Getting Started

Trip Start Sep 13, 2008
Trip End Sep 20, 2008

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Sunday, September 14, 2008

The trip got off to a rocky start. The day before, I was talking to Sara to coordinate meeting in the airport (she was flying from Denver, I from DC), and I (or we, I'm not clear whether she knew) realized that she was arriving a day after me. This despite the fact that she left around the same time. Her flights were going to take her 36 hours and leave her in Puerto Rico for Saturday night.

After a few internet searches and phone calls, we decided there was no way around it, which meant I was checking into Sara's timeshare on my own and staying Saturday night without her.

My flights were pretty uneventful. I had gotten barely more than an hours' sleep, so I spent almost all three of the flights sleeping. The only notable event was on the flight from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where we passed over some beautiful and strange scenery. First deep green pools of water (which were actually quite shallow, I suspect) surrounded by cracked, bleached earth. It looked either volcanic or apocalyptic. Then, as we reached the coast, there were hills of that same bleached earth, looking like immovable sand dunes, with the same deep green water winding its way between to flow into the ocean.

I hoped that this was the national park in the Dominican Republic that's near our hotel, but I later decided that it wasn't the right flight path/timing to be the DR. It made me realize, however, that there are wonders in the Caribbean. Here, so close, there are amazing, awing things. I have become quite jaded to the Caribbean islands due to my experiences with tourist-overrun ports of call on various cruises. I forget that there's more to it.

When I got to the hotel, they had a fair amount of trouble finding the reservation, but fortunately I had a bunch of printouts from Sara that helped. However, they want to charge us $55 a day for the all-inclusive fee (drinks, dinner, non-motorized sports...) Our confirmation form says $26 a day, so that's a huge difference. Unfortunately, our confirmation form also says the fees are subject to change, but still...a hundred percent markup?!! I fought it, and we are going to talk to the main office on Monday when they're back at work.

Then I got to the room, which had one bed, no kitchen, no pullout sofa, and no second bathroom, all of which were also mentioned in our confirmation form. After complaining again, they opened up the doors between that room and the one next door. Now Sara and I will both have beds and both have bathrooms...nice!

I can't say I'm real impressed with the resort so far. The service has been just ok, the food at dinner was only mediocre, the beach has a really steep dropoff, and the water is extremely kelpy if you walk out past the first 2 feet. It feels like the slimy fingers of dead sailors are twining around your legs...

However, the water temperature is heavenly, and it was hot and sunny today (despite hurricane season). After getting the room thing sorted out, I loaded up a beach bag and headed to the ocean. I walked in the waves for a bit before grabbing a lounge chair to just sit and watch nothing in particular. I saw a school of small fish erupt out of the water by the dozens. I also saw several pelicans feeding (but apparently on something larger than those small fish, since the pelicans' location never seemed to coincide with those particular fish). The pelicans are ungainly creatures, only graceful when they're gliding. Their dives into the ocean are particularly awkward, the avian equivalent of a belly-flop. They seem to twist around as they dive, and their heads always come up on the opposite side of what I expect. However, when they throw back their heads to swallow the fish, they look just like you expect a pelican to look!

Despite the bumps in the road, I'm glad to be here, and I think I'll achieve my goals - rest and relaxation.
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