The trouble with Hard Rock's version of paradise is that it involves music... almost constant music. Every bar, every cafe, every single corner of the complex which has been set up for R and R has music piped into it. There are even Bose speakers in the bushes, so as you walk around the complex, you get little blasts of music... And it's not good music. Not by any standard. This isn't the music of rock legends. It's people like Avril Levigne if you're lucky, and if you're not, it's some ghastly techno track, which repeats the same single phrase over and over again.
I actually want to listen to the minor birds, and the bees, and hear the crashing of the waves, but there's even a stage set up on the beach. For a musician, particularly one who wants to sit under a tree and write whilst the trade winds blow, it's a form of torture...
Perhaps as a result of all this, my subconscious has awarded me with deafness! I think it's something to do with the amount of water I've been jumping into since getting here. I obviously have too much wax in my ears at the moment, and water has managed to lodge itself behind a big old blob of it. Not the best situation for someone who has to sing in two days, but there's no way I'm going to pay out to see a doctor here. The last time this happened, I was in Florida, and it cost the best part of £200 to sort it out.
Judging by the majority of staff here at the hotel, I'd say that Dominicans are a rather short race. They also seem to be a race of people who adore children. Lisa's little bab, Rosie, is here with us and is getting a huge amount of attention, particularly from the Dominican men who will regularly rush over and tickle her, sing to her and generally make her the centre of attention. How refreshing to visit a place where men aren't scared to be affectionate towards children. I realised today what a profoundly messed-up society Britain is in this respect. One of the girls we were with today said she saw man in a wheelchair giving out chocolate coins for charity at King's Cross station just before Christmas, and that mothers with children were going out of their way to avoid a situation where their child could be seen to be taking sweets from a stranger. What are we breeding? A society of children who don't trust adults? A society of children who don't understand that physical contact doesn't always need to be a prelude to sexual activity? It's shocking, it really is. We arrogantly think we've got everything sewn up in the UK - that we properly understand human rights - and yet, we don't seem to fully understand the meaning of love!
The astonishing thing about this hotel is how much food there seems to be everywhere. A buffet here, a little corporate pile of pastries there. Everything is free. You walk into a restaurant, ask for as much or as little as you like, chow down and then leave! The buffet restaurants are the most extraordinary, with plates of everything you can think of and many things you can't. I'm currently looking at a ham sculptured to look like a rose. Stomach-churning!
It pisses it down here just once a day, either first thing in the morning or just after sunset. Usually first thing in the morning. I'm sad to say I've always either been asleep when it's happened, or in rehearsals. I'm disappointed as the storms are meant to be quite extraordinary. What I have experienced, however, is the phenomenal humidity which descends around the time of the rain. One can barely breathe! I've experienced nothing of the sort before, although I'm told what we've had here is not a patch on what happens in the Far East.
This evening, at the height of the humidity, we were taken through the complex on a golf buggy. I was hanging off the back, and we were going at quite a speed through the walkways and mini-roads, past the casino, the theatre, the palm trees, the mini golf, the pools and bars, all lit up with twinkly lights, the air blowing through our hair. It was like a roller coaster ride without the safety belts. Astounding!