This, my friends, is what you have all been waiting for. The summary for what Warren and I did while we were away last week in the Dominican Republic.
It all started last Friday, Oct. 14th. I had a pretty rough day at work, and didn't get home til 7pm. But when I did get home, I was treated to a FANTASTIC dinner by my wife. She had prepared kofte (Turkish style meat balls - but not ball shape, more like squished oval shape), with rice, mac & cheese, and salad. I was floored! And it was all so good - thank you Mrs. Pimpson.
So I packed my stuff, and ate my dinner, and waited for Warren to arrive. I was expecting him sometime before 10pm, since that was our planned departure time from Ottawa to drive down to Toronto to catch our flight. So guess how surprised I was when I got a phone call from him at 9:30 saying he couldn't find his passport! Well - I told Warren that he could still get through customs in both countries with a driver's licence and a birth certificate. So he got his crap and showed up. (it should be mentioned that later he found his passport while we were IN the Dominican - it was in his work folder!)
So we hit the road to Toronto around 10pm, traffic wasn't bad, we stopped once for drinks and a pee, and eventually arrived at Pearson around 2:30am. We parked at the ParknFly and caught the shuttle to the terminal. Then we waited for a while. I started a book, 24 - Operation Hell Gate (based on the TV series), to help pass the time.
After we cleared the security gates, we passed by a Bell internet station, a search my pockets and found some change, enough to buy me one minute of blogging time - that gave us this gem. Warren actually took a picture of this momentus occasion, he said he would email it to me over this coming week - it will definitely be posted.
The plane ride down was ok. Slept through most of it b/c I was DEAD tired. I believe they played the movie Batman Begins - haven't seen it. They served up some crappy rendition of breakfast - eggs and bread mixed together - then nuked beyond recognition. I still ate it all though. We landed in Puerto Plata around 11am (no time zone change - for those who care). Then we were bused to our hotel: The Grand Flamenco.
The hotel was great. Nice, friendly staff, well kept grounds, great food, and judging from Warren on more than one occasion, the booze did the trick in terms of getting you drunk. We first we setup in a crappy, older room. But we bitched for three days straight and got switched into a much better one: bigger bathroom, newer overall condition, and the TV had a remote control. Woohoo! Priorities....
We spent most of our time at the pool - whether it was beside it or in it. They had one of those swim-up bars - but I was told you could only get beer there - I was drinking mostly fruit punch and 7up. Good mix actually...
They have the buffet restaurant for breakfast lunch and dinner - but they also have 4 a-la-carte restaurants that you can go to (after making reservations). The best of the 4 was Brazilian. It was like dim-sum, where you just sit and all the food comes to you. They had 6 different waiters wandering around with grilled meat on swords. You would simply call the guy you wanted over, he'd stick his sword on the table and slice you off a piece of that meat. They had chicken, turkey, beef, pork ribs, lamb, & fish. The beef was the best - by far.
The beach at this particular location - Playa Dorada - wasn't all that great. The sand wasn't the nice white sand you expect, it was very brown and ordinary. The water wasn't that turquoise colour you would expect either, and it had lots of seaweed in it. The last thing about the beach area that pissed me off were the vendors. At any given point, you had about three different local vendors trying to sell their junk. Little necklaces, wind chimes, t shirts, drums, hats, everything. And they all seemed to missing an important word from their English vocabulary - NO. For crying out loud - they would not take NO for an answer. Anyway...
One night we went to Mangu - the area's nightclub. Half meringue and Latino rap, and a 50-cent song here and there. It was fun, I gather the drinks were expensive, but at least the bar was VERY air-conditioned. Not hot or humid at all, which was very nice.
We did one day trip away from the hotel. We took a bus - with a lot of other tourists - to the downtown area of Puerto Plata. We visited the rum factory, amber museum, some old fort built to defend against pirates or something, and these two jewelry shops. In hindsight, I think the whole trip was a setup to take the tourists places to get them to spend more money. The worst part was we even paid for the trip. After visiting these places, we went about 20 kms away to the Bay of Sosua, a beautiful beach with the white sand and turquoise water I was talking about earlier. However, as lovely as the beach was - it too had HUNDREDS of vendors. And these ones were even worse, not only would they not take NO for an answer, they would literally grab you by the arm and pull you into their shops.
We did meet an interested lady while we were down there, and some of you might know her. Her name is Wilma. Luckily our experience with her wasn't as bad as some tourists down in Cancun and Cozumel - my thoughts are with them. I think the worst part of Wilma we experienced was one night when it rained VERY hard, it was also very windy. We, like everyone on our resort, just stayed in our room and waited that night out. In the morning we noticed our room was flooded with an inch of water, but this was a good thing because it helped us get the room upgrade I mentioned above.
Coming home, the flight was ok back to Toronto. We had to make a quick stop in Punta Cana to pick up some other tourists also going back to Toronto. The movie on the way home was Fantastic Four - seemed good watching it on MUTE (I wasn't willing to pay the $5 for a headset). They served a dinner, some kind of veggie pasta.
We landed in Toronto around 5:30pm Saturday night. It was 7pm when we finally got to the ParknFly lot. Now this time traffic through Toronto sucked. For the first 45 minutes of the drive we were only traveling 20 kms/hour. It was also raining very hard - made for a long, wide-eyed drive. By the time we arrived back in Barrhaven (11:30pm), my knuckles had turned permanently white.
To summarize: it was a very nice vacation to which I owe Warren greatly for choosing me. You see, he won the trip (that's right - it was free suckers!) and he chose to take lucky old me. Even though I had a great time, I missed the loverly Mrs. Pimpson very much, and I'm very happy to be back home with her.
UPDATE: Actually, the best part of the trip was that I didn't catch the Mexican Muddies or the Dirty Sanchez Diarrhea or whatever it's called...