Being fair-skinned, lying on a sun bed in full sun on a beach or by a pool leaves me hot, lobster-colored, sore and bored. Now, by comparison, a sun lounger in the shade on the terrace of a villa with ocean views, a long, cold drink, possibly a cuba libre, and a good book or a gallop along a semi-deserted beach have much greater appeal!
Coming from northern climes, many of us are no doubt used to the physical discomfort of resembling a Michelin man as we bundle up in multi-layers of protective clothing. How much more comfortable it is, however, to slip on minimal clothes to go about our daily business with never a shiver to be felt!
Over the years I had never felt the urge to settle in any of the many sunny places I have visited. I first came to this magical island of the Cabarete real estate in 1995. It was November. The Mediterranean can be chilly at that time of year. I have never felt the pull of Florida or the Canaries.
I like to be able to get out and about without restrictions and without the oppressiveness of a concrete jungle. Cuba had come to mind as a possibility. My travel agent recommended the Cabarete real estate instead, adding a 20% discount to the overall attraction of Caribbean warmth and culture.
I was ill-prepared with what was to follow: an ongoing love affair with the country, the nation, the way of life, the vibrant music, the splendid scenery and beaches and not to mention, of course, the climate! They say we get at least as much rain as a Welsh mountain sheep, but the difference is that it is warm. Nor did I imagine that I would find myself purchasing real estate or living in Sosua or at least close to Sosua for most of the year!
It took seventeen visits for me to decide that it would be cheaper to stay than to keep flying back and forth, but it is not a decision I regret! I had come here apparently by chance, yet I have never looked back despite the challenges of being a foreigner living in the Cabarete real estate. After so many visits and residing here for nearly 9 years, I can still say I am never bored.
There are always new places to visit, places of natural beauty, cottage industries, festivals and so on. There is a multitude of water sports and, for the aficionado, horse activities. For the socially conscious, there is always a need in the mission field to help children, the poor and animals.
Personally I have found my calling helping street children and abandoned, neglected and abused horses, but I can also choose to watch the dawn over the ocean or the mountains whilst having a breakfast of yoghurt and fresh fruit on the terrace or I can appreciate the sunset as I dine on something elaborate at an upmarket restaurant.
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