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  • Once again a short visit to an airport ahead of schedule. This time it is the Dominican Republic. I will be returning here at the end of April again... See you then, coyones!

    Btw it was funny to have a bus transport for 3 people from one terminal to another here, and admire the terminal buildings covered with the palm leaves.

  • Docked at the mouth of the Rio Romana on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. Went ashore for just a little while, did some souvenir shopping, me and John observed some interesting fish and crabs near the shore. Beautiful place, through we did not explore much of it. You can see three baseball fields, from the ship.

  • January 25, 2016

    My third trip to the Dominican. First time to Punta Cana, Bavaro Beach. Purchased tickets online for Deal of the Day just 4 days before departure on Red Tag with SunWing Vacations.

    Our flight was for 6am. Only able to sleep two hours before our self imposed wakeup at 1am.
    Our reserved taxi arrived just prior to 2:30am
    No traffic and no stops on way to airport.
    Saw many people sleeping on benches inside airport. Public transport stops after certain time and would need taxi to get there. Those people came early and stayed the night.

    Plane about 75% full. We had empty seat on our row and we spread out comfortably. Breakfast was awful egg and bacon english muffin. No other choice and people ate it because we were famished.

    Immigration and shuttle to hotel was smooth.
    Didn't get my choice of room. Will try tomorrow.
    Large beautiful landscaped resort with shuttle trolley to bring you to lobby, activities restaurants. Several pools and restaurants. Don't like that wifi only in lobby and slow. We get two a la cartes a week.
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  • It was difficult to sleep last night because of the four hour time difference ahead. We were tired but not that sleepy.

    Today's buffet restaurant theme was Oriental.
    Had breakfast and lunch and no difference from yesterday's French Booked the Brazilian restaurant for dinner tonight.

    Checked out the beautiful beach. Turquoise coloured strong waves and powder sand.
    Vendor tried selling us excursions. Then we met SunWing rep where he told us about the rules and again tough sell on packages. All in US dollars and not cheap with 40% more for exchange. There was interesting new activity called Snuba. It's a combo of snorkeling and scuba. No experience or swimming capabilities needed. You're attached to the boat wearing equipment and you're let down five meters of water. Still too scary for a non swimmer like me! We'll try the free snorkeling at our resort beach when waters are calm.

    Couldn't change our room today because fully booked. Told us maybe tomorrow. Our room is convenient and quiet. Three minutes walk to beach, 5 minutes walk to lobby and 1.5 minutes to buffet.

    Found a nice spot by the activity pool and watched aquafit and volleyball. It was relaxing listening to the latin music. Took a short snooze on the loungers. Many French speaking Canadians at this resort.

    I decided to do Zumba before dinner to work off some calories and build up my appetite. It was really fun. I liked the aerobic dance moves.

    Our Brazilian meal was good. The meat came skewered on metal rods and the servers sliced off portions onto your plate. We had beef, pork, turkey, chicken, lamb and fish. There was wine with the meal with all dinners at this resort. About 80 patrons at this sitting.

    The Adult evening entertainment started at 9:30 pm. We walked the half kilometer to the theatre which is behind the lobby. The walk is along a paved trail of mangrove and coconut palm trees.
    There are ponds with friendly birds. They come right up to us wanting food.

    Really enjoyed watching the fit male dancers. They asked the women to dance with them before their show. The tallest one talked me into merengue dancing with him. Audience participation in a dance off was part of the fun. A Canadian couple won. The professional dancers performed and lip synced to various popular songs. My best was Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson's song. Great beat!

    Bed at 11:30ish for 6:00am wakeup. We're packed for tomorrow's journey to the capital, Santo Domingo.
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  • Got up at 6am. Showered and walked over to the buffet restaurant for breakfast. It was still dark.
    Very early and so the place was quite empty
    Had boiled egg, scrambled egg, stewed beef, squash, potato and fresh coffee. Grabbed two boiled eggs to go.

    We booked our room in Santo Domingo. Money changer at hotel was not open. We found a motorcycle taxi down the road from our gated resort. He wanted $5US and Vince told him $2US for the two kilometers ride. He agreed. Ended giving him $1US tip.

