Saturday, March 12, 2016

Chutes And Scoots

My wife and I recently returned from a vacation in the Dominican Republic. We stayed in the Puerto Plata area. The weather and the resort were lovely. We had a great time.

UNTIL I came down with a bad case of traveler's diarrhea.

This wretched affliction is know as Montezuma's Revenge to those who have contracted it in Mexico.

Interestingly, there is a well-known case of en masse Montezuma's Revenge. This happened to the U.S. Marines during the Mexican-American War. After returning from the battle of Chapultepec, dozens and dozens of toilets at the Marine base were in constant use due to the grim aftereffects. These rows of latrines are mentioned in the Marine Hymn — the notorious Halls of Montezuma.

In my case, I was running around like a distressed Marine for ten days. I was taking so much Imodium that I was considering putting the caplets in a Pez dispenser. I wonder if they make one with a head of Montezuma II?


At any rate, I was able to enjoy most of our vacation prior to dancing the Dominican Jitterbug. And although we did not take part in many excursions off the resort, we did try one adventure known as the Damajagua Cascades or 27 Waterfalls.

Damajagua, I believe, is a Spanish bastardization of the English utterance, "Damn, this is hogwash." Those words were spoken by many a turista en route to the summit of the cascades.

That was one tough climb!!! I believe our guides were some sort of Dominican Sherpas. I should have known we were in for a grueling ascent when I learned the name of our lead guide — Edmundo Hillario.

Another tip-off for me should have been the fact that I was quite visibly the oldest participant in our group. This is not an undertaking for seniors. In fact, Edmundo took one look at me, gave a small nervous cough, and then expressed to the group that we were only going to tackle 12 waterfalls.

Now I did not count how many waterfalls and cascades we actually slid down and how many cliffs we jumped off of, but I will say that sliding on your keester over the American Falls at Niagara would only be slightly more dangerous.

I do tend to exaggerate. Actually, I only suffered a small boo-boo on my right forearm, but my wife's thighs were black and blue after smacking the water during a wicked landing from a twenty-foot precipice jump. Twenty feet might not seem all that daunting to you, dear reader; but consider the fact that we had to aim for an area about the size of a kiddie pool that was surrounded by very mean and menacing rocky rocks.

I suspect my better half was not concentrating on the task at hand. Perhaps she jumped while contemplating the Pythagorean theorem. This would account for her hitting the water at the angle of a hypotenuse.

In addition to her thigh bruises, my wife suffered a muscle injury to her chest which gave her pain for several days afterward. I've selflessly offered to massage her chest area.

For my part, I had previously jumped off a similar cliff in Mexico, but that was several years ago. This time, I was prepared to show everyone how a 62 year old can do it. I had every intention of yelling out on my way down in my best Spanish, "Geronimoooooooo!!!" Instead, I found myself emitting this surprising uncontrollable guttural cry "Aaarrrgggguuuugggghhhhaugggggg!!!"


Mercifully, I landed nicely and made it through the rest of the falls unscathed. My wife wasn't faring as well and we found ourselves lagging behind. Edmundo and the other guides had given up on us at this point and I had to give my wife the ol' hands-on-butt boost to get her over one rock barrier. I was ready and willing to help a few of the other women in our group in much the same fashion, but there were no behinds behind us. Drat!

By the way, I should point out that my beautiful spouse is in very good physical condition. Her biggest problem — and it would be a considerable one in the case of this kind of activity — is that she does not have the sure-footedness of a mountain goat. On the contrary. When traversing rough terrain, my wife looks more like a newborn giraffe on ice skates in an earthquake.

However, we both completed the task eventually and returned to our resort and the relative calm of Caribbean waves incessantly smashing the beach. That night we were going to enjoy a meal at the resort's Mexican restaurant with two other couples. My wife was too sore to attend. I was too stupid to realize I had gastrointestinal problems already and should have begged off. I ate and drank and suffered terribly. When I returned to our room, my wife's eyes just about popped out when she saw my distended breadbasket. She said I looked like Tim Allen in his early transition stage in the movie The Santa Claus.


I eventually "gave birth" to all that was in me, but it took an excruciating week and a half to get back to normal.

And, if there's any justice, I may someday host a visitor from the Dominican or Mexico; preferably a descendant of Montezuma II. I will feed him or her a steady diet of poutine for an entire week.

We'll call the consequences of that "Champlain's Vengeance".