My tropical vacation…

Angel packing herselfThe month of February seemed to move with a glacial slowness. I counted the weeks down, then counted to the pedicure appointment, and finally started counting the days. My bag was slowly packed, sans cat, and my carry on bag was filled with necessities like my passport and chapstick.

And then the day came. We woke up early on a bitterly cold morning and drove into Toronto to meet up at a hotel near the airport. Then we got up at 2:45am to get our airplane.

I hadn’t been on an airplane in years, not since 2007, and the plane on our way to Dominicanfound it to be a shock. The plane was so small and my seat was the one just ahead of the middle doors so it didn’t have any windows… or leg space for that matter. I felt like I was in a tin can.

But eventually we landed and were instantly swarmed by people who wanted to help. There were airport volunteers who hurried over to take our baggage right to our bus, leaving us to find our seats. The countryside was very different from what I’m used to. The fields on either side were straggly and there were no crops, just skinny cows with floppy ears. Then we’d drive through a small village where beautiful homes with ornate bars across the windows and balconies sat almost touching tin roof shacks.

the pathwalkAfter several hours we finally pulled into the gates of our resort and up a long drive to the main building. There we collected our baggage, got our room keys, and climbed aboard a small, open bus to our rooms. It turned out these buses drove up the paths regularly, picking up pedestrians and driving them to their destinations.

The room was pretty standard, other than the tiled floor and we had a lovely large balcony. The bathroom was good too and wouldn’t be out of place in any middle class home. What made it weird was the sign saying “water not potable” and a request to please not flush the toilet paper. That was definitely not something I was used to and goofed more than once. I did remember not to drink the water.

The pool was gorgeous and quite large, just as advertised, and the kids loved splashing the main poolaround in it. My Mom and I tried to do aquafit with Super Sonic every day. and one day a bunch of us ended up playing volleyball, which was fun, even if I have a tendency to duck instead of hitting the ball.

The beach was gorgeous, huge and sandy, stretching out to the ocean. Mom and I walked it a few times, collecting shells and bits of coral. She’s making a fridge magnet with hers. I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with mine.

beach

Our beach

The food was really good, not as good as homemade, but yummy and filling. I loved the caramelized pineapple at breakfast and the make your own tacos for dinner, especially with pico de gallo, guacamole, green hot sauce, and julienned tomatoes. I had no idea you could julienne a tomato. I’m not even going to try.

Caleton Beach fish3Then we went on an excursion. Our first stop was my Dad’s favourite, a boat ride through the Gri Gri Lagoon. Our next stop was the Caleton beach. The water was gorgeous and clear. Mom and I shared a swim mask and all you needed to do was stick your head in the water to see gorgeous fish. The reef was in walking distance of the beach.

Then we went to our next stop, the Playa Grande beach, considered the 15th loveliest beach inPlaya Grande beach waves2 the world. There we had a buffet lunch and walked past a slew of vendors to the beach. There was definitely truth in that advertising. The beach was beautiful and the water clear. We all loved jumping in the waves and laughing when we misjudged and got splashed in the face instead. Eventually our time was up and we boarded the bus again to head to our last destination, the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon1I had expected a lagoon the same colour as all the beaches we’d seen. Instead we went down a staircase to a little grotto complete with a half roof with stalactites and rock walls dripping with ferns. The water was azure blue and clean enough that we could see the bottom, even though it was quite deep. I loved swimming in there, surrounded by family, blue, and ferns. I dove down to the bottom and brought up a little rock to remember the lagoon by and was happy on the way out to get stopped to see the fish, pudgy and black, leisurely swimming beside the stairs.

Like all vacations it had to come to an end. Soon we were waking up at 5:15am to checkme in first class out and get breakfast and then we were boarding our bus to the airport. And then my Mom got paged on the overhead system. Dad and I went with her as we were all on the same ticket. Did we wish to get bumped up to first class? Oh boy did we ever! I had two windows on the trip home and a little bottle of spring water and a bowl of warm nuts. They didn’t have any vegan meals on board but the appetizer was a kale salad which my Mom didn’t want so I had two of them. And they came around with Miss Vickies original kettle chips an hour later. I finished my book then took a bit of a nap with the provided pillow and finally we saw land, which was green then slowly turned to white. That’s when I knew we were getting descendingclose to home.

Soon the plan started its descent and we were off the plane and shivering in the sudden cold of the tube connecting the plane to the airport. We went back to the hotel, stuffed the SUV with our luggage, and joined the tail end of rush hour to get home.

It was one of the best trips I’ve had. I think the best trips not only show us a part of the world we’ve never experienced before and and also remind up of how nice it is to go home again.

Goodbye Grand Bahia Principe. Maybe we’ll see each other another day!

our view from the balcony1

Our view from the balcony

Three more weeks…

In three more weeks I’ll be sitting in a hotel hot tub with my family, laughing and joking while we wait for our morning flight. Our bags will be packed and whatever’s forgotten… well it’ll be too late to pack it now.

Today I went to Value Village with friends of mine to look for resort clothes. I didn’t have much luck. Most of the shorts were gym shorts, which are fine for the gym but hardly useful to wear to lunch. Thankfully I found a pair of shorts, two short skirts, and one sundress.

clothes for vacation

Lara kept trying to eat the sequins

So much is uncertain in my life right now. The people at CMHA keep alternating between talking about the apartment like it’s certain to be mine then telling me it’s tentative. Getting a subsidy here is tentative too. Blackie eats well usually then goes for a day without eating. The one certainty I’ve got right now is this trip.

I am so looking forward to getting away on this trip. Swimming in the ocean, lying on a beach chair, enjoying a simple but yummy meal. Singing karaoke with my sisters. It’s coming. Slowly but surely it’s coming.

And, speaking of karaoke, this is one of the songs I’m practising for the vacation. As you can tell, there’s one line that needs a bit more practise.

The best Christmas present ever…

“You’re coming. You’re not being left behind this year.”

I’d been sitting at my parents’ dining room table, listening to the discussion about the next tropical vacation and where it should be held. Mexico? Cuba? Dominican Republic? The discussion was quite lively. I listened with one ear, knowing this was yet another trip I couldn’t afford. In the past two years my family’s been to Sri Lanka, Cuba, a Caribbean cruise, and the Dominican Republic so I’ve gotten used to listening. And then my Mom made her comment to me. It was going to be my Christmas present. Wow! What a present!

It’s a hot October day here, like shorts weather hot, so it feels weird to be discussing Christmas, let alone a holiday that won’t take place until March. But I’ve never been to the Caribbean before so I’m pretty excited. I can’t believe I’m going to be here in five short months…

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Of course I’ve got worries, I wouldn’t have anxiety if I didn’t. The two realistic ones are, will I get my period on the vacation and will they have vegan food. The period one will have to wait until I see my gynecologist at the end of the month. I want to see if I can take the birth control pill for a couple of months to stop my period. Because there’s not much more that could wreck the vacation except for a “you can’t go into the water” period. And I’ll have to contact the resort closer to March about the vegan foods. Their site says they accommodate “special diets” so that looks promising.

And meanwhile I look at the pictures and can’t wait to swim in the ocean. There’s got to be so many fish by those reefs! And I have to find this waterfall…

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And now to wait. Hopefully five months won’t go by too slowly!