Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nuestra Luna De Miel en la Luperon Beach Resort

I kept a journal of all the happenings on our Honeymoon...the disasters, the beautiful scenery, and our exciting adventures!

Day 1: 8.15.09
We're on our way to San Antonio to begin our Honeymoon! We have several things planned for our trip and I can't wait to see EVERYTHING!

Disaster #1—Flat Tire

While on the freeway from Austin to San Antonio we begin to hear a funny noise in the car. Tyler begins messing with the mirrors to see if it’s something with our tires – yep! The back left tire had a leak, so we pulled over & tried to fix it. Tyler worked so hard & he FINALLY got the lug nuts off…freaking Firestone, with their electronic tightening stuff. So, he puts the spare on only to find out that it’s low. We went to the nearest gas station to fill it; eventually, we did get back on the road! Praise the Lord for keeping us safe through the whole situation.

In San Antonio, we met up with Tyler’s family. We chatted & hung out until midnight…not a smart idea since we have a 6am flight in the morning. =)

Day 2: 8.16.09
Wow—early morning! 3:20am came sooner than I had anticipated. The drive from Spring Branch (where we stayed) to the airport car parking isn’t too far away & we end up getting there at 4:45. So, we’re making good time! Eagerly awaiting the 5am shuttle, we rush in once the gate opens so that we can catch our 6am flight to DFW Airport.

Disaster #2—Late Airport Arrival

We arrive to check in for our flight at 5:35am. I don’t really know how that’s possible since we left at 5:10 from the parking lot. Ridiculous. Tyler & I wait in line for FOREVER, only to be told by the lady at the counter that we are too late. “I don’t know what to tell you; I can’t check your bags for this flight because you are too let for international check-in.” Tyler & I look at each other & he tells her, “well, we’ve paid for this trip. We are going. Is there another flight that we could catch & our bags will make it to the Dominican?” Luckily there was a flight at 6:15am—but the lady was ridiculous & acted as if there were NO other options for us.

So, we catch the 6:15 flight; a short layover in DFW…then our flight to Miami. Fly to Miami, get there safely. Eat lunch there because we ate breakfast at 4am! The layover in Miami is kinda long, ~3.5 hours.

Finally we board the flight to Santo Domingo!!! As we fly in, we get delayed because the coordination of flights coming in has screwed up the gate system. So we wait…but we are here & super excited!

Waiting for our luggage takes FOREVER. I have quickly learned that this is a laid back culture. They put ONE BAG on the belt at a time! I have never waited so long for luggage in my entire life! 50 minutes later, we get our bags. Off to Alamo / National to pick up our rental car!

As we wait for our car, I call the resort to tell them that we made it but will be late. Seeing as how our flight was delayed, the luggage took forever, & we receive the car, it is pitch black outside & raining. We tell the man with the rental car where we’re headed—Luperon. He tells us we have a long drive ahead of us & Juan (aka Cookie Monster) drives us to the main road—which takes forever. (The entire time, I’m freaking out in the backseat because 1. I don’t know this man, 2. I don’t know this country, & 3. The driving is RIDICULOUS!) I could not watch him drive because he was absolutely crazy. In essence, we should have incurred a MILLION driving disasters, but thankfully the Lord kept us safe! We pay Juan (way too much, of course, because we are young Americans on our Honeymoon, & we just landed in the DR). =)

Driving here is nuts! I can never tell Tyler how to drive again! Hahaha!

After driving for 3 hours, we arrive in Puerto Plata. We search for a road that will take us to Luperon along the ocean. There isn’t one that we can find. We call the resort & ask for directions—“head to Imbert & it’ll bring you here.” We drive around for what seemed like an hour or more & see a Brugal sign (tiny as ALL get out!) to Luperon. We have called the resort about 4 times & we eventually get on the right path!

There are very few street signs here & that bugs me to no end.

We finally make it to the resort by 1:30am! Yay!! We have been up for almost 24 hours on 3 hours of sleep; we couldn’t be more exhausted, but the resort is awesome!

Day #3: 8.17.09

This morning we wake up at 10am (which is conveniently when breakfast ends), we realize that we haven’t eaten since 11am on Sunday…& it’s Monday. We eagerly await lunch at 12:30pm! So we explore the resort & all that it has to offer, simply amazing! Pools, flamingoes, peacocks, water sports, beautiful flowers, etc.

We talk to people at the resort & find out that Tyler needs pants for the restaurant so we decide to go into town & find some. We find him some “Havana Republic” khakis with a belt; we only paid 375 pesos for them! =)

Also, there are vendors on the resort beach. We bought a DR photo book & some vanilla cigars. Originally the vendor, Dominic, wanted $80 & we talked him down to $40. Still, it is a rip off—but I am SUPER excited about making our photo album!

