Dominican Republic

5 - 10 October, 2006

Dominican Republic national flag Dominican Republic map

Hispaniola is one of the Greater Antilles, and the second largest island in the Caribbean. Discovered by Columbus
in the 15th Century, it is shared by the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Populated by the Taino indians
for many centuries before the Spanish came, they called this place Quisqueya, or Haiti, or Bohio (yes, all three).
You can read one account of its history here. For us, it was easy to choose visiting the Dominican Republic instead of Haiti.

Having sampled an RIU resort in the Bahamas the previous year, we decided to try a similar resort
in Puerto Plata in 2006. The RIU Merengue is a village-style resort, with numerous fourplexes
situated alongside Maimon Bay, flanked by RIU's Mambo and Bachata resorts on either side.
These are all-inclusive, with the exception of tours and such things as water sports. We spent most
of our time on the beach, but managed to see a little bit of the countryside, as well as the rollicking Atlantic.

She looked very good for traveling so far!
One long day
to Puerto Plata
5 October 2006
Everyday, a new towel centerpiece!
Is it a swan?
Or a seagull?
5 October 2006
Eeek! Put a shirt on!
Ready to go
to the beach!
6 October 2006
Afternoon rain was cool, welcome and refreshing
Rainy afternoon
from the balcony
6 October 2006

Relative to some of our previous island trips, this was kind of a closer one. Hispaniola isn't quite as far away as Puerto Rico,
but it feels a lot farther for some reason. My poor command of the Spanish language made our trip comical, and I'm
sure my wife could lend a true perspective on my lingual debauchery. I always invite correction, because I speak Spanish so badly.

When I spied the island of Tortuga, just miles off the northern coast of Haiti, I knew we were minutes from landing in the
Dominican Republic. I was having some serious cigar anticipation. When we were ensconced in our quarters, I couldn't
help but noticing how haggard I looked, but how good Alissa looked, after so many miles of jet travel. How does she do it?!

This is why I'm not allowed in the powder room
"Put that away,
I'm not ready!"
6 October 2006
Self-portrait after sundown
Ready for the
karaoke contest!
6 October 2006
Heading over to the marina for the day cruise
Looking very sharp
this morning!
8 October 2006
The balconies feel very private owing to the trees
Our balcony
from the walkway
8 October 2006

The next day, October 6th, we booked a day cruise (also known as a "booze cruise!"), and explored the grounds. We spent
some time on the beach and at the pool bar. The sky clouded over, and we retreated to the room for a jet-lagged nap. In the
late afternoon, we dressed up for dinner, even though we didn't have to. We photographed some self-portraits on our
little balcony of the fourplex. The trees and plants around each building help to privatize even the open spaces. The rain, by the way,
is warm, welcome, and it falls vertically, even if heavy at times.

Mr. Late-as-usual just made it!
Transport to the
8 October 2006
One of the runabouts that take passengers to the big boats
These dinghys will
carry a half ton...
8 October 2006
Those folks were headed out for a boozer as well!
A catamaran
similar to ours
8 October 2006
Hey! No bouncin'!!!
Leaving Maimon Bay
Dominican Republic
8 October 2006

On the 7th, we left the camera behind, and played on the beach all day. Had to rest up for the booze cruise!
We rose early on the 8th, and wandered over to the RIU Mambo, to board the catamaran for the day cruise. I had left our receipt
in the room, so I had to rush back to retrieve it! The last dinghy was waiting for me with the engine running as I grabbed a beer
to take with me. I was told we could not consume alcohol until after Noon, but they would make an exception this one time (whew!).
Maimon Bay had atleast two big catamarans moored in it that morning, both bound for ethanolic destinations. We cast off
under sail, running with a stiff trade wind. We made a grand loop to the west, anchoring in the Bahia de Cambiaso, named
for the river which empties into it. We were fed a BBQ chicken lunch, then we had the option of riding a dinghy ashore, or swimming
(we swam). Instead of buying souvenirs, we played frisbee, which attracted all of the vendors' children!

They called us "El Viejo y Abuela," which won no points with Alissa, although I didn't mind being called Old Dude!

Best place to sit for the cruise
A little lunch, and
a little rum punch
8 October 2006
After frisbee at Playa del Cambiaso
Back on dry land
at Luperon
8 October 2006
Remember to breathe when you climb the stairs!
Alissa and the
pink puffer parade
8 October 2006
What to do with grass clippings in Hispaniola
Thatch on a hot
tin roof, Luperon
8 October 2006

We swam back to the catamaran, and the cruise continued west to the marina at Luperon. The rum-and-cokes flowed like water.
There we boarded buses and were ferried back to The RIU Bachata. There was one French woman who very nearly didn't make it
as far as the bus: she obviously had some lung disease and had to have major assistance up a short staircase. We tried to get
some oxygen for her, but we were told that they didn't have anything like that around! Score another Healthcare point for America.

