A somewhat last-minute, though very welcome, visit from yet another Bologna classmate. Paul is a renaissance man of sorts. Along with being an International Relations professional, he paints, and draws deadly accurate comics showing the inherent folly of the professional workplace. He’s been under some serious stress of late and decided to get away from it all. That’s where we came in.
“I don’t care if we don’t go anywhere,” he told me. “I just need to get out of here and take a deep breath. Preferably some place warm and sunny.” We were happy to oblige. True to his word, Paul spent the first few days engrossed in hobbies without a care in the world. We did, however, manage to show him life beyond the capital in a place we had been meaning to visit. After a few quick phone calls to check availability, we were off, the time to Playa Cossón, a stretch of beach with a handful of boutique hotels. Our hotel was owned by an Italian couple who
traded in their lucrative Milan fashion careers for the quiet shores of the Dominican Republic.
Upon our arrival and unpacking, we discovered that in our haste to get out of town, we forgot to pack parmesan cheese for our meal. Without missing a beat Paul casually made his way to the restaurant kitchen and asked – in good Italian – if they could help us with this blunder. He played the lost son so well, Mama sent him back with a not-insignificant amount of grated cheese. The next evening, while at said restaurant, Paul told the waiter that his food allergies disagreed with much of what was offered on the menu. Mama came out and asked him what he wanted and whipped it up special for him. This sort of thing happens wherever he goes. No matter what transpires, Paul always comes out smelling like a rose.
Which is why it was no surprise that, while waiting for his custom-made meal, he rose, walked to a neighboring table and began chatting up a random man. Paul found him interesting and wanted to know more about it. As luck would have it, the man turned out to be one of the biggest beer importers on the island, and by the end of their conversation, Paul had an appointment to spend an afternoon with him once we were all back in Santo Domingo. Again, this is just what happens with Paul.
Sadly, the visit was all too quick. Paul was gone just as quickly as he arrived, but with a spring in his step and with a little less weight of the world on his shoulders. Maybe it was the time relaxing at our place. Maybe it was the beach. Maybe it was some life lesson his importer friend taught him. I’m sure if you ask him, he’ll be happy to regale you with his amazing story, and perhaps a painting to along with it.