Last day in DR

My last day in Dominican Republic is over and I am a little sad about it. I love this place, but I guess I am also ready to move on and try something else. Leave this comfort at an all inclusive hotel and switch to a hostel in a big city. Puerto Rico is gonna be so different than Dominican Republic. I am not gonna have the beach one minute from my room, I won’t have free drinks and food. I will have to start to take care of myself again. But I am also very excited, driving around, seeing different beaches, and lots of other things. It will be fun! And so different from this.

The morning today was cloudy so I stayed in bed until 10 am. Had breakfast and then stayed at the pool all day. It was nice actually. Cloudy most of the day, but at 1 or 2 pm the sun came out and it got really hot. The pool was cold and awesome. I had a couple of drinks, finished half The Death Cure (3rd Maze Runner), took a few naps, and texted with Matt. I miss him.

At 4pm, out of nowhere, it started raining A LOT. The sun was out and all, it was strange. After ten minutes of hiding in the bar, it was over and the sun was out again. I left the pool at 6 when the sun was just going behind the buildings.

I had my last long and warm shower, my last nice dinner, and then packed everything so I can spend as much time as possible at the beach tomorrow before checkout at noon. My flight leaves at 3:30 a and only takes 55 minutes. I think I will have to plan the week tonight. It will not just be waking up, putting on a bikini and going to the beach. This will need planning.

Pool sunsetThis pool is really great. The jacuzzi is part of the pool between the palm trees.

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Saona Island

What an amazing day this has been. Except for my stupid stomach that is still very much upset. But for some nice reason it stayed calm during most of the day so I could enjoy it all.

At 7 am this morning the tour bus picked me up. We picked up a lot more people and went to the southeast corner of the island where we took a speedboat out to a natural pond out in the ocean. The water was shallow, crystal clear, and had the beautiful turquoise color. AND, the coolest part was that there were huge starfishes. I played a little with my GoPro, but there was not much to see since it was just sand and water as long as you could see.

We had a photographer among us and he took a lot of pictures. Lots of silly pictures with the starfishes. We stayed there for about 40 minutes. I was in the water most of the time because it was so windy above water and I didn’t wanna freeze. It was very cloudy today and actually not that warm. This trip could have been so perfect with a clear blue sky. But it was still great.

Next on the agenda was Saona Island where we stayed for 3 hours. Apparently one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies was filmed there. It is definitely a “deserted paradise island”. Tons of tourists there today though.

First we had free lunch and free drinks, then I started talking to two German guys, Mattias and Arik, who were nice. We hung out for the rest of the tour. We hung out by the beautiful water for a while, and then I got tired and went to lie down for a bit. Then the photographer came along and wanted me to pretend to be a model again. I am so not photogenic so they didn’t turn out that well. If I were those pictures would have been amazing. I mostly blame that I didn’t wear sunglasses…

At 3pm we were done and hopped on a catamaran and sailed the way back to shore. It took 1.5 hours and there were free drinks (rum and coke) and party music all the time. It was so great! I loved it. It was a bit scary at first to sit on the net above the water, but I got used to it and could relax the rest of the way.

On the bus back to the hotel I talked to a guy from Puerto Rico and he told me that I should get a car while I am there, and he also told me about a few places that I should visit. I am really excited to go there on Saturday.

When I came back to the hotel, I first took a shower, then headed over to the neighbor hotel (which is the same pretty much) Barceló Bávaro Palace (I am staying at Barceló Bávaro Beach) to buy something for my stomach (let’s cross all of our fingers that it works, I am getting tired of this). That hotel is huuuuge. There is a shopping center and countless of buildings with hotel rooms. I took the shuttle train there and back, on the way back I had to go to the other parts of the mega big hotel complex. In total it took 25 minutes to go around it all on that train. It is like a city, all of it.

I had a small dinner, where one of the waiters asked for my number. I really learned today that Hispanic people love white people. On the bus to the boat we watched a lot of music videos, in ALL of them, the guy was singing and adoring a white woman. I wonder why.

