Punta Cana -Day One

I am just getting back from Punta Cana. It was a beautiful and warm and a big learning curve for my first Big travel destination. This is the first time that I have ever been out of the country and so there were things that I didn’t understand and had never experienced before. I am going to break Punta Cana up into several posts, one for myself of things I want to remember and two so the posts are crazy heavy on words and pictures.

Segments can be good sometimes.

Punta Cana happened from discussions with my roommate back in December. I had originally wanted to go to Italy for my first trip. I was sitting in a pizza shop in Joplin, Missouri listening to Italian music watching as they are making pizza in a brick oven through the glass counter. So there I thought, I want romance, I want love, I want to see it, I want to feel it. Immerse myself in it, even just solo. Eat some really good pizza in Italy and have some gelato and maybe make a wish in a fountain.

So I got back to Texas and talked to my roommate and so we started looking at flights and if it was at all doable and realized that Italy for the time being should be on a later trip. So there we sat wondering what to do and then she showed me a video of squirrel monkeys and I said let’s go!

We left Saturday morning from Dallas to Charlotte bright and early. The sun hadn’t even decided to make its debut yet. We left with just our carry-on’s with dresses and sandals ready to come out and enjoy the warmer temperatures.

We made our connection for Punta Cana and for the very first time we got upgraded to first class. Ummm, I’m not sure how I will ever be able to travel the same after that. I mean I am always glad and happy to get on a flight and get a seat but wow! Is first amazing. All I can say is if you ever can you should do first class at least once in your life and certainly for those long haul trips. It’s worth it.

We got into Punta Cana mid-day. Going through customs wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It was busy, there were several flights that arrived at the same time but we got through quickly.

I will say the one part that I wasn’t ready for and what flustered myself and my roommate and unfortunately set a good amount of the tone of this trip was being bombarded by all of the taxi and shuttle guys outside at the pick up area.

I do believe this has a lot to do with us being from the U.S and never having traveled outside of the country before and for the majority of us here in the states we are pretty reserved. We are not used to people coming up to us and shouting about needing a taxi a shuttle or anything for that matter. People usually wait for you, the costumer first.

I think also as a women it felt hostile. We had already had a shuttle that was going to be there to pick us up and as we were looking for our names we kept getting bombarded by the other shuttle drivers and taxi drivers. At one point one of the shuttle drivers did end up helping us and I got in contact with our Airbnb lady to locate where our shuttle driver was. It was at a different terminal all together. We finally met up with him and then we were off to our apartment.

I did feel as if I was in a different country. I watched out the window of the shuttle of the road, how people drove, the signs, the trees. It’s interesting how a place can have a different feel to it. The homes, and stores you could see a big disparity between the poor and the rich- tourist. I being one of them. There is so much you can see out your window when you really look. The mega resorts just down the road or next to makeshift buildings for homes, gas stations, shops, food vendors.

I can’t say that tourism is a bad thing. I am certainly not against it. But it does make you wonder about the major gaps. Does it need to be so big, such a big difference?

Do the big gaps make it challenging for locals who live and work there where tourism is its major industry? How does it effect relationships, quality of life, quality work environments, quality between the local worker and the tourist who is visiting?

When we got to our Airbnb and met with our hostess who showed us in gave us the key and had us hurry on to the beach.

We went over to the beach sat down at one of the chairs that are reserved for the community and then after a bit we walked up the beach to explore and look around.

The beach was different from what we had expected. When we arrived on the beach we were very quickly bombarded with guys selling things or wanting to get us something. We kept refusing and felt flustered and got upset wanting to relax, with a quiet beach experience and instead we felt like we were being followed by workers from one or all of the beach shops selling something. We would kindly refuse and when that didn’t work we felt we had to be rude about it. At times it felt a bit stalker’ish. It was another thing neither one of us where used to.

After the beach we went back to the apartment to change and go get dinner. Up the street from the apartment are local shops and restaurants. We ended up going to a place called Wacamole. We sat up at the bar and we were finally able to relax. We got our beers and were able to chat with the bartender and some of the servers. Everyone there was super friendly and seemed to be enjoying their jobs and having fun. One of the servers was even trying to get customers on the dance floor.

After dinner we walked back down the street and a little shop next us that sells healthy popsicles- Joy Nutritional Popsicles. I’m so glad we went in. The popsicles were amazing. We went pretty much everyday for one and went in a couple times for breakfast even. The employees there were awesome as well. Friendly and easy going as well. We got to now some of them a little bit as well, which was nice.

And that would conclude the first day.

Good grief, that was by far more than what I thought I was going to say.

With love,

-jess.

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