed down to the beach bar for a final drink and snacks I think. I’m pretty sure I turned in around 3:30am! It was a great time to be sure, and I was glad that I chose to go on the night out. I got to see things in the Dominican that I definitely wouldn’t have seen had I just stuck to the resort and/or only gone out during the days. I’d recommend it to anyone heading down there. The Go Travel reps made the night great!