Our trip to the Dominican was the biggest trip that Landon and I have ever been on. We actually have only stayed in a hotel together one other time as a married couple. I had never been to the beach or traveled out of the U.S. Can I just say that I was not disappointed in the least. The Dominican Republic is absolutely beautiful, and to think that we only saw a very small bit of it is remarkable. There are so many beautiful sights to see and explore there. I hope that we can see more of them in the future.
Most of our time there was spent at our resort, The Occidental Caribe, relaxing at the pool or on the beach. It was so nice for us to wake up and not have a to do list or day of work to be done. Our resort was surprisingly very nice and it was all inclusive!! I say surprisingly because I didn’t believe it existed before we arrived. LOL. I kept telling Landon that it was too good to be true and we were probably getting scammed one way or another. We booked it online so I was skeptical of everything. Once we arrived at the resort Landon gave me a hard time, “you didn’t even think this place was real”-said with extra sarcasm. When it’s your first time to book a vacation, get a passport, and leave the country on your own, you may feel like something is bound to go wrong. It was a true blessing that nothing did though.
The first morning we woke up and went straight out to the beach so I could see it for the first time. I was so moved by the vastness of the ocean and roaring of the waves. It was really such a cool moment for me. Our days at the resort all kind of blended together because we moved from beach to poolside every few hours. We are now tanner than we have ever been haha. Our favorite activity was simple. We spent at least an hour each day in the ocean playing. We played the silly game of trying to ride the waves on our tummy with our heads above the water. My favorite ocean activity was standing where the ocean was up to my chest and jumping on my toes when a big wave came trying to not let my head below the wave. Our time on the beach was dreamy. We had lots of unforgettable laughs and memories that we made in the ocean together.
When we spent time poolside or at the evening events that the resort hosted we noticed the amount of Europeans and tourists from other countries. To our surprise, about 40-50% of the tourists were European. For the first time we both experienced other cultures. We noticed some couples that were our age and made a point to try to meet them. Landon was the first to engage. He went up to one of the guys and gave him a compliment, funny enough, he did not know any English. Lol and Landon felt a bit silly. Turns out they were from Argentina. We got to know a little about them because one of the girls spoke good english but it was so fascinating for us to engage with people that don’t speak English as their first language. It was really cool and a learning experience. On the 4th day of our trip we ventured to Saona Island. My idea of the boat ride we were to take was much different than what we experienced. I was a little upset and out of my comfort zone because the tour was so unorganized and we were stuffed on a boat with 30-40 other people from other countries. My attitude wasn’t the best at the beginning of the day, but thanks to a little positive pep talk from the hubby, he helped me change my mindset. We made the best of it and ended up having the best time. Funny how that happens! We met some other tourists from France, Germany, Spain, and England. I was completely out of my comfort zone that day but ended up learning so much from that experience. On our way home we saw downtown Punta Cana, a sobering harsh reality for such a beautiful country. If you aren’t familiar with the DR, it is very poor in comparison to the U.S. We looked to our right and saw the most magnificent hotels we have ever seen. We looked to our left and saw people walking on foot or riding a moped by ruble and piles of trash. It was so sad and sobering for us to see. I know poverty exists, but seeing it with your own eyes in another country hits you in a new way.
Another part of this trip that is worth mentioning are the drives that we experienced from destinations. It was quite an experience. I would compare driving in the DR to driving bumper cars at the amusement park. There are rules but no one follows them very well. A stop sign is more like a “kind of yield” sign. Come across a stop light? No worries, just drive around the stop light by cutting across two lanes of traffic. Is someone in your way? No problem just give them a loud honk or even better, a little tap on the bumper. If anything is really dangerous in the DR, I would say it is the driving. I am here to say, we survived the streets of the DR!
Our last two days might have been the best two days. We met a couple from Germany and became good friends with them. They both knew pretty good English so we were able to ask them the vast amount of questions that we had about living in another country. They also loved learning about life here in the U.S. Meeting Mina and Laudi will always be an unforgettable memory. It is so uplifting to meet kind people from around the world. After a few conversations we learned, we are not as different as our preconceived thoughts told us we were. Kind people are everywhere.
Our trip to the Dominican was amazing. We will cherish the memories we made and the people that we met. We hope for many more of these experiences to come. Trying to get all the travel in before we settle down with kids someday! Wish you all love and happiness!!