>[I'm re-posting this because J. was good enough to go back to the cafe and take some fabulous pictures to illustrate the story.]

I was just chatting it up on IM with my friend J. back in the DR. She has some other friends visiting her this weekend, so I told her that I was jealous and asked her where they were staying. She told me the hotel’s name, and all the sudden I was transported back to Dec. 25, 2005...

We had been wandering around the Colonial Zone and stopped in this funky (funky in the sense that it looked the same as it did in 1950) café for coffee and, in my case, a papaya batida (a delicious fresh fruit shake). The back of the café had a ginormous metal door that resembled a bank vault, but one with a zillion padlocks and chains on it rather than a normal vault door.

My husband mentioned that he had to go to the bathroom, but J. didn’t think that they had a public bathroom. I also had to go, so I suggested that we use the bathroom at the touristy hotel nearby. (This is the same hotel that J.’s friends are staying at this weekend, which is what triggered my memory.) Just as we were about to leave to implement the plan, J. decided she might as well ask if there was a bathroom. The guy at the counter told her that as long as the ginormous metal door was unlocked, bathrooms were accessible. My husband went off to find the men’s room. When he came back in one piece, I went to use the women’s room.

However, as I was heading back, Julie told me to wait. The counter guy was giving her the key. She came with me and that was when we discovered that the door was padlocked shut. We found that a bit scary and weird. J. opened the lock and that’s when we discovered the dungeon. It was one room with barely any light, a toilet, sink, and pink shower curtain, which separated the toilet from the sink and door. I guess since there was no way to lock the door when using the bathroom, the idea was that you could hide behind the shower curtain if someone barged in. J. and I decided to take turns waiting outside and guarding the door while the other person did her business. I can’t imagine how disturbing it would have been to be there alone and have someone re-padlock the door while I was in there. I could totally imagine the Gimp from Pulp Fiction hanging around there. We peed quickly, and then we got the fuck out of there.

The batida was really good, though.