Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort

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.

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.

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.