Today, we went kayaking—I know I’ll be extremely sore tomorrow but it was a blast! As I was trying to get on the beach, a wave came & completely wiped me out! Everyone laughed, & I did too, but it did hurt a ton.

Dinner at the buffet & afterwards, we were going to play Bingo—instead kids are doing singing & dance-alongs. It’s so cute! Adults are then up on the stage & they begin to dance. Tyler & I get pulled up to play a game. The guys gives ups 6 instructions & if we don’t follow them correctly we are knocked out. Some old lady from England gets knocked out first, then Tyler, & then me. There were 5 of us up there, it was a lot of fun!

There was reported to be a tropical storm on the south side of the island—thankfully we only got a ton of rain. The rain brought the “animacion” show to the piano lounge—The Blues Brothers! It was so funny & we had a great time!

Day #4: 8.18.09

I wake up this morning & there is a CRAB in the bathroom! Tyler saves the day by scooping the crab up in our ice bucket & a plate we had in the room! =)

After breakfast, we take a horseback ride with a guide—it was so beautiful! I hade a great time! The Lord is amazing! He did a wonderful job with the lush scenery, beach, mountains, flowers, etc. WOW! There are so many beautiful sights to see here.

We snorkeled today & it was really hard for me—Tyler is good at it, naturally. It’s totally mental. The idea of breathing under water freaks me out. We lay out on the beach for a while & read.

Ater we get cleaned up, Tyler & I venture about 5 minutes away from the resort & find Playa Grande. There were a few great sights to see: an abandoned discotheque, a fun beach, & cliffs! We decided that we were going to come back to climb the rocks, but today we walked on the beach & plenty of pictures were taken in & around the disco!

After dinner, we went to what we thought would be a show—it ended up being karaoke! There were some crazy people who had been drinking way too much! But it was so funny to hear everyone!

Day #5: 8.19.09

Zip lining! What an incredible adventure! We got to see so many amazing sights & it is ranked the #1 thing to do in the Dominican Republic! So, we did it!

I have never seen so many trees & flowers atop huge mountains in my life. Tyler & I took several pictures & Tyler even videoed himself zip lining down!

We drove for an hour & a half to get there, with many small towns that we drove through & neat shops!

Once we finished, Tyler road with our guide on his motorbike to get our car. All trip long we have been hoping or the opportunity to ride a motorcycle & finally Tyler got to do it!

We made it back just in time for lunch at the resort. Afterwards, it was time for a siesta! –That is something that I love about this culture! =) After our nap, Tyler & I went to the beach, laid out, & then created our first sand castle.

We washed up & went to bachata lessons that the resort offers—Ashley Sanchez & Brittany Ward, y’all should be SO proud! Tyler was given the “Dominican Massage” where 2 male instructors put him between them & shook their hips from side to side while a female instructor grabbed his booty! It was quite hilarious & then he began to move his hips!

After the dance lessons, we went back to Playa Grande & climbed a few cliffs & explored the area—we took beautiful pictures, found a fossilized shell, & had a good time watching the tide come int.

Dinner at the resort was good & then we went to watch the show at the resort: Moulin Rouge. What we saw was really good, but super loud!

So far, everything has been truly incredible! We have had a wonderful time here.

Day #6: 8.20.09

Holy snaps; the 27 Charcos was the most amazing thing we have ever done! We only did 12 because of the rain, but it made our adventure that much more intense & exciting!

Our guide, Nino, was a BEAST—he said that his nickname is La Machina, totally fitting!

We hiked ~20 minutes to the first waterfall & then kept going to the 12th. The Lord handcrafted a glorious work in the Dominican!

I can’t fully explain what it was like to jump/slide down the waterfalls, but with my fear of heights, the first one was scary—but completely awesome! I realized that we were getting more brave with the progression of each waterfall.

Nino scaled a wall of cliffs—it was then that Tyler developed his man crush. There were times that I could not climb up the waterfall because the water was so strong, so Nino just curled me with one hand up a waterfall. Intense!

I think my favorite jump was off the cliff & down into a canyon—it was about a 15-20 foot fall. What a thrill! My favorite slide was this really curvy one—it naturally curved 2 times before shooting you out about 5 feet & then down into the water!

Tyler’s favorite jump was the BIGGEST one—a clear 30 foot drop; it was amazing! His favorite slide was a short straight slide with an 8 foot shoot into the water! It was an incredible slide!

I felt super pathetic when Nino would jump down after Tyler & I would do & he’d swim all the way to the next waterfall before I could even swim to where I could stand.