Last night I finally watched The Maze Runner, and even if it was a good movie, it was so different from the book.  The storyline was pretty much the same, but all the details were changed, I don’t understand why. The book makes more sense.

I am very very tired now, so I will probably just go to sleep, without reading. Tomorrow is my last full day here on Dominican Republic. I hope the weather will be nice.

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Sun, sun, and sun

The storm has finally passed and today was the perfect day. The sun was up when my alarm went off at 7:30 which meant no snoozing. I had breakfast and went straight for the beach. It was already a nice temperature because of the ocean breeze. Without it, it would be unbearable being directly in the sun. I used a lot of sunscreen but still managed to get a tiny burn on my chest, left underarm and upper back. But it is not bad at all, will probably be gone tomorrow after some aloe aftersun lotion.

So, today I was just lying on a sunbed, reading, drinking a couple of drinks and just enjoying life.  I can also cross something of my bucket list, today I had a coconut drink on the beach. It was really good!

Last night I finished reading on page 170 (of 390), and now I only have 20 pages left. I am gonna finish The Scorch  Trials in two days, I wonder if that will be a record for me, a book in two days?

After the sun set behind the palm trees I decided to go for a walk along the beach to check out what was beyond the huge Barcelo hotel complex. I walked for 40 minutes until I reached the end of the peninsula we can see from this beach (it is tiny and very far away). I saw a white big bird, a heron maybe? Not sure.  I found a nice spot to sit down and decided to stay and watch the sunset. I sat down on the beach and started reading. After 20 minutes a man comes up to me on his motorcycle and starts talking to me in Spanish. I told him I didn’t understand “no hablo espanol”, but he kept going in Spanish anyway. It’s funny how these people think tourists understand when they just repeat whatever they are saying twelve times. Eventually I understood when he said cinco and pointed at his clock. I pointed at me and then at the resort with a questioning face. He said si, and I understood that I couldn’t be there after 5 pm. I missed the sunset with 20 or 30 minutes. That sucked. I hope I get to see some really nice Caribic sunsets on the other islands.

When I came back I took a shower and then I got so tired I got stuck in front of the TV watching Ice Age 2 and the beginning of Horton Hears a Who. I couldn’t stand my growling stomach anymore so I went to grab a quick dinner.

Now I am back and was hoping to watch The Maze Runner that my mom uploaded to Dropbox, but I forgot that I also have to download it to my computer from Dropbox which takes forever and ever! I guess I will either have to watch The Lorax on TV or finish my book. Or maybe I should just go to bed, I am going on a tour to a beautiful island tomorrow and the bus is picking me up at 7am.

Oh, right, I got my third final grade today! Architecture history B+, yes! Sustainable Environments A- and Fundamentals of Transportation Engineering Lab A-. Now I am just waiting for Fundamentals of Transportation Engineering.

Sun and The Scorch Trials This pretty much sums up my whole day!Coco Loco drink Coco Loco drink in a coconut, white rum, coconut water, coconut cream. Surprisingly good!Beach beyond Barcelo The “peninsula” beyond the Barceló hotel complex. The sand wasn’t as nice, the water was all brown, the sand was not as fine and there were a lot of rocks and corals. It looks pretty from afar, but close up, not so much.White birdThe white bird.

Last day of the storm?

The storm is hopefully over now. The sky has cloudy right now, but the wind has decreased a lot and no rain. I have high hopes for tomorrow (according to Google weather). Last night the storm was at its worst. I woke up at 2:30 am, probably because the bed is hard, or my mosquito bites were itchy, or because the rain just poured down like crazy. All above made it impossible to go back to sleep, so I stayed up until 5am and finished my book. I loved it! So much I had to start the second one The Scorch Trials right away. And today I actually finished a third of the book. I think I will watch the movie now before I go to bed.

I tried going to the beach at 10 am (I decided to sleep in since I didn’t get much sleep last night), but I could only last 20 minutes before I gave up. Way too windy. I went home, read until I fell asleep and woke up again at 2:30pm. I decided to give the beach another try, and it was warmer, a little less wind so I stayed until 4:30 when I headed back to shower and read some more. I love that I can just spend hours and hours reading now without worrying about anything else. At 6:30 I had dinner at the buffet, went back home, read some more, and fell asleep again for my second nap of the day. At 10 the Tropicalissimo show started, which was just a dance show with lightly dressed women and some men. It was okay, I had a couch all to myself and a strawberry daiquiri in my hand.

