Friday, March 2, 2012

Don't Worry, Be Happy...

Last week Sean and I took a much needed vacation. We had won part of the trip at a golf tournament and added a few more days on ourselves. We went to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and stayed at the Hard Rock down there - a ginormous all-inclusive resort. We had a blast, relaxed a bit, and got to see some of the local culture. The trip started off with an all day travel fest where we left from LAX at 7:30am, had a quick layover in Panama (by quick, I mean we got of the plane, power walked to our gate, realized they changed the gate and didn't tell us, so we ran back basically to where we were and I believe were the last 2 on the plane), and arrived in DR at about 9:45 pm and to our hotel by 10:30. The rest of the trip consisted of lounging by the pool, sampling the local shot concoction (Mamajuana - Let's just say, mama-don't-juana should be the name of this drink), going on an all day excursion, lounging by the beach, and then ending with another all day travel fest back home.

The beaches down there were amazing - the water such a beautiful blue, and a refreshing temperature - not too cold or too warm.

This picture does not do it justice (sorry for my creepy toes that snuck into the picture)
Our excursion was great, and we are so glad we went. It stopped of at a local school - all children are required to go to school, went through the local town center where we got to see the oldest church in DR and the basilica down there...

the local outdoor market
We also stopped of at a cocoa/sugar cane plantation and got to taste freshly ground pure cocoa, and some fresh brown sugar, then went to a ranch where we did a little horseback riding and had a homemade lunch (probably the best meal down there),  and then went to another beach that was equally beautiful to the one outside our hotel.

Pineapple! I don't know about you but I didn't know that's what it looked like!

after tasting some fresh cocoa

Looking at this picture I realize how small Sean's horse is...

Macao beach

The living down there is nothing short of amazing and eye-opening - driving in the truck (which by the way is a whole another adventure in itself) and seeing these bright little cottages with people enjoying their Sunday, children running out to wave past our vehicle whizzing by, and dancing to our blaring local music. Seeing how other cultures live makes you realize how lucky we are and how different places can be. Sean was nice and gave away his hat to a local boy, and mind blew off during the drive. We saw so many stray dogs, horses, cows, chickens, even pigs!
Yes that's a horse and chickens chilling in the front yard
It was definitely worth it to see everything we could that day, even though the driving down there made me fear for my life. The truck we were on first of all was crazy in itself...

I don't think this was our tour company but it looked just like this one!
They drive sooooo fast down there, honk other cars off the road, and basically play chicken with oncoming traffic to pass slower cars in front of them. I buckled up, held on, and prayed the whole time. I was happy to be back at the hotel after on solid ground!

All-in-all it was a great trip, but great to be with the pups at home (with plumbing problems and all!! - our kitchen sink started draining into my shower last night - got that fixed, but gross!). Hopefully my tan doesn't fade too fast, and I can't wait for our next adventure!