We're back! Ok, we got back on Friday night but I've been really tired. The trip to the Dominican Republic was ok. We stayed at a 4 1/2 star all-inclusive resort and we've never been to a place quite that fancy. We don't really want all the services that such a fancy place provides, like turn-down service at night (where they close the blinds in the room, turn the comforter down and leave chocolates, and leave slippers by each side of the bed) and the luggage-handling.
They wanted to take our luggage up to our room themselves when we got there and that's weird to us; then when we left, they had us pack a couple of hours early so that they could get the luggage out of the room early. I know that the staff at such a fancy resort can be trusted and all that but I'm uncomfortable having my luggage out of my sight and control.
The resort itself was lovely in that manicured, pesticide-spraying way. The pesticide meant that there were no mosquitoes, which was nice, and better(?) than getting malaria. There were a ton of different kinds of palm trees there which was really neat. There wasn't a lot of air-conditioning there; the buildings were open to the breezes and had fans that helped to keep the areas cool. The room (which was actually a suite with a kitchen, dining area, living room, bedroom, jacuzzi-tub room, and bathroom) was air-conditioned and had fans to keep the air moving.
The beaches there are beautiful; the sand has the texture of sugar. They're kept fairly clean with the seaweed raked off the beach each morning. The ocean is very, very warm and lovely to swim in.
The resort had a number of restaurants but we ate at the buffet restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There was a good selection of foods for each meal and while we had to extend our low-fat diet a bit we were able to keep to it as much as possible.
The major excursion we did was this snorkeling tour. There was a big group of us and they took us to this "snorkel park" with penned up sharks and manta rays. I didn't go snorkeling because I've never done it, I suck at swimming, and I'm not sure I'm fit enough to do it. It's just as well that I didn't go because they offered no instruction at all on using the snorkeling equipment; as well, the people from the tour company that were in the water spoke no English. I'd like to try snorkeling but in a more controlled situation, and this wasn't it.
The tour also went to "Paradise", a natural pool just off the coast. It was fairly shallow for normal adults at just over four feet deep and it was perfectly calm. A number of tour boats were there and some were doing line dances there. Unfortunately it was a little cold because it was cloudy so swimming in the natural pool wasn't as fun as it could have been.
The weather was fairly hot and humid and it rained over a couple of the nights that we were there. The sun, when it was out, was super-hot, so we wore sunscreen and sun protection clothing. We did spend some time reading on the beach under these cabana things that provided shade.
One thing I discovered is that I don't handle the heat very well, especially when it's mixed up with me being tired. I get super-cranky and lose all of the tools I've developed to handle situations where I feel out of control. It was worst when we arrived at the resort and again when we were waiting for our transportation home from the airport.
When we got there, I was exhausted from waking up at 4am and dozing but not really sleeping on the plane and then walking into this wall of heat and humidity. Our room wasn't ready until an hour and a half after we checked in and I was frustrated, hot, exhausted, and terribly cranky. On the way back, I was again exhausted from waking up at 5:30am to see the sunrise and then traveling through the heat. By the time we got to the airport I just wanted to crawl into a hole and sleep. But we had to wait for our transportation to arrive. Sigh.
I'll talk to my psychologist about ways to handle these situations where I'm completely overwhelmed and tired. Avoiding them is best but that's not always possible; really, if I could just accept that the thing I want the most - to be in my own room or at home - can't happen right that second, I'd be better off.
So that was basically the highlights of the trip. We wouldn't choose to go to a hot destination again because we didn't love the heat at all and I'm not sure about the whole all-inclusive resort thing, but I'm glad we had this experience. We did have fun there and I'm happy we went.