Dominican Republic!!

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

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!!

Punta Cana A small part of Punta Cana.Playa el Cortecito Playa el Cortecito.Playa el Cortecito Playa el Cortecito.Sunset at Playa el Cortecito Sunset behind the tall palm trees.Blue toenails in the sand The blue nail polish did look good in the white sand.Playa el Cortecito Playa el Cortecito Onno beach front restaurantOnno, the beach front restaurant where I had dinner.

First day in San Luis Obispo

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

The first day of my new life is over, almost. And I wish I could go to bed right now, but going to bed at 8pm in a hostel where four other people sleep is probably not a good idea. Or maybe it is, so I can get some sleep before they all come in.

Yesterday was a very long day, I was awake for about 24h.  I got up at 9, picked up Johanna at 10 and I said goodbye to mom almost an hour later. The plane to Stockholm left Gothenburg at noon and 35 minutes later we were at Arlanda. A million people decided to be at that airport at the same time, retarted. We had no time at all left to do anything than to hurry to the gate, which of course was at the other end of the airport. Our plane from Gothenburg also landed at the national terminal so we had a long walk.

Me and Johanna had two of three seats in the middle on the second to last row in the plane. We left the middle one empty to have our feet on. The flight was only 10h, I was expecting 13, but then I remembered that 13 was the whole travel time. It was over very fast and it wasn’t that bad. At one point I was extremely bored and couldn’t do anything so I just sat there until I got the ants in my pants away and read some more. I finished The Assassin’s Blade and started the third book Heir of Fire. Amazing books!

I also watched a couple of movies. I saw Free Willy for the first time in probably 15 years. So cute movie! And then I watched Frozen for the third time in just a few months. That movie gets better and better every time I see it.

We landed at 4pm in Los Angeles and it took us three hours before we were on the road up to SLO. A million people had to get out of the plane before us, the qeue to US Customs was the longest I’ve ever seen and then we had to take a shuttle to the car rental place and that line was also retardedly long. We didn’t get a Nissan Altima which was a big win. Instead we got a Toyota Camry which was nice to drive. But it was a 3 hour drive and any 3 hour drive is tough after being awake for almost 24 hours. We survived and had dinner at Ihop. For some reason not as good as I remember. Maybe my sweet toothness has started to disappear?

I dropped Johanna off at her house and then tried to find my hostel. It took a little longer than it should have, but I arrived at midnight, got my room, and fell asleep directly.

Today I woke up at 6am and couldn’t go back to sleep. I lay in bed until 8:30 though when I got up and paid for my room and tried to connect to the wifi on my computer. I talked to one of my roommates which turned out to be a Swedish girls I’ve talked to on Facebook a few weeks ago. SHe was checking out today to move to her house.

I picked up Johanna and we took a brunch at a place we found in downtown SLO. It was good and well needed.  This whole eating-out-thing will stop as soon as I get a routine here which should be in a week when classes start. After that we went to Bank of America to start up bank accounts. They were busy today though, so we got appointments for it on Monday morning. That was too bad, I was looking forward to get rid of my big bunch of cash… Our next stop for the day was to get cell phone plans at T-mobile. We went to Best Buy and took the car there. A car would be so convenient (but we will wait a bit to get help with buying one, bot me and Johanna very much wants to buy a car so we can easily go to the beach, do grocery shopping and take weekend trips), but until then we will get to know the bus system and buy bikes as soon as possible. They have a very nice system with plans here if you don’t want to sign up for a long period of time. I was amazed when the guy told me how it worked. So, you bought a sim card for $15 and then you bought a month of a plan of your choosing. So depending on how much you pay (30, 40 or 50) you get different things. I decided to go for the one which cost $50 and in that unlimited texts and minutes and 1 GB are included. That is valid for 30 days and when that time period is over I need to buy a new plan and it doesn’t have to be the same as I had. And I don’t have to go to a store to buy it, I can do it online or by just sending texts. An awesome system. The only problem with it is that it is so ridiculously expensive. But I will survive.

Cell phone plan

The third stop was Target where I bought a lot of things, like towels, a hair dryer, hairspray, after sun lotion, tooth paste, Nair hair wax roll on and nail polish remover . I also had to buy a bag since the city of San Luis Obispo has decided not to hand out plastic bags anymore to save the environment. I like that, but I wish I would have remembered to bring my bags I brought from Sweden.

At Albertson’s I actually bought a reusable shopping bag when I bought some snacks for tomorrow’s visit to the beach.

We returned the car, took a taxi to downtown where we had an early dinner. We met four of the five Swedish students from Uppsala and then we went home and on the way took a few detours in to some stores, like Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch. At Bath & Body Works I found a scented candle that smelled amazing!! I am not allowed to have scented candles in my room, but I am thinking about buying it and just having it smell in my room and then bring it home. It was amazing! Oh right, I don’t think I can have things that smell in my room either. Then I will ask them if it is okay to have it in a plastic bag until I get home to Sweden. I need to have that candle! It smelled of Mahogany Teakwood. Sounds weird, smelled amazing.

At the hostel I went straight up to my room, started writing and will go to bed as soon as I am done. Maybe start marking interesting things out on the SLO map I got from the reception.

Tomorrow I will move to my room in the shared apartment on campus. The other girls won’t be there for another day or two. After that it’s beach time with Johanna and maybe Maria. There might be some shopping as well, I have a feeling I need to buy things for my room, like a comforter and pillows.

It was a nice day, the weather was warm (26C at its warmest) and the sun was out at all times. Palm trees does exist this far up north, even though there aren’t that many, and I still get happy every time I see them. I am back in California and I couldn’t be happier about it. This will be an amazing year!

Downtown SLOSLO downtown Santa Rosa Street, SLOAll around the city mountains rise. It is beautiful! Sunset from the hostelIt’s not over the ocean, but the sunset tonight was still amazing. Tiny SLOI came to the realization today that San Luis Obispo is very very tiny. This is pretty much it. A bicycle will be plenty enough and even walking. Only 45 000 live here. But it will be a nice experience to live in such a small city too.