Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Punta Cana

In December I got to do something I've never done before- go on a girls trip that was more than just a weekend and was not within driving distance.  This trip was planned way back in July by some girlfriends of mine, and there ended up being 17 of us.  We headed out early on a Thursday morning, Dec. 6, and returned on Monday, Dec. 10.  Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, was our destination.

Since the kids have been born, I've flown on a plane without them about twice, so I was looking forward to that as much as anything, honestly.  Being able to just sit and read or talk or sleep and not worry at all about whether or not somebody with me will have a meltdown was great.  Unfortunately, about 2 and a half hours into our second flight (which was 3 hours long, I think), the little girl sitting behind me started vomiting.  Thankfully she seemed to make it into a bag almost every time, and I couldn't smell anything.

Anyway, my girlfriends and I stayed at the Hard Rock Punta Cana.  It was a nice and very big resort.  I can't say that we did much while we were there.  We had heard that the Dominican Republic isn't very safe if you go off the resort, so we made no plans to do so.  So the vacation consisted of hanging out on the beach, hanging out at the pools, working out (for me, anyway), and not much else.  My friend and roommate (also my neighbor at home) Molly and I did do one little horseback riding excursion that was nice, but nothing too extravagant.

I hardly took any pictures at all, which is kinda a bummer.  In fact, the only pictures I took with any people in them were of Molly and me on our horseback riding excursion.  So some of these are from my phone, and some are pictures friends posted on Facebook.

Here's the view from our room.  This place was HUGE.  I'd say maybe half to two-thirds of it was being used while we were there.

The white sandy beach was awesome, and the water was beautiful.  Lots of decent waves.

This was the whole crew before our one night at the club that is on the property.  It was a fun night, but  dance clubs really aren't my thing.

These next few pictures are from when Molly and I went horseback riding.  Here is a guy getting a coconut down for us.  

Then the guy used his machete to cut off the top of the coconut and Molly and I got to drink the milk from inside and taste the flesh.  It was... interesting, I guess.  I like the dried stuff I buy in a bag at the grocery store better, though.

Here I am on my horse.  For this ride we went just off resort property, and it was amazing and sad to see the state of the beach off the resort.  Still the white sandy beach, except you could hardly see the sand for all the litter that had washed up on the shore.  I mean, I think I probably could have counted at least a hundred shoes (and that may be a very low estimate; I can't hardly remember anymore) and a thousand plastic bottles.  Maybe a lot of junk from cruise ships?

Though we didn't try often to have all 17 of us girls together, we did manage to eat dinner together most of the nights, or at least at the same restaurant if not at the same table.  On the last night we ate at the steak house on the resort.  Since our last dinner there was on the 9th, it was just 6 days before my birthday, and just 3 days before my friend Sarah's birthday on the 12th.  Our friends told the restaurant staff that it was our birthdays, so we got sung to.  All I can say is that I am so glad I wasn't the only birthday girl in the group, because I would have been that much more mortified by this whole singing deal.  At least this way it wasn't all eyes on me; it was all eyes on us.  In this picture you can sort of see how embarrassed I am.  I'm not sure what the guy behind me was doing.  The other birthday Sarah is to my right in green.  I never noticed before how this picture almost looks symmetrical because of the 2 ladies in green and their hands.

Here are the rest of the girls at dinner that night- this is (L-R) Kelly (a new friend who lives in TX that we all (except for her friend who invited her) met for the first time on this trip), Jenn (whose husband is my long-distance running partner), Molly (my good friend & neighbor), and Melissa (my friend Susan & Sarah's sister-in-law, and the wife of a guy Mike went to high school with).

Susan (one of my best friends) and her awesome sister Sarah.

Sarah, me, Anna, and my very good friend Kim.

My good friend Katie, Kim H., Kelly, and Jenn.

It was a great time and a great trip.  I would do a girls trip again, though I definitely would not do it just before Christmas, and Jake's birthday.  In fact, we returned on Jake's birthday, so I felt pretty bad about that.  But, I didn't pick the dates of the trip, and I wasn't going to fly home by myself.  And I don't think that Jake noticed.

I also don't think I need to go to the Dominican Republic again.  It was nice and beautiful and everything, but the food was just okay and I prefer to do more stuff on vacation than just lay around.  It was great to relax, read, and reconnect with girlfriends, but I would like to go see the place I'm visiting, and since the D.R. is apparently not that safe of a place, I'd rather go somewhere where I can go exploring.

I did miss the kids and Mike while I was gone.  I was able to do FaceTime with them every day, so that was helpful.  Both Mike's mom and dad helped out while I was gone by watching the boys one day each, and Mike took one day off of work as well.  I am incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to do something like this and to have had the help at home to make it possible.

While I was gone, Zach and Drew got to have a sleepover with Dad,

eat a bunch of crap and hardly any veggies, watch at least one Star Wars movie, eat donuts, and all 3 boys got to play in the first snow of the season.

I think they missed me, but not too much. :-)

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