I am crossing my fingers and toes for a sunny day tomorrow, I have gotten some color, but I wanna start working on my tan for real now. I can’t come back home and still be pale.

Now it’s movietime!

IMG_20141216_101247 My breakfast this morning was delicious. Today they had both pineapple, mango and passion fruit!IMG_20141216_104251 IMG_20141216_225800

Hard Rock Cafe Punta Cana

I am pretty sure this was my 13th visit to a Hard Rock Cafe, my second one alone. I really don’t mind eating by myself and I had a nice time there by myself. I had a pulled pork chicken sandwhich and a cosmopolitan drink. I learned later that I could get free refills, so I ordered a pomegranate martini too. The last one was really good! I couldn’t do more after that, Hard Rock Café is very generous when it comes to alcohol in their drinks. And there was something else that I really liked about this HRC visit. A waitress walked around with an iPad where the guests could request music. I didn’t need to think that through, Three Days Grace of course! That was new since a month and I hope all the restaurants worldwide does that. It was great!

Before that I hung out at the beach for a few hours. Only since noon though since it was really bad weather in the morning and I decided to take a nap until the dark rain clouds cleared. They did eventually, but it was still cloudy all day. But when the sun was out I truly enjoyed it. I think I even might have gotten a little bit of color. Especially in my face. No burn!

I can’t really say that it was all just pleasantries at the beach today. There was a guy a little bit away from me and I saw that he was staring. Eventually he came closer and sat down on the sand 3m (10feet) away from me. After maybe ten minutes he came up to me and told me I was beautiful and that he was going to the bar, and wondered if I wanted something. I said I could take Piña Colada and I was hoping he would be gone after he gave it to me. Why did I even think that? I should have said no. Anyway, he came back and sat down, very very close to me, and started telling me several times again that I was very beautiful, that I was sent here by god, that he thought my eReader was a mirror and that I was admiring myself in it, AND that he loved me. I know that it is a cultural thing for men here to approach women and be straight up honest with them about their looks, but if they (this was a Dominican guy, but he lives in Cancun normally and was here on vacation) are at an international resort he should know that he can’t act like that. It was the creepiest thing ever! And clearly he didn’t get that I was uncomfortable and just wanted to be alone. I told him I had a boyfriend (and he answered that he just wanted to be friends, but seriously, who says stuff like the things he said and “just wanna be friends”??) and that I was here to relax after a tough quarter, but he didn’t understand. Even the family close to us saw it and gave me sympathetic looks. And I had no idea what to say, I am so bad at telling people to leave me alone. If I am not brave enough tomorrow I will just stay at the pool, in a different bikini (oh yeah, the creepiest thing was that he told me that he had kept his eyes on me since yesterday morning!), with my hair in a bun. I just wanna be alone and relax, that’s why I am here.  I don’t wanna be bothered by guys who thinks I am beautiful just because I have blond hair and fair skin. Guys here seriously stop in the middle of the street, stare at me, and tell me that I am beautiful. Oh, and at the bar today a guy totally checked me up from head to toe several times while I was ordering a drink. What’s wrong with people here? I am not that beautiful!

Anyway, now that I have that out of my system, it was a good day except for that creepy dude. I read a lot (only 30 pages left now in The Maze Runner), and I got to be on a gorgeous beach in 28C. It was windy, but it just made it bearable. The sun here is really hot. But I am hoping for a cloudless day tomorrow. With today’s weather it’s too cold to go in the water (the water is fine, but it’s cold in the air).

