“It’s the worst January they’ve ever seen!”
With the cold grey day that was my last birthday, relived in my Year in Review, I decided to venture to sunnier climbs for the ‘Big 27’. With Dominican Republic long being on my list, thanks to Pero Like, I booked a package deal in Black Friday week with British Airways. And spoiler alert, it turns out, I traded a grey day in the UK for one in DR.
Seated with the babies onboard, whilst the legroom was enviable, I can’t say I had been super optimistic about the 9+ hour flight but ‘Booksmart’, ‘Hustlers’ and a couple episodes of season 2 of ‘Derry Girls’ later, we had arrived.
We touched down at 14:30 to a sunny afternoon. I was thrilled – get me to the sun. But alas, the sun pretty much evaded us, as we spent the rest of the afternoon waiting in the customs line.
We’re familiar with a lengthy Caribbean customs queue, and so this one we decided to time it. 1 hr and 30 mins pretty much on the nose. There was one defector who skipped ahead to join friends, and there’s nothing quite like someone cutting a queue to show up all the English people in the vicinity. Someone shouted ‘Oi’ but otherwise the defectors went on unchallenged, whilst everyone in the queue quietly fumed about it and muttered to one another.
Amongst all the commotion, we made friends with another mother daughter duo behind us, who ended up being our resort buds, so alls well that end well!
Once we were clear of customs, we weren’t quite home free. Due to the inordinate amount of time we spent in customs the Suntransfers car I had booked us left. Not what we needed after a feature length movie on our feet.
Sucking it up we hopped in with another taxi company, keen to get the hotel and begin our holiday. I picked up the matter with Suntransfers later on.
By the time we’d got to Dreams the sky had clouded over, and the night was beginning to fall. After a chaste check in, we were driven to our room building in a little golf cart which seemed to be on the other side of the world, overlooking the new resort being built, It wasn’t the tropical view we’d exactly been hoping for.
The following day we moved rooms, and that is when it felt like the trip truly begun. Our new view, and new Room, whilst exactly the same as the last, felt a lot brighter and open due to all the light we got on the balcony.
Our days at the resort were relaxed to see the least. Whilst there was an extensive list of activities and fiestas each day, we spent all the hours the sun would allow languishing in the pool and at multiple bars around the complex!
As we stayed at an all inclusive catering mainly to American, British and German guests we didn’t get to taste any of the authentic food of the county. There was no Mofongo or Mangú on offer, although I did manage to eat my weight in plantain.
A definite highlight of the resort were the staff. I’m gonna go right on ahead and say, the men, in particular – I’ve never seen so many good looking people in one place! I had to really stop and ask myself, ‘does this hotel only hire attractive people, or is there something in the water and this is what everyone in the country looks like?’ With my only ports of call being Punta Cana airport and Dreams mere miles away – This question remains unanswered. I’ll have to go back and do a larger survey of the area.
I would love to return and visit the cities of the island. Punta Cana – is basically a no mans land featuring only hotels and resorts at the beach. No one actually lives there it seems. Do your research kids! With this trip being all about relaxation and rejuvenation, and only spanning 7 days – I didn’t fancy a 3 hour drive trip to Santo Domingo, but I would fly into it another time no question.
Another highlight of the trip was getting to speak the limited Spanish I knew with a variety of real life people. Having dropped the ball a bit on my language learning in recent months to focus on other goals, I was surprised at how much I remembered, and that people actually seemed to understand me. Being able to connect with people in another country in a language other than my mother tongue was a definite first for me here, and such a warm humbling feeling. Now I get why Damon and Jo love it so much. When the staff see holiday makers they don’t expect you to speak Spanish, or even attempt to, so whenever you did, there was a sense of gratitude or perhaps appreciation there.
At the peak of my performance I translated for a German man at a bar. For this I have to thank Mareike, my time in Maastricht and the heavens above.
Dominican Republic, you were beautiful – I look forward to seeing more of you next time.