It’s Not a Hurricane Yet, So Quit Your Beachin’ (R&R Part Two)

As we approached Punta Cana, the view was breathtaking from the airplane. Stepping off of the plane, the view was a little less spectacular. Not because it wasn’t beautiful, but because I couldn’t see squat. Or anything else, either.

My eyeglasses immediately fogged up, and turns out so did the camera lens. It had been raining, was raining even as we landed, so it was a wee bit humid. Just a wee. I tried to wipe the lens off a little because I really wanted a picture of the airport with its foot-thick thatched roof. This one is better, but I took several pictures, wiping off the lens each time, as we walked from the plane into the airport, and few turned out.

Made it through customs, and then boarded a bus. We were on our way to the Iberostar Bavaro, our home away from home for the next seven days.

Picture courtesy of http://www.twohigs.com/dominican_republic/hotels/iberostar_bavaro.html. It was also hard to get a good picture of the front of the resort because of the vegetation, so I stole this aerial view. Apparently, no one else has figured out how to take a picture of the entrance either. The water and the beach really are this beautiful, though. I have pics of the resort, the building we stayed in and some of the common areas, which I will include later on.

The purpose of this vacation was to do nothing, for the most part, at Alex’s request. He did not want a walking, sightseeing, or a learning type of vacation. Alex felt he had done all the learning he wanted to do for a little while having just graduated from high school, so eating, playing and soaking up sun were high on his agenda.

The sun proved somewhat elusive, but considering we arrived at Punta Cana just as a tropical storm was developing in the region, I guess we were pretty lucky it didn’t ruin our entire vacation. Yes, a tropical storm. Named Alex. We got some mileage out of that! It was overcast and rained every single day we were there, but most days we had at least part of the day to frolic or lounge on the beach. Ok by me. As the old saying goes, even a bad day at the beach is better than a good day at work. If you’re reading this, boss, that was just a little joke!

The first couple of days we just hung around the resort. We found out that the D.R. is primarily a European destination. Meaning two things. Multiple languages, and multiple boobs on the beach… and I don’t mean drunken fools. I mean real boobs. Bare Boobies. Not pictured here, of course. Some were even worth gawking at, but mostly, no. Plenty of thongs and speedos, too. Most just made me wonder. It’s a culture thing, I understand. I’m an uptight American and they’re boobloose, I mean footloose, Europeans. I get it.

Daniel and Alex played a lot of beach soccer. From what I understand, beach soccer is quite strenuous. It was fun watching them because the other kids didn’t speak much English, and our kids don’t speak much Spanish. Between them, they managed to play some pretty good soccer.

The staff at the Iberostar was second to none. They made sure we were fed, our rooms picked up, and that we never wanted for something to do. We were accosted at every turn to join this game or that, to come and make fools of ourselves for the sake of good fun. We obliged, no one was going to see us except all you people here reading this blog, so we did have fun, even as it rained. Below is one such game (this one on the beach). The good ol’ egg toss. Alex and Daniel paired up, and Johnny & Sara paired up. I took pictures.

The first toss about to begin, only a few feet apart this time.

A little further…

The stakes get higher, as do the tosses. Psyching up for the next throw…

Back at ya, cupcake…

A tricky backwards throw and Daniel making the dive…

… and ready, set, hike!

Yes, that is Sara getting ready to hike the egg like Dallas Cowboys Center, Andre Gurode (and yes I had to look it up) to Tony Romo. Only this Tony is about a mile away, and preparing to catch an egg.

After the game, I worried that we’d step in sandy rotten egg yolks or cut our feet on broken egg shells, but the beach just gobbled the eggs up. I never saw any egg goo on the beach.

Speaking of beach, can you believe this beach? Sand so white, and the beach so wide and 30 plus miles long in this area. Incredible. Lovely. Incredibly lovely. 🙂

Sara and Alex also arm-wrestled, well, not each other. They were beaten by beasts, I tell you, beasts!

They also took some Merengue lessons…

While Daniel and Johnny watched.

…and Mamma Paparazzi took pictures. That’s what Andre (an employee, except I don’t remember his name actually) called me as he tried to coerce me into arm wrestling. Me, arm wrestle? You really think that would even be a contest? Maybe if I pick my own opponent!

Here’s another shot of a couple of the beautiful flamingos that populated the resort. You’ll see more of these next time!

Stay tuned. Our trip to Saona Island coming up!

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R&R in the D.R. – In the Beginning (Primero)

In honor of Alex’s graduation, we let him pick our vacation destination this summer. Well, we let him pick the kind of vacation we would have, because “I want to go to the beach” isn’t terribly helpful. So, off to the travel agent we went, thinking an all-inclusive resort somewhere so we wouldn’t constantly have to decide matters such as, what are we going to do? Go to the beach, of course. Where do we eat every day? How much alcohol can we afford to drink? Can we afford to eat like kings & queens for an entire week? When you pay for it all up front those decisions are, for the most part, already made. Sort of like a cruise, and we have so enjoyed the two cruises we have been on.

Playa del Carmen and Costa Rica came to mind, we never even considered the Dominican Republic at first. We ended up picking the Dominican Republic largely because of price! Our travel agent convinced us it was beautiful, and for a price tag of $2,000 less than other places we had considered, we felt like bargain hunters in a thrift store. Sort of.

Map courtesy of welcome-dominican-republic.com.

I knew that the Dominican Republic was in the Caribbean. It still is, actually :0). I don’t want to sound like a dummy here (duh, too late), but I’ve never been so good at Geography. I confess I didn’t realize at first that the D.R. is actually connected to Haiti. We’d heard all the stories about how callous the cruise lines were for docking cruise ships close to Haiti so soon after the devastating earthquake. We certainly didn’t want to feel like voyeurs to this tragedy, given that aftershocks had occurred not too long before we booked this trip. However, we were flying into Punta Cana located at the opposite end of the island. What if, OMG, what if another earthquake occurred while we were there? Not to sound callous like the cruise lines, but again, we would be on the opposite end of the island. So I crossed that worry off of my list.

The only worries that remained? What to wear, of course, and getting our 5 collective butts to the airport with all the stuff we needed in time to catch a 7:00 a.m. flight and, it goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway, the plane crashing. I have said a prayer over each and every plane I’ve ever flown in, and also flights that my significant others have taken without me. If I’m traveling on a plane, I must touch the outside of the plane upon boarding and say a silent little prayer before the flight attendant can pry my hand off and direct me to my seat. So, now you know my little ritual. It has worked for me every time…

As every trip must have a beginning, here we are in the beginning (except me, I’m on the other end of the camera), bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5:00 a.m. boarding the shuttle to the airport.

A little desolate at D/FW Airport at 5:30 a.m.!

We saw this strange object and felt obliged to point it out to the kids. This thing here, kids, is a p-a-y-p-h-o-n-e, and back in the day… I mean, when is the last time you saw one of these things?

On the plane (after said touching-praying ritual described above)…

…and to make Sara happy, here are the goofy ones.

Daniel didn’t get the memo.

and shortly after takeoff…

We were on our way to some fun in the sun! Definitely fun. I’ll fill you in on the sun part soon. Turns out these terms can be mutually exclusive…