    Our bus was deluxe with high head rests, air conditioning and wifi. Wifi wasn't good. Took 3 hours to get to Santo Domingo. We napped.
    We asked to be let off by Chino Barrio (Chinatown).
    I recognized the noisy busy street. Mini vans carrying people with guys hanging onto open doorways shouting for fares drove by. Heavy traffic. Downpour. Waited out under an awning.

    We wanted to visit two men we met in 2012,
    Raphael Joa and Wilson Ho. Raphael is the caretaker of the Enping Chinese Association meeting hall in DR. He lives in a single room there.
    We were not able to find him in the neighborhood of Chinatown. Everyone knows him. Went to the building twice and talked to two Chinese people working nextdoor. A woman let us up to 3rd floor of Association. We ended up locked inside the stairwell for 5 minutes! We banged onto the outside door and I stuck my fingers through a metal opening and shouted "Abierto!". The woman came back and let us out onto street. That's the closest I felt being in jail !

    Visited Wilson Ho at his law office. He recently got married to younger woman from China. He's close to 60 years old and new wife is 41 years old. His second marriage. He has two daughters living in New York City. New wife has 22 year old Son who is traffic cop in Enping. Wilson showed us pictures of his trip to Beijing. He was the Chinese rep of DR for the 75 anniversary of the Sino War.
    He showed us his photos of Punta Cana and San Diego with his wife and his wedding. So happy.

    He called the local community police to find Raphael for us. No luck.

    We walked through the Colonial area. I shopped for Larimar. It is the stone of Dominican Republic. I found the same vendor who sold me some pieces four years ago. His prices were best and I bought some pretty pieces.

    Had dinner at Segazona, near the Parque Colon with statue of Christopher Columbus. We walked the dark streets using a headlamp trying to find place to eat. We had nachos, tacos and grilled fish. Excellent dinner. Waiter couldn't crack a smile. Not friendly.

    Was feeling very exhausted by dinner and my skin felt sensitive. Went to supermarket to buy water on way back to our hostel. Strangely I felt very cold. Felt fever coming on. Took Tylenol and drank more water.
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  • Woke up couple of times in the night with burning fever. Took more Tylenol and drank more water.
    Vince slept soundly. He woke up at 7:30am and we readied ourselves for breakfast.

    The dining room was nice and bright but very noisy from traffic below. Breakfast consisted of two fried pieces of sausage meat, 3 pieces of plain white toast, coffee with milk gone slightly bad and large glass of tropical juice. About 5 minutes into breakfast, I had to rush back to our room to use the washroom. My body was just aching. Think I have the stomach flu.

    We went across the street to see the Iglacius de Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes. Built in.1555.
    Next was the Rum and Sugar Cane Museum a few blocks away. Free samples were offered. We turned it down since it was too early in the day.
    Next was a museum of a rich family's house.

    We walked over to the La Cafeteria for lunch.
    I had a dried empanada with hardly any meat and tea. Vince had a juicy hamburger, milk shake and their coffee.

    We walked to the bus station to buy our tickets back to Punta Cana. Their washroom's three stalls were full and not flushed. No toilet paper and water to wash my hands. Used my bottled water and sanitary gel. At least waiting room was air conditioned.

    Bus was 45 minutes late. Seats mostly full. We sat across from each other. I was out of it not feeling well and slept most of the way back. We got motorcycle taxi back. He was new and ran out of gasoline. We walked a way and he managed to buy gasoline from another motorcyclist. We got on his bike again and brought us to the entrance. Other motorcycle taxis were hassling him. He was in their territory. Poor guy. Got back after 5:20 pm.

    Dinner was very good today. Lots of seafood including smoked salmon. Vince ate lots of food.
    Big plate of dessert too.
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  • Slept longer last night because of me being sick.
    Lined up to make reservations for the a la carte Dominican dinner. The woman was late again by 10 minutes. Meanwhile we've been waiting 15 minutes earlier. Annoying because the signage says 8:30 am. Should be 8:45am...

    Noticed the buffet restaurant was really busy.
    Maybe it's because we're there later or new group came in. After breakfast, we headed to the beach to find a spot. Most of the loungers were reserved with towels. We managed to find a spot. Looks like some people 'reserved' two spots. One by pool side and one at beach with their towel and a personal article.

    There was parasailing, kayaking and beach volleyball going on. Beach vendors selling activities and jewelry were out. The guy who approached us on second day remembered us and what we wanted.