Dark clouds Just look at the contrasts between the dark sky and the turquoise ocean.Strange ship Hard Rock Cafe Punta Cana Hard Rock Cafe Punta Cana inside a shopping mall.Hard Rock Cafe drinks Free refills on drinks, yay! I know I have free drinks at the hotel, but these were so much better.HRC Three Days GraceThree Days Grace – Break! ❤

Rain

Warm summer rain is my favorite type of rain, but not when I am on a summer vacation. I got half the day with sun and I had about four hours relaxing by the ocean before I had to run to shelter to avoid being too wet. I did have a very nice time at the beach when I was there though. I had a pina colada, I read some in The Maze Runner, took a nap or two, went in the water several times (like yesterday, about 80F), and just enjoyed the sun (it was actually scattered clouds, but I liked that, since this was my first day out in the sun and I hate getting burned). It was sad that the rain came, but I did need lunch so I went there and had some from the buffet. The rain kept going for hours so I just stayed in my room, reading some more and then taking a nap for two hours. Getting that much sun made me tired. And I can proudly say that this is probably the first time I haven’t gotten burned on the first day of a vacation. Yay for me! I think I did get a little color, but it’s hard to say.

The weather is supposed to be the same every day until Thursday when it will be a little bit better. That’s not very fun. But as long as it is not raining it is beach weather. It is still warm here, I guess 70F when the sun is gone and 80F when it is visible. I am planning on staying in the pool tomorrow if it is raining. Just laying on one of the underwater beds, drinking drinks. Doesn’t sound too bad either. But I cross my fingers and toes for amazing paradise weather.

I had a salad for dinner at the buffet. I had originally made a reservation at one of the restaurants here, but when I thought about going to a restaurant all by myself I regretted it and cancelled the reservation. I also saw on the note I got that the restaurant I chose was a fancy one, and I don’t even have nice clothes with me. The buffet will be good enough this week.

Now I think I will continue to read until I fall asleep. I did bring up a strawberry daiquiri to my room while watching the last three episodes of the Swedish Christmas Calendar. I hope that will help me sleep. It was probably not the best of ideas to take a nap that late during the day. And maybe the alcohol will help me sleep through my thousands of itchy mosquito bites. I learned today by the way that malaria exists here on Dominican Republic, but fortunately only on the west part of the island, so I am (hopefully) good.

Okay, time to read The Maze Runner. I so wanna finish that book so I can watch the movie.

Legs or hot dogs Legs or hot dogs?Pina Colada on the beach Piña Colada on the beach! This is the time for me to try drinks for the first time (first time drinking this one).Incoming rain Right before the storm.Rain Rain…Rain = new pool It rained so much we got a new pool on the lawn!The poolThe pretty pool. I haven’t spent any time there yet, maybe a part of one day.

Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort

This day has been amazing, awesome, great, fantastic, and all the other positive adjectives. It started with me waking up with an uncountable amount of mosquito bites (I hope they don’t have any stupid diseases), then packing everything and trying to communicating with the receptionist again. After a while and talking to another guy on the phone I gave up and asked her if I could get a taxi somehow. She called someone and a guy named Jose picked me up. He spoke English very well and explained to me that the receptionist lady tried telling me that she would need to go to the bank to get the money out for me. So she tagged a long and gave me 6500 Dominican pesos. I paid 10100 for the whole stay, so that was fair I guess. We dropped her off and then we decided that I needed a tour of things. So this super nice guy drove me around all day to all these amazing places.

First we went to a beach called Macao Beach. It was incredibly beautiful, but much seaweed. The waves there were huge and a lot of people actually surfed. We only went there very quickly so I could see it and take some photos. That is a very common beach to take wedding photos.

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Back on the road and I got to drive for a bit, that was fun and thrilling. People here drive like a-holes but I managed to survive. Jose told me that the police here doesn’t care about how people are driving so tickets are never handed out. The school buses here aren’t used as school buses, but as hotel employee shuttles and they drive even worse than the average Dominican. I also learned a lot of about the four different palm trees that exists here. There is the national palm tree that is called the Cana. The second one is the banana palm, the third the coconut, and the fourth one, the super skinny and tall one. Everything on that palm tree is used for something. The trunk is used to build houses here, the green ”spine” on the top is used for something I actually forgot now. I know that the heart of that can be eaten. And the leaves are used for building roofs. That is sustainability.

