Friday, June 18, 2010

five tickets to paradise

pretty paradise

We finally arrived at our coveted family trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic this week.  This is where Columbus travelled in 1493 on his second voyage to the new world. We have planned this celebratory vacation for two years and some things are worth waiting for; this is one of them.  Everything went perfectly as planned - the air trip was non-stop for four hours, weather was in the high 80s with a breeze at night and we bonded as a family the whole time.  This was so needed as the Winds have endured quite a ride these last few years and we prevailed, so we were overdue a relaxing few days together.  Thanks be to our God. 
boys on the beach

This is my favorite picture of all my boys for as soon as we settled in, they all dashed to the beach.  Wayne still has on his travelling clothes - he couldn't wait to change.  Apple Vacations is aces - highly recommend them and we upgraded to Preferred Club which offered us the opportunities to bypass lines at the airport, choose great seats on the plane and overall being pampered to the hilt by the staff at Dreams.  We felt like celebrities the whole time.  Room service kept coming in to bring special treats everyday and we had our own private office to cool off and get my daily cappuccino and mammajuana.  Besides rum, honey, vanilla and cigars, this is the drink the land is famous for - it is made of red wine, rum (of course) and honey and you drink it as a shot.  It actually tastes like Polish whiskey and runs through your veins.  Nice and smooth. Their joke is when mama drink it, mama gonna wanna.  Hardy har har.  As a sidebar, I am sipping a lovely new wine I discovered called Brancott Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.  It has such a beautiful taste and I highly recommend this if you are a wine lover. My best friend the whole time was my maggie raggie, a moist cloth that I wiped the sweat with, and my bottled water.  Being a third world country, it is imperative not to drink the tap water to avoid getting sick.  The country is very poor but it is building rapidly, hence, they call it the new Caribbean.
first night dinner at Oceana

The funny thing about this trip is I actually lost a few pounds while eating breakfast buffet, a grilled burger with loads of pickles for lunch and lovely dinners every single day.  I think this happened by sweating profusely, guzzling water and walking all day.  Note to self - sweat my ass off.  The boys did their own thing during the day, cruising the pool, tiki bars and hanging around the beach on their own or at times hooking up with each other throughout the day, but our nights were spent together, something of a rare occurrence in real life.  It was divine, and a memory I will cherish forever.  Thanks, boys.  Wayne and I realized they are young men now, with different schedules so for our next trip we will make sure they all have their own rooms.  I am mentally planning San Diego as our next destination which will undoubtedly include their significant others. 
flamingos in yoga pose

The grounds at Dreams were immaculate and we so enjoyed our little flamingo friends, macaws, cameleons and even a monkey and iguana.  Steve happened to spot a huge spider that looked like a tarantula.  The land is 200 miles closer to the equator than Hawaii.  The breezes at night from the water were spectacular and we had a beautiful bonfire with music playing one night. We were entertained by the Entertainment Team each evening with a show and one night we watched the movie 16  Blocks on the big screen outdoors.   Between the stars, the waves and the serenity of the surroundings, we were mesmerized.  I must give a huge shout out to every single member of the staff, for their genuine hospitality and smiles were welcoming throughout the whole trip.  It is not uncommon to run into a bartender or staff member who will sing and dance out of nowhere just because.  It was very refreshing.  They were eager to please us at all times.  Every person you passed looked us in the eyes, smiled and said Hola (hello). 
slow stroll after the spa

This is a picture of me after a wondrous spa experience at the wellness center, compliments of Wayne-O.  I am terrible about making time to indulge back home and here I had the time to be pampered.  Upon entering the spa, I was greeted with a glass of special chlorophylled water and each sip was more refreshing than the last.  The glass was even wrapped in a napkin with a dainty flower on it.  Their menu included one hour in the hydromassage area where I followed a list of a dozen different things to do prior to massage.  Sensation shower, followed by steam room (where I sweat once again) then in the hydra pool with powerful fountains with pulsations that feel as if someone is giving a tapotement therapy on the neck and upper back.  After 20 minutes I entered the rustic shower, then sauna room, followed by ice pool, sauna, and sensation shower again.  I felt really rejuvenated afterwards only to be greeted by my therapist who took me to a secluded villa to receive a glorious 80 minute massage.  Heaven on earth!  I left that place a new woman.  Wayne awaited my return so he could click this picture just to capture my buzz on film. I even cried I was so happy to feel so good.  I tried to convince all the guys to get this treatment, but they weren't interested.  Give them a few years.
me and all my goods

Another fine cocktail we enjoyed was the coco loco, made with rum, creme de cacao and a tiny topping of cinnamon.  It is not as sweet as the pina colada and very tasty.  Here is me with my rag, water and cocktail taking a break from the sun under the shade of our tiki hut at the hipster commune area.  This trip is on the top of our list of happy trails and we are just getting started.  Look out, world, we are ready to see you.   

Hola, mi amigo! xo