Paradise. That’s what I found as we landed in the homeland of my mother. From the plane, we could see how clear and blue the Caribbean Sea was as the we slowly descended towards the runway. I took great pleasure in seeing Cole look down in amazement at the views from the plane window. It’s his first time experiencing the Caribbean and his reaction didn’t disappoint. But, could you blame him?
We were supposed to meet my aunt and uncle in the terminal since they had arrived 2 hours ahead of us, but there was no way to enter the airport from the arrival gate. It isn’t like most airports at Gregorio Luperón International Airport in Puerto Plata. In most airports, you get off the plane and walk through the airport among the other gates to get to customs and baggage claim. At this airport, it’s everyone’s final destination, so they herd you from the plane, straight down an escalator and to customs. Nowhere to sit down, nowhere to wait. So my parents, Cole and I hardly noticed the Dominican band set up at the bottom of the escalator, playing island music and welcoming us to their country. We were more worried about the two Idahoans who didn’t speak Spanish and were supposed to be waiting for us in the airport and couldn’t be found. My mom is known to be somewhat of a worry-wart. I think I take after her a little….
As soon as we made our way through customs and got our bags (the airport is very small and there’s only one way to go), we found them waiting for us outside. Once we said our hellos, we let my mom negotiate a taxi ride for all 6 of us to the Viva Wyndham Tangerine. The taxi ride was interesting. We were put into a newer Chevy Suburban — which surprised me since I thought most of the population in Dominican Republic was poor — and began our 40 minute journey to Cabarete. On the way, we drove through hoards of 2 cylinder motorcycles, some with 3 people on one bike and carrying bags of groceries. My mother-in-law would have a heart attack if she saw the little babies that were sitting in front of someone who also was carrying two other people on a tiny motorcycle.
In Dominican Republic, most of the taxis are motorcycles and people can be seen standing on the side of the road waiting for one of these taxis to ride by to pick them up. I will try to post video of these guys in a later post. They zip around everywhere. And there’s apparently no rules of the road here. Cars, motorcycles and even huge Mack trucks will drive on any surface they’re able, no matter if it’s the right side of the road or not. Very different than the States, for sure…
Once we got to the resort, it was almost 4pm so there wasn’t much for us to do other than get situated and have dinner. I wasn’t much impressed with the resort at first glance. It’s very small, maybe a total of 5 buildings, with two average sized pools and one bar, and the food the first night was horrible. The only thing they served was seafood. Don’t take me wrong, I like seafood, but usually a buffet means there are several different options. My dad said it’s because Sunday is a transition day and there’s not that many people around.
The resort reminds me of Dirty Dancing… they really do have waitstaff and the entertainment crew. Only this entertainment crew speaks mostly Spanish and they not only dance during their show, they also lip sync. But they were lip syncing English songs and it seemed like they didn’t really know the words. I’m still trying to understand why they insisted on lip syncing instead of just dancing. It would’ve been a much better show….
After the show, we went to bed and that was our first day on vacation. Tomorrow I will post Day Two, which was a lot of sunbathing and playing in the ocean, but I’ll leave the details for tomorrow.