Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Gosh, a LOT has happened since I last blogged! Had an awesome vacation - short, but great. Moved Colin in to Radford. And now back at work and having a BUSY life. I've been meaning to get this blog up for days, and even tried last night but got disgusted when my computer refused to upload photos from my trip. We'll see if I can get any to plop in today.
On August 12 we traveled to northern VA to say with my sister's youngest son & his family. This was fantastically fun, as I haven't had a chance to be around his sons (approx ages 4 & 2) very much. We called it an early night as we had a 6am flight...meaning a 3am wakeup call!
Got up & to Dulles, on the flight & to Miami with no issues. Had about a 3 hour layover in Miami before boarding to the DR. That flight was uneventful as well, and before we knew it - BOOM - we were there! Located our taxi, and off to the hotel we went. The first place we stayed (for the first night only) was quite lovely. If I can upload a pic, here it comes...
Well...obviously it's not going to work from my home computer, so I'll have to see what I can do to provide a picture blog later. Anyway, I arrived to a welcome drink (rum punch) and a beautiful room with fantastic murals painted on the wall. This place had a wonderful pool as well, though we didn't stay long enough to use it.
We changed some money at the hotel and decided to go out exploring. We had two missions: 1) find some alcohol (hey-it's vacation!), and 2) try to locate the office of the real estate agent that had arranged the lodging for the rest of the stay, and who was going to show Bob & Nancy some potential properties they could purchase.
We found the alcohol at the Super Super. I love that name! Shopping for alcohol with Bob is an adventure, because to call him cheap makes him sound like a high-roller compared to what he really is. God love him, and so do I, but I could NOT live with him...let's just say that. (More to follow on this subject later-LOL!) Anyway, I found a couple of bottles of wine that fit the bill, and Nancy picked up a small rum. Back on the streets to hunt down the real estate agent.
The interesting thing about getting around, at least where we were (Sosua sp?) was that while the streets had signs with names on them, none of the buildings had numbers. Makes it kinda fun to find an address, huh? Walked up and down the street we thought she was on for what seemed like an eternity before we finally stumbled into a shop whose owner knew the lady, and she gave us directions. We found the office, but she was not in. At least now Bob knew where it was so he could stop worrying about it.
Returned to our rooms to shower & get ready for dinner. I had not been so drenched with sweat since a marathon training run - long run variety! Little did I know, this 'drenched in sweat' thing would be a daily occurrence! We had dinner at the hotel restaurant, which was excellent, and retreated to bed exhausted for the day. I slept well, though was surprised at the noise level all night long. There are tons of vehicles running around at all hours, but at night the small motorcycles (which you see TONS of during the day) dominate the traffic. Every time I woke up, I heard one or more racing by.
Up the next morning and breakfast (free) at the hotel restaurant. This was our first experience with 'coffee' (really espresso) in the DR. More to follow on that later. The real estate lady came and got us, and we were off to our accommodations for the rest of the trip.
Our condo was interesting, to say the least. We did not realize, we were renting from the owner, who was looking to sell but would rent in the meantime. The condo was in a building that was mostly people living in the area. That was nice in a way, as they would all be at work during the day, leaving the pool to us without a lot of others to fight for space. It was weird in a way, though, like no front desk to arrange for anything. We were on our own.
There were other interesting facets. Between the three of us, we speak English. Bob knows a little, little Spanish. Andrea, the real estate lady, knew German (her nationality), Spanish, and French cuss words. The condo owner was French, and maybe knew a tad of Spanish. Communication was...uhm...interesting.
We found out one reason the condo was so reasonable (cheap) early on - no air conditioning! Well, technically there WAS A/C, but for an added price, and it was only a wall unit in one room. There were ceiling fans, though, and we decided that would work. More on this to follow as well...
Andrea had to go, as she had another appointment, which left Bob & Rocco to finish the logistics. Rocco showed Bob everything he needed to know, and we discovered that he would be on site, in another unit, overnight and through the morning in case we needed anything. More on this later...
After our adventure in 'communication' we headed out to get our supplies. The plan was to have breakfast & dinner in the condo each day, and to eat lunch out, so we had food and supplies to buy. (We also found another reason for the 'on the cheap' condo, as it was not exactly well apportioned. I'm talking not even a dish towel or potholder in the place.) So we made a list & off we went.
We had no clue where a close market was. We had driven past one on the trip from the hotel to the condo, but it seemed a long distance to walk. (DO not even think taxi! Not ever! (say that in Bob's penny strangling voice)) The first direction we went did not pan out or look promising, so we turned around & went back, and then turned down a different road. Eventually found a market that had many, but not all the things we needed. What was notably lacking was any meat, and knowing we needed to feed a man dinner...this was concerning. Nancy decided to make a pasta & bean concoction that she thought she could sell Bob on for dinner. (He, of course, complained about how expensive the canned beans were compared to the dry beans, but Nancy put her foot down on that one!) We also found a vegetable market with everything we needed and then some. With our backpacks loaded, we headed back to the condo and made ourselves a nice lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches.
Next up was the condo pool. Oh my, I wish I could upload a picture here. It was beautiful, and we had it all to ourselves save a young mother and two children. The kids, two little girls, loved showing off for us! We loved immersing ourselves in the water for relief from the heat. The pool was quite warm (how could it help?), but it was wet and refreshing in that way. After some fun, back to the condo to prepare a bean & pasta concoction...with local veggies for a salad on the side!
Well, the hour draws late & I have to leave for a doctor appointment & then on to work. I've now taken you through the first 2 days of my vacation. Hopefully I'll get the rest (and maybe even pics) posted within the next 24 hours or so. Stay tuned...it WAS an adventure!