How to pick up the kids from school
The thrill of the
open road, Luperon
8 October 2006
This mountain range follows the northern coast of the Dominican Republic
A foothill of the
Cordillera Septentrional
8 October 2006
This is how you walk when you return from the booze cruise... VERY carefully!
A measured, deliberate
post-cruise gait!
8 October 2006
Recharged! Ready to go dancing!
A little nap
fixes everything!
8 October 2006

It was raining again, which made for a great nap time. We needed a nap after all that rum! By dinner time, we were
decked out and ready to dance! Alissa was wearing her favorite black dress with white lacey trim. Best I could do was stand next to her.

Says he can dance. Ha.
Biggest ham in
Wyoming. Git down.
8 October 2006
Stop it. You're gonna make us throw up.
Disco-rilla just can't
stop his feet from moobin'
8 October 2006
Part of the RIU Mambo resort
A nice-looking place
at the Mambo
9 October 2006
Paddle-boaters out for the afternoon
Maimon Bay in
the late afternoon
9 October 2006

The big 'soaker' east of Maimon Bay
The hunk o' rock
Sunset Rogue Cruise
9 October 2006
Thinks: 'Oh. Boy. Are we in for it!'
Indefatigable and
unsinkable Alissa
9 October 2006
One of the crags overlooking RIU Bachata
Limestone with salad-like
vegetation, from the sea
9 October 2006
More of the Cordillera Septentrional
Beach, palms and
mountains of La Dominica
9 October 2006

We had booked a sunset cruise the following evening. What it turned out to be was a "rogue adventure." We set sail in a
small dive boat on choppy waters, first to the east, to watch the surf crash about a standing stone. Had a rum punch.
Headed westward; had another rum punch. Pretty choppy. The sea splashed over the sides of the boat. Had another rum punch.
The captain had another drink. The first mate gave us a "thumbs-up," and another rum punch. Alissa held me (I was inconsolable,
well-aware that we had been shanghai'd by scofflaws, and were doomed to Davey Jones' locker), and told me to "man up." I did
the best I could, but to the delight of a clueless clientele and a hep crew, I screamed like a little girl everytime the bow
dipped beneath the surface of the ocean.

Okay, it wasn't that dramatic, but I'm really a fair-weather sailor. I mean, totally.

Rum Boy was scared too!
"Esta bien, senor!"
Sunset Rogue Cruise
9 October 2006
Screaming like a little girl!!!
"Save me!!!" he cried.
So she slapped him.
9 October 2006
Enough rum and you don't worry about the broken bilge pump.
Cap'm Jose plies the
white-capped Ocean Sea
9 October 2006
Cordillera Septentrional from the Atlantic coast of the Dominican Republic
A Stephen Crane moment
from The Open Boat
9 October 2006

Thinks: 'There's no place like land. There's no place like land...'
Tolerating the photog
Sunset Rogue Cruise
9 October 2006
The killer sunset shot...
La Dominicana and
the setting sun
9 October 2006
Thinks: 'Time to leave ALREADY?'
Sad about departure
Alissa looks back...
10 October 2006
Cedric makes everything a little better
Mojitos and a
Dominican "thumbs-up"
10 October 2006

The next morning, before breakfast, Alissa turned about at bottom of the stairs and said she wasn't ready to go home yet. Too bad, I said.
Atleast it wasn't like going to Jamaica, where you have to leave the hotel at 4 A.M., and you can't even soften the blow with a cocktail.

Husband's looking more like a gomer today...
Hangin' on the terrace
for a last mojito
10 October 2006
This guy reminds me of Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers
High-energy playmaker
always gets the girl!
10 October 2006
And this guy had the handsome manners all-around
Come back when you're
able, bayyybeee!
10 October 2006
The harvest of seashells continues...
Alissa combing for
Dominican seashells
10 October 2006

After breakfast, we packed our stuff, and wandered around the grounds, saying our "goodbye's" and "thank you's" to the
excellent staff of RIU Merengue. The entertainers - the folks I call the "playmakers" - were fantastic enthusiasts, always assuring
that one knows how to enjoy one's self here in the Dominican Republic. Alissa and I appreciated the extra attention.

To think that later today, we'll be alot colder...
Last time on a beach
for a little while
10 October 2006
Hermano tiene coconut...
He's fixing lunch
for the guests
10 October 2006
This is supposed to be a quintessential island picture...
Palm fronds and
knobby crags
10 October 2006
She is always having a blast!
Alissa can't contain
her contentment
10 October 2006

She gathered a few tiny seashells, then we headed off into the sunset (literally!), back to Wyoming...