We stopped for lunch next and we had real Dominican food. It was good, but way overpriced. I had a fried whole fish, shrimp, djuka and platano frito. Djuka is a potato-like thing that taste kinda like potato. It was deep fried and looked like thick French fries. Platano Frito is a banana-like fruit if I don’t  misremember completely. It was all very good. We also had a typical Dominican Republic drink called Mamajuana. It is called Dominican Viagra (I am not 100% sure why, but I have a guess) and consists of rum and sweet red wine (and sometimes honey), all poured over a special type of leaf. It was good.

IMG_20141213_121432IMG_20141213_115036A cute marketplace right next to my hotel where I am definitely going.

Our next stop was Cap Cana, an incredibly fancy place. First we went to Playa Juanillo which was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. That was exactly like Google’s pictures of the Caribbean. Blinding white sand, turquoise water, tall palm trees lining all the beach. I was breathless. I went in the water quickly and Jose took some pictures (so I won’t have to take selfies all the time).

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The next stop was Hoyo Azul, a freshwater pond in the middle of the rainforest. When I got there I once again had a jaw-dropping view. That water was so intense blue and clear it was ridiculous. I jumped in and the water was cool which was welcomed in today’s heat, around 85F (the water at Juanillo Beach was 80F).

IMG_20141213_143550 We saw a green snake!IMG_20141213_144013 Rainforest trail.IMG_20141213_144525Before the amazingness. IMG_20141213_145146 The amazingness.IMG_20141213_145347The cool amazingness.

PANO_20141213_150200I found a new feature on my phone. The panorama feature has four sub features. One that takes twice as big pictures and one that takes circle pictures. I had to take like 20 pictures to make this one. It actually turned out pretty okay compared to reality.

Our last stop was at an excursion place where I booked a day trip to Saona Island. I chose Tuesday, but after checking the weather today I think I should reschedule to Thursday. According to Google there will be a chance of rain and storm every day until Wednesday. I will call tomorrow and reschedule to Thursday. That island is supposed to be very beautiful and that trip is best when it’s good weather. We are taking a catamaran out to the island and then also to a natural pond out in nowhere (in the ocean). The water is only waist high, super clear, and there are a lot of starfish. I am excited for it.

And then to my new hotel. It is humungous and several different parts. I am staying at the “all adults” place, and then there is one right next door where kids are allowed. I love this hotel, people here speak English, it’s huge, it’s pretty and the room is really good. They have cute Christmas decorations so it feels like Christmas (kinda). When I was checking in at 4pm I was served fruit punch and then got help with my suitcase to my room. I got my bracelet which tells everyone I have all-inclusive. I have to admit that I like it. It does not feel weird eating alone because there are a lot of other people doing that too. And the rest of the day I will just be alone at the beach anyway.

IMG_20141213_171602 The room is pretty sweet. I just wish I had gotten a king size bed instead of two queen.IMG_20141213_172501 View from my room. I can see both the ocean and pool.IMG_20141213_184240So many things in the bathroom!IMG_20141213_172841 The beach right outside my hotel is so pretty!IMG_20141213_195354 The hotel night-time. All the palm trees has lights on them.IMG_20141213_210343 The hotel lobby.IMG_20141213_210453A christmas tree!

Right after I checked in, I went to the beach for a little while, the sun was down, but it was still nice. Then I went up, took a shower and went to eat the buffet dinner. The food was good, but I have to think about how much I am eating, I was hoping this trip would get me skinny again. I had a glass of wine with the food, and then went back to the beach. I lay on one of the sunbeds closest to the ocean, right under a palm tree, watching the stars, listening to the waves rolling in, and watching the occasional shooting star in only shorts and t-shirt. I don’t have a word to describe it. It was everything I love about life.

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I am planning on going up early tomorrow morning and spend as much time by the beach as I can. I hope that the weather will be nice and that I will be able to get some color. So far none, maybe a little bit in my face, because I do have this aftersun tiredness going on. Or maybe I am just exhausted from being out and about all day. Tomorrow anyway will be a day all about relaxing. I look forward to it.