Nino was & is a machine! Along the path a vendor was set up. Tyler tried haggling with him. We bought a wrap for me, & I like it!

We made it back just in time for lunch & now we are lounging in the room because we are completely exhausted!

After our nap, laying out, & getting ready—we headed off to dinner. It was the BEST meal EVER. Mexican buffet: delicious guacamole & salsa. The ice cream, caramel flavor, & cinnamon pears were delectable! Tyler dipped his churros in the cinnamon sauce—so yummy! So now, here I sit, overeaten without anywhere to work it off because it is pouring outside! We are on the path of Hurricane Bill, right where it is suppose to turn north & head to the states…prayerfully it continues down that path! We have only been hit with high winds & heavy rain.

Praise the Lord for everything! He has been good to us!

Tonight, instead of a show we just played games with the “animacion” team. There was this adult game we watched: 4 different balloon popping positions! Wow…it was definitely a game that I have never seen before! Afterward, we went up & danced—it was so much fun! After doing a line dance, we get in a circle & dance with our partner in the middle, one couple at a time. It was Tyler & I’s turn & we had decided to do a flip! It totally worked & Tyler didn’t drop me! Afterward, people came up to us & compliments us! We dubbed it the Texas Flip since so many people there called us “Texas.” =)

All in all, it was an absolutely great day!

Day #7: 8.21.09

This morning, we attempted to take windsurfing lessons; however, there was no wind—so we decided to goof around in the ocean. We met a local, his name is Kevin. He was super nice & rode waves with us. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t really met many (if any) white people because after we were done riding waves, he took a picture of both of us & then one with each one of us. It was fun & he was nice; he invited us to go to the disco in Luperon—however, we knew we weren’t going to go into town to pay for a disco when we had one that we already paid for at the resort.

After laying out for a while, we went to lunch & then went into Puerto Plata. Everywhere in this place we have seen Brugal sings, so we decided to find out what the buzz was: Brugal Rum. We went to the factory & took a tour. It was really interesting because I never knew how rum was made. Tyler LOVES taking tours of any kind, so he had a great time!

After our tour, we ventured around Puerto Plata & found a market. Tyler is really good at haggling! It is something the Lord didn’t bless me with though…

So we were thinking about our trip to the resort: what a miracle it was that we made it there with one tank of gas! It was definitely the Lord’s way of taking car of us! We tracked how much gas it takes us to get to Hwy 5: almost a quarter of a tank. It was a 30 minute drive. So, how then could we have made a 5 hour drive with a quarter of tank left in the car? The Lord totally provided for us!

Day #8: 8.22.09

After eating breakfast we went off to Puerto Plata! We took a cable car to Mount Isabella—it was truly beautiful! The air was so cool, the flowers & trees were incredible, & my wonderful husband with me to see it all! We took so many pictures & had a great time.

We came back to the resort for lunch & now we are relaxing because it’s terribly hot here.

The show last night was probably the best one eve! It was a parody of old songs—my favorite was “Had the Time of My Life (& I owe it all to you…).” My 2 favorite dancers danced together & one guy was dressed up as a girl! Oh, it was hilarious! I wonder what tonight’s show will be?!

Tonight, we went to the A La Carte Restaurant instead of the buffet. It was Brazilian…yummy! Multiple meats, potato, rice, & dessert; needless to say, I’m stuffed. After dinner Tyler & I went for a walk…as we normally do after dinner. He took me to a place at the resort & we danced to his ipod—super sweet! On top of that, when we went to get ready for dinner, he put flowers on my towel & set up a plate with a note, my rings, & flowers—again, amazingly sweet! I’m truly blessed to be married to such a wonderful, God fearing man!

Day #9: 8.23.09

This morning, we packed up for Santo Domingo. We decided that we were going to stay in Santo Domingo since we are flying out of there. Plus, this time…it was daylight, & it was beautiful! Santo Domingo is very Americanized compared to all the other cities & towns here! Driving here…yikes. We stopped at a light, it was both red & green. What in the world does this mean?!

We arrived in Santo Domingo in only 3 hours & 15 minutes. =) When we checked into our room, we changed & then walked around by the Caribbean Ocean. We decided to eat at the restaurant close to the hotel. It was a fun place with parrots around the restaurant & seating over the ocean! Beautiful.

Day #10: 8.24.09

Flying home…took forever! We had a 7 hour layover in Miami…I finished a book & Tyler registered for classes. We were productive with our layovers! I got to see Mom & Dad during our DFW layover.

We flew into San Antonio & eventually made it back to Austin by 1:30am!

Home Sweet Home!

PS-Pictures are SOON to follow!

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