Monday, October 29, 2007

Dominican Republic

After 5 years of talking about going on an exotic vacation, a destination list which is several pages long, we finally did it. We chose to go to the Dominican Republic because Dave served his mission there about 10 years ago and I wanted something tropical. We made an excellent choice and had a great time. For those who want details, or even those who don't, here is a day-by-day description or our vacation.

Day 1

Technically this day started at 11:40pm the night before. That is when our flight left from Phoenix bound for Atlanta. We arrived around 6am not having slept a wink and all we could think about was finding a quiet corner to spread out. There were plenty to choose from, but unfortunately the Atlanta airport is kept at Arctic temperatures.

We gave up on that quickly. It was the latest we've stayed up since college. At least for me. For those that knew Dave, you know he never went to bed past 10:30.

We arrived in the D.R. around 2:30pm where we checked out the grounds of the resort and relaxed. We fought to stay awake until about 8:30 when we crashed.


This was a Sunday so we awoke early and went to church in the city. I didn't understand more than a few words during the 3 hours, but it was quite the cultural experience. Dave didn't bother to tell me that women like to kiss cheeks when they meet. I think it was more of an ear on the first attempt. Dave was surprised that even after ten years there were still several people in the ward who remembered him, including this family he taught. The father is now the second counselor in the bishopric.

The rest of the day we relaxed and went for a walk on the beach in the evening. This is a picture of the sunset.


This was another day of relaxing. We spent this day on the beach and planning out the rest of the week. We thought it would be fun to take before and after photos to show off our newly acquired tans. Here are the before shots (WARNING: due to glare, sunglasses are advised).

The beach at our resort was really nice. There was plenty of room for sun, but there were also a lot of palm trees for shade when it got too hot.


Today we went on an "Outback Safari" tour. They fit 24 people in the back of a jeep/truck and get to experience different facets of Dominican life.

First we drove through the countryside to see lots of Dominican vistas and typical rural Dominican lifestyle. This is a picture of a typical Dominican home. This experience definitely made us grateful for all that we have.

Next we went to a river where after being pestered by a few local boys for Pesos, Dave taught them a lesson with a 5-on-1 wrestling match.

Next we had lunch and saw some Dominican wildlife on a riverboat ride, including tarantulas, snakes, iguanas and alligators. For those who haven't seen Dave in a while, he's the skinny one...without the tale.

Lastly we were off to the beach for some fun boogey boarding. Our beach at the resort didn't have great waves, but this one did. Carly got wiped out by several before calling it quits.

Dave had a blast.

We arrived back at the resort exhausted.


Today we woke early and took a 2 1/2 drive up the coast to the western end of the country. Here we hopped on speed boats and drove through a maze of government-protected mangroves. It was pretty cool how we could see the the roots growing right into the water.

The boats took us to "Paradise Island" or as we prefer to call it "Paradise Sandbar". Here we spent a few hours watching our tour guide makeout with his girlfriend. We did manage to pull ourselves away from the excitement to go snorkeling, which was pretty amazing. These pictures don't do it justice. Unfortunately the coral reefs were about 30 feet under where the lighting wasn't sufficient for our disposable water-proof camera.

We finished the day the same as we did most days, playing one-on-one Cribbage and Gin.

Day 6

Today we decided to be adventurous and take a self-guided tour of Puerto Plata. Tourist price: $90. Tour guide Dave: $20. This included catching a ride into the city in a small van with 8 Dominican locals in a Guagua. These are the D.R.'s version of public transportation. We visited the Fort San Felipe where Dave fails to mention for the countless time that he is the one that speaks Spanish, not me. So the 90 year old caretaker proceeded to give me a very detailed history of the site. Dave's translation lasted all of 15 seconds.

Next we took a motoconcho (three adults on a small motorcycle, I bet the people who paid full price didn't get that experience) to the base of Mount Isabel de Torres. We took a lift to the top of the peak, where there were miles of trails that we wandered for about an hour. It was a beautiful sight.

Apparently Dave wasn't exagerating when he said there were wild chickens everywhere in the D.R. We even saw some at the top of the highest peak in the area. According to our Paradise Island tour guide, once you eat steroid-free chicken, you can never go back.

This is us posing on a bridge at the top of the peak. Because we didn't want to pay any of the oh-so-helpful "guides" to take a picture of us, we had to place the camera in strategic places with a timer. This was the best picture we got. The rest were a little awkward.

Day 7
On the last morning before heading home we relaxed on the beach. Here is a shot of Dave sunbathing. Notice this is the same shot as the before photo. Due to the wonders of SPF 30 we decided to conserve film and use the same photo for the before and after shots.
All in all we had a great and relaxing time. Thanks again to Katie and Darci for watching Addison. They've agreed to do it again next year, right?


The Allen's said...

What a fun trip! Love the pictures. The snorkeling looks awesome. Not sure how missionairies ever get anything done in places like that- it's so pretty! Makes me ready to go on a vacation. I probably should wait awhile though!

Scott said...

Jealous jealous jealous!

daherfamily said...

i agree with scott, jealous, jealous, jealous!!! it looks like you had so much fun.

Cameron and Shannon said...

Looks like you guys had so much fun! I wish Cameron and I could get away like that it looked like so much fun!

Merianne said...

Great pictures! Looks like you guys had a good time. There's nothing better than tropical vacations! Next time you go give us a call. :)

Browns said...

I'm glad you guys had a good time. I've been meaning to call you but carter got sick this week so I figure we shouldn't hang out. But we should when he gets better!!

Seth & Lindsay said...

What a great trip!

Steve and Cyndi said...

How fun to go back to where you served! Looks like a great time was had by all!