Getting out of the cold weather!
Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
8Trip End Jan 08, 2008
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Where I stayed
On December 23rd I went to Port Hardy to spend Christmas with my family and that week just flew by. My dad, Leanna and I decided to travel back to Vancouver together, by bus, on December 30th, where we would have a day to "rest" before leaving for the DR at 6am on January 1st, New Year's Day! It was an "all inclusive" trip (gratefully all paid for by my parents as a Christmas present), flying there by Air Transat and staying at the Casa Marina Beach & Reef Resort in the city (or town?) of Sosuā. "All inclusive" means that you pay one price for: your room, all meals, beach access, towels, and all drinks. There is also lots of other stuff offered (ie. Various water sports) for an additional cost. It's been particularly cold and nasty weather in Vancouver (and Vancouver Island) lately and I could NOT wait to get out in the sun and a warm ocean!
Arriving in Vancouver on December 30th, Leanna and my dad went to Leanna's place to spend the night and I went back to my place, where I had stuff I needed to do before leaving (ie. Errands, packing, and a school assignment!). December 31st flew by and I ended up having a lot more to do than I had anticipated. Leanna and our dad were going to Lynette's house in Delta to spend New Year's eve and then driving to the airport, where I would meet them, at 3am
Upon arrival at the airport (meeting my dad, Leanna, half-sister Lynette, her husband Ray and their children Brittany, Rochelle (teenaged daughters) and young sons Connor and Anthony there), I suddenly realized how completely bagged I was from not having slept all night and the impact of the sleep deprivation immediately started to sink in. As soon as we got on the plane I easily fell asleep, which is quite a feat for me on an airplane, but I was THAT tired! I slept for most of the flight - about the first 5 hours - and then woke up feeling fairly refreshed. The airline screwed up mine and Leanna's special meal order (Asian Vegetarian, which I like to get because it's a little more interesting than just plain "vegan") - meaning that they had no suitable meals for us - so we missed the first meal and when the second "meal" came around (half a cow sandwich wrap) and I inquired (stating that we hadn't eaten all day yet) and the stewardess told me she didn't have it, so she gave us a cream cheese and vegetable wrap plus a free can of Pringle chips, which normally cost $2 extra
We arrived on the ground of Puerto Plata at about 6:30pm and it was 28 degrees outside and VERY humid. A bus was waiting there to take us to the resort in Sosua, which only took about 15 minutes to get there. It was dark by this point, and since there were no lights on the bus and hardly any on the road, we rode most of the way there in the pitch dark, but near the end where there were some street lights you could see a mish mash of sort of run down buildings dotting the side of the road. At the end of this narrow city road, the bus stopped, and there was the resort!
After checking in, the three of us took showers and then went to the nightly buffet dinner with everyone else. At this resort, we get all of our meals at either of the two buffet restaurants, and then we get to do three meals during the week at one of the sit down restaurants (Italian, Mexican and seafood). The food is plentiful with lots of choices, so there was something for Leanna and I to eat there: I had rice with chickpeas (really good), some spaghetti and "salsa rosa" (tomato sauce), cucumbers and a green pea salad. The food I had was pretty simple, but I'll be happy if I can get the beans and rice every night - a complete protein
At the resort, there is a dancing show every night in the big outdoor theatre, so after dinner we went to watch that. Every night they have a different "theme" for the show and tonight's theme was "latin" songs, where the show consisted of a string of different songs by latin singers (they did Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Enrique Inglesias, and a lot of singers I didn't know) all accompanied by the dancers (a group of dynamic and talented young people in their 20s), wearing brilliant themed costumes for each song and dancing to each song that was featured. Me writing about it now doesn't do it much justice, except to say that I thought it was FANTASTIC - really impressive dancing! The daughter of my dad's friends who live here (our cousin Bill's cousin and husband) is one of the dancers, and actually the choreographer of the dance shows here, and shockingly, she apparently only makes $25 a day for all the work she does! But I guess she just really likes living here, since she moved here from England several years ago after coming here for a vacation and then liking it so much that she decided to stay.
After the dance show, Leanna and I walked around the resort a bit to explore it in the dark
We went back to our room then and went to bed shortly after, at 12:30am. I had read prior to coming here that the DR is a third world country, which I ignorantly hadn't known before. Leanna noted this to me tonight as well, and she has started an informal list of the "third world" aspects of our trip so far. Our hotel is a 3-star resort, which is not bad (it's quite nice, actually), but she considers certain things about it to be reflective of the third world status: no hairdryer in the room (or fridge for that matter - we could really use one!), no toilet paper holder/dispenser in the bathroom, only 2 electrical outlets in the whole 'bedroom' area (it looks like a standard hotel room, with 2 double beds, one 19" tv, and bathroom, but nice balcony as well!), the tv doesn't work, and the power keeps going out throughout the day and night (for about 1-10 seconds each time!). My dad said tonight too that while he was considering living here last year before he came here for the first time, he decided not to because "the tv [channel selection] isn't very good". (I have yet to determine that myself since I can't get it to work!)
One final last thought: Leanna is really scared of seeing lizards in our room (like there were in Mexico). Apparently there are a lot of them. She doesn't like their "scurrying, tiny stature" and the fact that they might crawl into her ear.