    Had our buffet lunch. Theme today was Italian.
    Again, not much different. New item lasagna.
    We had enough beach for day but no more loungers by pool. We returned to our room for peace and rest. My stomach was still not good.
    Worse maybe because of all this food.
    Took long nap. Was really tired because of being ill.

    Our Dominican dinner was good. I liked the decor. Our woman server was really nice. She was attentive and didn't treat us like another resort guest.

    Went back to our room to relax before going to see the entertainment. Discovered there was 140 members from a Toronto company at the resort.
    Most were at the theatre. There was a live band playing rock music. Didn't like it and we left. Walked back along the lighted pathway through the groves of mangroves.

    Hungry young cats came out from the bushes in front of our villa. Gave one beef jerkey.
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  • Got up at 6am to catch the sunrise and 'reserve' our loungers on the beach. It was dark and nice to see how the resort was without any people. Peaceful.

    Today's buffet theme was Dominican. I had a light breakfast. Couldn't resist one chicken wing. My stomach is better today.

    I'm using my Kobo reader. Usually I use it only on vacations. Reading Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou. Easy to read.

    Many people running or walking along the nice wide crescent beach. Some were jumping up into the waves and riding them onto the beach. Looks like fun.

    We moved to the pool with the activities.
    Participated in aquaswim before lunch. The instructors name is Valentina. Her co workers helped. All good looking people.

    Had salmon steak and roast chicken for lunch.
    Plus two cups of Chamomile tea. Vince had pasta and glass of wine. We both felt sleepy on way back to the poolside. We fell asleep listening to our own music.

    After our nap, we tried the Creperie restaurant.
    Vince had a dessert crepe and a cappuccino.
    Another cat appeared begging for food. She already was a mummy. She went to each table meowing. We offered her a bit of crepe.

    On way to dinner, noticed several tables of vendors selling jewelry. They were asking exorbitant prices for their larimar pieces. Liked the Santo Domingo street vendors on El Conde Calle. Really fair affordable prices.

    We were greeted by Dominicans dressed up in fancy costumes at the restaurant. There were many dressed up and DR music playing. There was a whole roasted little pig. Had a slice. Also had chicken, smoked salmon, prawns, goat and beans in rice. Finished it with chamomile tea.

    Entertainment was in celebration of the Dominican.
    There were two downpours tonight. Lucky if needed, we will take shuttle trolley right to our villa.
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  • Starting last night, Vince started getting sick.
    Same symptoms like me. Abdominal cramps, feeling cold, sensitive sore skin, slight fever and fatigued.

    We woke up to our 6am alarm. Headed slowly to the beach to reserve our loungers with our towels.
    The sunrise was coming up. Walked along the beach edge towards the rising sun. Many resorts are lined along the wide arching sandy beachfront. Workers were raking up the seaweed. A service truck was combing the sand. A few people were jogging along the beach. I didn't jog because the slopping beach would be bad for my IT band.

    Beautiful blue shades of the water and sky.
    Love nature and colour blue. Was running after Vince on beach and the friction of sand against my skin with my wet sandal rubbed some skin off my foot. Polysporin and bandage time.

    We returned to the resort for our buffet breakfast.
    Today's theme was Spanish. Noticed the a la carte reservation desk was on time. Different lady and with her own little boy. Not the tall flamboyant one.

    Our server today was 7.5 months pregnant. She had 20 more days of work. Told us she's having a girl and that she already has two daughters.

    We went back to the beach to our loungers to read and nap. Vince felt cold in the shade, so we put the loungers in the sun. I went into the water and let the surf roll against me. I started heading deeper in. The surf would crash up against my chest. That was high

    Had our lunch. I chose fried fish, potatoes, carrots and vegetable soup with chamomile tea. Noticed new people. A set of blond identical twins.
    Back to room to cool off and rest. Vince has slight fever.

    Tonight's entertainment theme is beach party.
    Wonder if more skimpy costumes? Usually the girls have outfits showing their butt cheeks.
    Last night, a pair of dancers came out. Both the guy and gal had skimpy things on. The guy was bare chested with broad shoulders and six pack and wearing a thong. There was an audible gasp from the audience. There were cheers and clapping from the women in the Adult entertainment.
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