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2015-04-25 - 2:15 p.m.

Santo Domingo... Primera Parte (Part One)

Wow, this is really tough. I've had writing this chapter on my Saturday "to-do" list for nearly two months now and I just can't seem to get it together. Not for lack of trying or wanting to, but just because of having no earthly idea where to start. This experience for me was just so complex, meaning both incredibly wonderful and horrible at the same time, and trying to approach this 40 year old memory with any sort of truthful narrative just seems like such a daunting task.

Thankfully there are both (major snips of) journals and pictures, so I've come to terms here that THAT'S probably the only way I'm going to get this one done.

So to start...

7 Americanos Headed For ParaĆ­so...

Journal Entry from December 16th... I'm sitting on my little balcony alcove in the 90 degree sun looking out over the hotel grounds, the olympic size pool and the Caribbean Ocean framed by palm trees. It's not at all as i'd pictured it, with Americans sprawled all over the sand drinking their afternoon rum & cokes. In fact i don't believe there is anyone on the beach at all. I don't think there even is a beach, and the water isn't swimmable at any rate, the waves are as high as buildings.

I don't believe i'm here after a 6 hour wait at the airport yesterday and every kind of inconvenience you could imagine. I won't go into it all but i never want to go through customs again. But we stepped off the plane at midnight and it hit me. HEAT! Beautiful, warm & tropical. It was like coming out of a time tunnel after that New York freeze. The taxi ride, once se found a cab, was beautiful. I couldn't see much, but the road from the airport is all lined with flowers and palm trees for miles and miles. We drove with all the windows down and just felt that lovely warm breeze on our faces and breathed it all in.

Everything is so awkward here, we stick out like sore thumbs. No one understands us. "No comprende!" I'll be learning a lot of Spanish in a very short time, which kind of excites me. I'm rooming with Judy. She seems to be a nice girl...

Missing Douglas already. Why is it that things always seem to heat up right when one of us is about to leave.

December 17th... We've had sort of an interesting and relaxing day just walking around and checking things out. We walked into town today to change our money and get stamps. It feels kind of like being in Spain or something, not that i would know. The people here seem nice for the most part but the men on the streets are worse than in New York. We're having dinner with Hector tonight and then seeing the show. So nice to go out and not worry about money.

The filet mignon was delicious! The show was dreadful! But it's a guest show so i don't think it has anything to do with ours. Just a bunch of bare bottomed girls who barely know how to walk. But the pre-show with the three very talented guys from Argentina was terrific!

December 18th... Well, i drank the water!!! I went down to eat last night and suddenly couldn't think of putting another thing in my mouth. I came back up to my room where i immediately tossed my afternoon onion soup and the bread and 7-up i'd had so far for dinner. Deathly ill all night! I laid flat on my back (except for getting up every 10 minutes) for 6 hours. And to make matters worse, there was some party going on out on the pool deck and the sound of bongo's, guitars and cuban singers went on all night and could have been heard for miles. I had to turn on the air conditioning and freeze to death in order to drown them out.

I finally made it down to rehearsal today at 3:00 but basically just watched or walked through the numbers. Feeling better but my stomach muscles are in agony and I'm starving to death. Dying to hear some American music!

December 20th... One thing I can say is that the views here are beautiful. Sometimes it's hard to believe that I'm sitting here looking out over the Caribbean. This morning I walked across the highway to see the ocean up close and they were right - it's just cliffs.

We had a long rehearsal yesterday. Learned a new number and reviewed the others. They are so tacky! It'll be an experience doing this kind of thing. Then we spent last evening in Laura and Cathy's room listening to Barry Manilow, Barbra and Donna Summers. It was lovely! Then i went to bed while everyone else went out dancing. I just can't get into it. Maybe boredom will eventually force me to, but for now cruising is not for me.

Hector gave us the day off so it was wonderful to lay in the sun all day. We had a tropical rain in the afternoon. So refreshing!

December 22nd... Oh God, i'm gonna go stir crazy! We all are! We've only been here one week and have thirteen more to go. Ay! There's nothing to do here! I know i'm going to go absolutely koo-koo! Eating is the only thing there is to look forward to. Maybe it'll be different after the show starts. We'll be able to soak up sun all day, or go away somewhere, shop, or maybe take classes. But I hate rehearsals and I hate the numbers. I know i should just be happy and enjoy it and take it for what it is. It's not like i'm spending a whole summer here. I'm not! If I were in N.Y. i'd just be freezing and miserable and waiting for the stock auditions to come out in March. So, i'll be home in March! But in the meantime I'm going to have to find things to do!

We all went out with a real creep last night. I think we just went for the free meal. I stuffed myself! Then he took us to this really interesting place called "The Cave" but we didn't stay long. Still, it was a fascinating place, built entirely underground. Before we went in he took a gun out of the car and asked me to put it in my purse. What a fool! It's crazy what some men will do to impress!

December 24th... The sun is going down on Christmas Even and i'm feeling about as far away from the Xmas spirit as i possibly can. There's something very odd about sitting here in my jocky shorts watching the sun go down over the ocean and hearing people still at the pool when miles away people are sitting around their Christmas trees singing Carols and watching the snow fall outside.

We finished up the Carmen Miranda number today. It's so corny, but the most fun number we do. The whole show is tacky! Thank God none of my friends will ever see it!

