We've just decided not to play a round of mini-golf based on the fact that they were blasting out such loud music on the course, that we all started to panic. It comes to something when an outdoor event (which isn't a music concert) can potentially trigger tinnitus! Sadly, that's the way of things here. One spends most of one's stay trying to avoid pointless, mindless, insipid European music. This Dominican Republic prides itself on its fine musical traditions, yet the Hard Rock complex is pumping "No Limits" through its rose bushes!
Most readers, well my brother I'm sure for one, will be wondering why we're staying in the complex and not venturing out into the real Dominican Republic. The complex is absolutely enormous, and is only linked to the rest of the island by a 2-mile road, which deposits its guests on a motorway which heads straight to the airport. This part of the island is geared towards package tours, and is filled with nothing but huge resorts. There are no towns within a 50km radius, and nothing to visit other than other hotels and golf courses. We're also here to work...
We actually did our first gig this morning - and when I say this morning, I mean almost yesterday. We were up before dawn, introducing conference delegates to the joys of Boom-whackers; those brightly-coloured plastic tubes which sound a note when struck across the palm. In a fifteen minute session we, the good folk of Creative Team Events, taught 1,500 people how to play their individually pitched boom-whackers. Like a giant rainbow-coloured orchestra, we were. I'm pretty sure we were a major hit. There was lots of cheering at the end of our session, and delegates were allowed to take their boom-whackers home as a souvenir, a gesture which was very well-received, judging by the number of people we saw afterwards carrying theirs around.
My ears continue to give me problems. As soon as I'm back in Highgate, I'm going to need to take myself in for syringing as I'm grossing everyone out with the amount of waxy gunk which I'm pulling out of my ears on tissues and things, and freaking myself out by being half deaf!
After the gig, and a couple of hours by the pool, we went back indoors to rehearse tomorrow's gig, before heading to the beach. I'm a little burnt, I think. That, or an hour being buffeted by enormous waves, has pummelled a layer of skin from my arms. Body surfing is enormous fun but some waves have the capacity to make you feel like nothing but a rag doll. The one which sent me limping back to the beach carried me on its crest in an almost upright position for a few seconds before dragging me into a rolling foamy death spiral!
I was reminded of a trip to Crete with Fiona where I got trapped in a cycle of stormy waves which I didn't have the strength to fight. I could feel myself being dragged further and further out to sea and imagined needing to be rescued somewhere north of Egypt. Eventually the waves subsided and I opened my eyes to realise with horror that I'd been rolling around like a terrified freak in shallow water no more than a metre from the shore, and that all I'd actually needed to do to get myself out of peril was stand up!
Fiona was sitting on the beach at the time, and I went running back to her, feeling all shaken; "I just spent the last five minutes thinking I was in a rip-tide being dragged out to sea," I gasped. "Oh," she said, laughing, "I wondered what you were doing! I was about to come and chat to you!"
We've come back to our hotel room for a little peace and quiet but, unfortunately, the entire complex is now throbbing to the soundtrack of some kind of dance spectacular, which is going on a good 500 meters away, but, you know, why keep the music down? If you stay at the Hard Rock Hotel, it stands to reason you're going to love insanely loud moosik! I wonder how late this is going to go into the night. It rather feels like we're in the chill-out room at Heaven!