Gifts From Afar

It was just before Christmas, and for some reason I thought the fishing would be good in the Dominican Republic during that time of the year. I had no information to that effect, but a friend, who does not fish, spoke favorably of DR (that's how many refer to the country). The tarpon had left Florida, and I thought they might be there; at least it would be warm. I had the name of my friend's friend who runs a dive shop on the north coast. I was not planning to dive, but the fellow was from Missouri, where I live now. He even agreed to meet my evening flight. The plane was late, of course, causing him to wait a couple of hours outside customs. Adding to his wait was our wait for my tube of rods that I had mistakenly checked. They did not arrive for several days.

We left the Puerta Plata Airport and drove to nearby Sosua, where he had fixed me up with a hotel room. The hotel seemed mostly empty, but I was told that, after January 1, it is packed. Still, there were a lot of tourists in town, nearly all from Europe—mainly Germany. I think most were plant workers on cheap one- or two-week all-inclusive "packages." Pearly in the morning after my arrival, I noticed the Germans were already drinking at the open-air bars. After I walked the few blocks to the dive shop and visited for a while, I returned to find that one of the Germans had another down in the street, banging his head against the stone pavement. Everyone...

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