Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Visit From My Sister

I promised some blog posts from our recent visitors.  The first one is written by my sister, Stacey.  We had a fantastic 10 day visit with them and we really had a great time showing them around the Dominican Republic.  We know what a beautiful and friendly country this is, but it was really fun to show them around and to see it all anew from their eyes.  We also loved introducing them to our friends and cruising family.............

Deana & Troy invited us to stay in Luperon, The Dominican Republic, on Storyville for a week and to accompany them & their friends to Lifestyles Resort in Puerto Plata for the following week. They had spent about 8 months in Luperon last year and were excited to be back to this wonderful country again for hurricane season.

Mangoes at roadside stand
When we first arrived, Deana and Nino (their friend and driver) picked us up from the airport and took us straight to the beach for a cold Bohemia (a large Dominican beer). We made a few stops on the way to Luperon. We pick up fresh mangoes, avocados and home-made yogurt from road side stands. You can get just about anything you can think of right on the side of the road, from pig to cheese and everything in-between. (Note from Deana: Remember, the woman that tried to sell us a girdle at one of those road side stands!) That evening we went into Luperon to JR’S Tropical Bistro. Saturday is open mic night and the party is something to remember. Troy played his guitar, Patrick played his ukulele and Camilla played and sang along. We finally got a chance to put faces and names together as Deana & Troy introduced us to their friends and fellow sailors. It didn’t take long to realize they are more like family than friends. We are so glad they have these wonderful people they can count on. 
Stargazing Sisters
Later that evening we got to witness two very spectacular things. On our dingy ride back to Storyville we got to see the luminescence. As we went thru the water it light up a beautiful green color, like someone had put glow lights under our boat. When we got back to the boat we lay upon deck and watched the Perseid Meteor shower. It was mind blowing!

The next day was a lazy day. We just hung around and got to know the boat a little. Being a land lover myself I wasn’t sure what I could touch and what I shouldn’t …LOL There was a constant breeze in the Luperon harbor all week, I am pretty sure God didn’t want me to melt. After a day without air-conditioning your body actually acclimates to it. I would have never believed you could live without air. HAHA! That evening we hiked up to the blow-holes. It is where the Atlantic pounds against to coast until there are holes in the coral and the water blasts up thru it. It was an amazing thing to see.

We called Nino and he knew of a car we could rent for a few days. That is an interesting story for another time. We picked up the car and Troy drove us to La Isabella. One of those beaches where you think you should just stay awhile. That must have been what Christopher Columbus thought when he first landed here in the 1400’s. We hung our hammocks in the trees and spent a relaxing day over-looking the surf and mountains. One of those days you wish you could redo again. That evening there was a beautiful rainbow over Luperon Harbor. It was the perfect effect to end a perfect day.

This is how you relax at the beach....
Cocos y Playa
We were so happy that this whole trip was Dave's idea!

This is when things get even more interesting. We decided to go to the 27 falls of Damajaqua. We only wanted to do a few waterfalls and I thought it was lucky that they offered a 7 waterfall package. Little did I know that less is sometimes harder? Who knew? Well, Rene tried to warn us; from now on we do whatever Rene says. To get up the 7 waterfalls you literally have to scale them. We had two of the best guides in all of the Dominican Republic, Charlie and Anthony. They made the day enjoyable. I felt sorry for them when they had to throw me up the waterfalls. It can’t be easy with the anchor I have on my butt. LOL I left with a silly grin on my face and a sense of accomplishment, even though Charlie and Anthony did all the hard work. All I had to do was JUMP! 
The Waterfalls!
Food My Very Good
We had the best lunch that day, at a little restaurant in Imbert, a crazy little town with one gas station and some extremely loud music.  FOOD MY VERY GOOD! They weren’t lying. From fried chicken and french-fries to soup or fish w/ heads still attached, and all for about 180 pesos’ (about 4$ each). That afternoon we drove up the mountain and found Aqua Verde, up in the mountain they dammed up the river and it is where the locals swim. The people are very friendly and the water and the beer are cold. That evening Stacy and Rene made us reservations at a nice little family owned restaurant, Pan Alemond. They made the best Wiener schnitzel, EVER! I wouldn’t think you had to go all the way to the D.R. to find a great schnitzel. LOL

Another day of relaxing and then we are off to spend a week at Lifestyles. The best part was the VIP beach. OH and the air-conditioning!!! Deana/Troy, Darnell/Pat, Stacy/Rene and us, what a crew showing up for some R&R. All-inclusive, they can’t possibly make any $$ when we are there. The next day Lucy and Patrick came in from Canada. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to spend our vacation with.

The Gang at Lifestyles!

The Beach at Lifestyles!
Cable Car Ride
While we were in Puerto Plata we rode the cable car up to Mount Isabel del Torres. The ride is quite the adventure, once you reach the top the view is beautiful, but go early before the clouds set in. It was a beautiful cool day on the mountain; you could see all of Puerto Plata. We again hired a guide to tell us what we were looking at, Noel, just like Christmas, he said. He showed us exactly where to stand to hold Christ the Redeemer in our hands, a replica of the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was helpful in giving us information about when the cable car was constructed. He said it was 1975. Which made all of us look at each other. Then he says they change the cable every 10 years. Which our next question was when was it last changed? He said seven years ago. Right about then we were getting sore necks from looking at each other. We put aside our fears and stepped into the car. For being so old it was a real nice ride. UP WE WENT! From half way up the scenery was amazing and our ears started to pop. When we arrived at the top the temperature dropped about 20 degrees, very refreshing from the hot and humid shore. They also have a nature trail to see the plants that grow on the island. We noticed some are what we have in our own back yard; ours are nowhere near that size. They have a few people that tend the grounds there; we got to see an outdoor kitchen where they cook their lunch. It was kind of primitive but what can you expect from a couple of thousand feet up. I was glad we had a guide because I’m sure if we had done that trip without one we would surely missed some of the more interesting sights.

That evening we had the big welcome party at Lifestyles. It was a luau on the beach. They had every kind of food you could imagine, dancers, fire twirlers and more drinks than we could drink. We ate, drank and danced until late into the night. What a fun party that was. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back.

Now to the only sad part of our trip, it was time to say our farewells. I think that is sailor for see ya later? We are very fortunate to have had this experience. We met some very interesting people that we will never forget. I can only hope they had as much fun hosting us as we had on our visit. As we were leaving I had the best idea, maybe, just maybe, David and I could stay?

A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double. ~Toni Morrison

No comments: