I am here, I am in paradise! It is warm, there are palm trees everywhere, the beach is amazing, the water has an amazing color, and it just feels like paradise in the air. I have that stickiness all over my body but I love it! It is tropical heat.
It has been hella day tho. It started yesterday morning with the final, then the super excitement for what was coming. Until I (FOR ONCE) checked the flight status online and I saw to my horror that my flight from SLO was canceled due to the big storm. I almost started crying! After trying to find a ride to San Francisco where my next flight was and without success I called United Airlines and they managed to get me on a flight ten minutes earlier than the one I was supposed to. And I flew to LA instead of SF, then to Washington DC and on the same plane I was originally going on. I didn’t lose any time at all here on Dominican Republic and that was a huge relief. I went with Matt to Avila where we had a glass of wine, while watching the extreme waves. That also made me very happy. Too bad that 1.5 hours can go by that fast. But it makes sense, because I really enjoy spending time with him and when you have fun, time flies.
I packed after he dropped me off at home, but I forgot my computer charger which I realized on the flight from LA to DC. And fortunately (even with the 30 minutes delay) I had two hours at the DC airport and could buy a charger. I had to go to another terminal with a shuttle, but I still made it to my flight.
The first flight, from SLO to LA was the worst flight I’ve ever been on. First of all, it was a propeller plane so it made a ton of noise, and second, because of that storm it was very bumpy. I am normally not afraid when I am flying because I do it so often, but I actually was this time. A lot of G-forces were applied to my poor stomach as well, so for me it was like sitting on a scary medium rollercoaster for an hour and I have to say that I felt really sick after that.
The second flight was okay, I “slept” most of the 5 hours. Except me sleeping on a plane isn’t really sleeping because I wake up every time my head falls down, or because of noise or whatever. It was still nice to get some sleep.
The third flight was just weird, I was tired, so I couldn’t read, but I couldn’t sleep either. It was annoying. Luckily it was only 3 hours long.
And then I was here. And of course I forgot the $10 for the tourist visa so I had to go through a lot of work when I tried to exchange money and had to go through backways and stuff. First I had to withdraw Dominican Pesos. $300 = 11 000 Pesos, my wallet is so thick right now! And then I had to take 500 from that and exchange to $10 so I could pay for my tourist visa. I got a new stamp by the way, now I have three.
I took a cab to the hostel, which isn’t a hostel. It is an apartment in a residential area, and the woman living there made a room into a hostel dorm. On the website it said there were several different rooms, both privates and doubles and 6 beds. And it doesn’t look at all like the pictures. I am disappointed. It got even worse when I tried to talk to the receptionist (the woman who lives here and doesn’t speak a word English). Why have a hostel operation when you can’t speak with the guests?
I stayed in my room for a bit while my phone charged. Then I started walking to the beach (50 minutes away instead of 10 like it said on the website). On the way a bus stopped next to me and asked me where I was going. Adventurous as I am, I jumped on and told him Playa el Cortecito. The two guys on the bus were really nice and gave me their number if I ever needed a ride or anything. That’s the second guy since I arrived who were overly nice to me. The first guy was the guy who took my payment for the visa. He desperately wanted to meet up later. That was awkward so I just left.
Anyway, I came to the beach, and it was very pretty. Much more seaweed than what Google shows, but it was still amazing. It was pretty windy and big waves (not California big, but big enough for a red flag), the sand was white and very fine. Pink in some places even. I walked a long while on it in both directions. I felt a little bit out of place when everyone else was holding hands with their significant other, but I still enjoyed it very much. It was very much too bad that the sun didn’t set in the ocean, but behind the island. That means I will have to be up early to catch as much sun as possible the rest of the week I am staying here.
Then there was another guy who hung out or worked (I don’t know to be honest) at a cute restaurant, so I stayed there for dinner. A French-speaking guy from Canada also joined and it was an okay evening until the Haiti-guy started almost screaming at the other guy when they had a conversation about spirituality and whatever it was. I didn’t wanna be rude and just leave, so I sat there and was freezing my butt off (even if it was probably 75F, the wind and my sleep deprivation made me cold). But eventually I couldn’t listen to that conversation so I stood up and then the Canadian did that too. We shared a private taxi home and it was ridiculously overpriced, 2000 pesos is what I paid from the airport to the hostel. Stupid native people who try to scam tourists…
When I came back to the hostel I realized what kind of place this was and started to feel uncomfortable. I don’t wanna go through a lot of trouble just to go to the beach when this week is about just relaxing and calming down after dead week and finals week. So I asked the receptionist with google translate if I could get a refund if I checked out tomorrow. She said yes, but that we would have to deal with it tomorrow morning. Great! Instead, I booked an all-inclusive resort right by the most beautiful part of the beach (not where I was today). It will be $800 more, but it will be so much more worth it. I was expecting to have the normal hostel experience with a lot of international young people. Instead I am alone here with a middle age Dominican who I can’t even talk to. No, this was totally worth it! I can’t wait to go there tomorrow morning.
What else happened today? Probably not much. I am very tired and have a headache. Not enough water. But I haven’t seen any stores where I can buy, and the tap water here is apparently a big no no. I am not even supposed to rinse my toothbrush in that water. At the hotel I will have complementary water bottles in my 47 square meter room (that is slightly bigger than my apartment in Sweden!). I am so excited for tomorrow!!
A small part of Punta Cana. Playa el Cortecito. Playa el Cortecito. Sunset behind the tall palm trees. The blue nail polish did look good in the white sand. Onno, the beach front restaurant where I had dinner.