December 31st... Three hours until 1977. This year, more than any other i feel sad. I wonder what i'll be doing at 12 o'clock? This has probably been one of the best years of my life. When i think about it i certainly did do a lot! But the fact that all my work and training have somehow led me here, makes me feel like i've failed. But it'll all be over in three months and i'll have money, and a tan and i will have learned a lesson. Not happy with myself dressing this way, going out in front of 700 people a night with very little left to the imagination. To say nothing of running around backstage with NOTHING on at all!

The last few days have been Hell and I've spent most of my time crying. There has been such a strain on everyone trying to get this show together and I'm STILL missing costumes. I've complained so much, but only because nobody will listen. I feel like when i talk, i'm talking to myself. I don't fit in here. I don't think too many people here like me and in turn i don't like too many. Hector de SJ is an ass-hole! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Journal Entry from January 1st 1977... I feel so lonely and this place is too beautiful to feel this way. I need Doug here to share these beautiful sunrises & sunsets with. You don't realize how very special those few people in your life mean to you until you don't have them there and try to make someone else fill the void. I've only been here three days into my three month contract!

Spent New Year's eve sitting in the lobby between shows. Then Laura's friend Charlie and his friend picked a few of us up and took us to a country club up in the hills. Just like out of a movie, driving up the palm lined path to the valet... From there we drove out to Boca Chica and spent the rest of the night on a boat in port. I still don't know who it belonged to.

Only wished I could have been alone to enjoy the beauty of the sunrise on the new year...

But what a sight it was when the sun came up (HOT) with the music still blaring and the remains of the night before strewn all over the dock. And the gorgeous scene of the sun on the water.

I took a drive with Jose and ended up stopping at the home of a friend of his. One of the most beautiful views i've ever seen. A pool on a cliff overlookiing a background of early morning sky, ocean(BLUE) and endless greenery. I was overwhelmed! 8 0'clock in the morning and there must have been 20 people there looking as fresh and awake as ever. I guess all these people do down here is sit out in their backyards drinking cocktails & looking at the views. Got back just as everyone was leaving to back to the hotel. I told them i wanted to go with them but they just asked for the key to the room and took off. I felt shitty having to make Charlie and Jose drive me home but the drive along the coast was breathtaking. One of the most beautiful sights i've seen since i've been here.

January 6th... We all went to Antonio Pantojas' opening last night. Laura and i ended up going off with Charlie and Jose to smoke some weed and then it was hell trying to get rid of them. Got my first week's pay today but ended up having to give back $40 in american dollars for my bills. Gonna pay as I go along from now on, otherwise I'm getting screwed. They screwed us as well the other night when they kept us up until 7 am without notice filming a silly 60 second commercial.

The unprofessionalism of this show is driving me (Carmen Miranda) bananas! I've never seen such backstage chaos in my life! Missing props, wrong certain cues, no lights, 1,000 people in the wings when you're trying to exit!... I feel like screaming every night!

January 11th... I wrote a letter to Thom today saying that i couldn't conceive of the time that Douglas wouldn't be there, somewhere. I wish i could think realistically about a future with him. I can only think about today. And if he were here that would be enough. Today will ALWAYS be a yesterday and a tommorrow.

I can't stand doing this show, although i AM getting along with everyone better. Either that or just not caring. I dread the 11 weeks ahead! I finally took a ballet class today. It was ok. More than I expected. My body needed it. My head needed it more!

I don't feel like writing to Doug but I know I have to.

January 16th... I just took a nice nap after being in the sun all day and I feel surprisingly well! No sign of the shits or nausea or even any depression at the moment. I was so sick Friday night i thought i'd die and I just wanted to go home (to Cali) more than anything in the world! I feel like that more and more these days.. how i'd like to just sleep in my own bed, knowing that my mother was in the next room.

Doug is coming down on the 29th of this month! I nearly fell into the pool when I read his letter! Now my nerves are gonna make me sicker than ever! I want so much for him to enjoy this place and there's so much to think about before he comes because I just want everything to be perfect! I only wish he didn't have to see the show! The other girls keep telling me that if he loves me, it won't make any difference to him what the show is like...

Judy thinks she might have caught crabs from Charlie. :)

We're going for pizza tonight! At last i have an appetite thinking of getting out of this hotel! Some guy here just gave me a Joni Mitchell tape!!!

P.S. Ended up going for pizza alone. :(

January 19th... I had a wonderful time with Pantojas last night! I think i love him and as our friendship grows i think i'll find myself missing him alot when I leave.

Also had the most incredible day yet on Monday! Went off with Pantojas, his friend Roberto and a few others to spend the day driving along the ocean... drinking and sunning. It was perfect! The Carribean is gorgeous to swim in and we found some beautiful spots that i can't wait to share with Douglas.

Laura, Kathy and Me

Kathy, Me and Pantojas

Miles from here found a hotel with a patio set out on the sand. The most peacful and beautiful spot. Sitting under umbrellas, sipping our drinks, looking like a mirage for some poor sailor washed ashore.

The whole day invigorated me to such an extent. I could possibly come to love this place. With Doug it WILL be paradise!

January 20th... Last night was incredible! Roberto and his friends took a few of us up into this cabin in the hills to party. No lights at all so we just partied by fire and candlelight. So nice! I felt high before i got high! We sang to guitars, played games and watched Pantojas perform. Loved the lizards crawling up the walls and the frog in the bathroom. Laughed so hard all night i thought my sides would split!

We drove home after the sun had come up. The beautiful drives here can't be compared. Saw all the natives beginning their day and going about their chores. Then the sight of the new sun on the water was breathtaking. Had breakfast when we got back and got to bed by 9:00 am. Don't know how i got up at noon.

Got lots of mail today. Doug says he's comin' to the rescue!

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