Forget the first party I was telling you about. That indeed proved to have been a modest house party. It didn’t take me a long time to discover that here, in ‘Casa de Campo’, the people embrace the saying 'the more, the better', and that definitely results in a well-to-do party scene.
We were invited to a dinner in the harbor ‘La Marina’. Here, the table setting appeared to be in fashion. I was placed next to a gentleman whose Latino name I cannot record, in any case I´ll call him "M" (I’ll just use the first letter of the peppermint candy that he produces). From the first night on, Jorien had a successful businessman from NYC under her spell. She was strategically seated between me and Jorien M. This way she would not be tempted to talk to any other men. After all, once a Latino has spot his eye on you, he will not let you go. The food was delicious, the people friendly and when someone said something inspiring or funny, it was tradition to all raise our glasses and grown the remark with a “salut” (cheers).
The party continued in the former garden of ‘M’. Although ‘garden’ clearly was an understatement (think Billy Madisons mansion). With a 500 m private beach, four garden houses, several swimming pools and fountains (yep definitely Billy Madison style). I needed to squeeze my eyes in order to prevent them from popping out my head. This was a far cry from the barn parties I would go to in the Netherlands…...
We were gracefully making our way to the 31th of December. After sleeping in every day, it was an early bird activity to hit the road at 11:00 AM. Supplied with food-gasmic snacks from Johanna and bottles of wine and champagne, we made our way to the boat. It seemed a place of pilgrimage. All kinds of yachts (big, bigger, biggest) sailed south, where, just before a Palm Beach, all boats were parked side by side. The middle boat had a DJ boot and around the boats you could take a refreshing dip in the crystal clear, sky-blue waters. We partied deep into the afternoon until there was a slither of sun on the horizon. We raised our glasses of champagne for one last time (uh well for that moment) and headed back to the port once the last glimmer of light disappeared behind the horizon.
Once back at the mansion time management was of the essence; shower, change clothes, freshen up our faces with make-up, eat and go to the beach party. Here we danced until we could no longer stand on our feet, cheered until we couldn`t lift our arms anymore and laughed until our jaws got stuck in a cramp. The sun returned for her first appearance in 2015 telling us our soft and comfy beds were calling. With a pounding head I slumped on my bed, staring at the clock on the wall; 8:30 AM. ‘Awesome, my first good intention for 2016: sleeping until January 2nd.’ That intention more or less was succeeded.
The parties were over and peace had somewhat returned here at Casa de Campo. We decided to go north for two days. Here lies one of the biggest nature reserves in the DR; a huge mountain area bordered by a mangrove forest and hundreds of small islands and caves. I was delighted we finally had something on the itinerary which matched up with the clothes I had in my backpack. Waiting in the hallway with my green shorts, sandals and binoculars I suddenly hear Jorien calling from the bedroom; 'Sanne do you think that this combination is suitable? ". There stood Jorien perfectly styled from head to toe, wrapped in a beautiful blue top with matching skirt and shiny flip flops on her feet. We looked at each other for 2 seconds and both burst out laughing. "Come Posh Spice, we going bird watching," I said. "Listen Sanne, whatever I do, I do it with style." And arm in arm we walked to the car. Diversity in life, I love it!
It was a beautiful trip by boat crossing mangrove forest, passing along islands and caves where we admired stone-age drawings.
“Sanne, we're living the dream” said Jorien while we marvel at the green hills that raise above the heavenly blue sea. I agree with her, 200%.
After a burn-out it was time for a change. I quit my job, sold my stuff and bought a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic. What was supposed to be a 4 month adventure turned into 2,5 years and counting......
Photo by: Vanessa Marques Barreto