In all honesty, I want to say this vacation was the best yet, but I cannot.
I am forever grateful for the time spent with my family. I know many families cannot afford to travel, let alone leave the country, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I am given. I wish I could say I enjoyed our trip because I absolutely hate wasting money or sounding ungrateful. There were definitely parts that I loved, but if I was given a chance to do it all over again, I would decline the offer.
Last week my family went to the Dominican Republic to celebrate my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was a bit different than normal vacations since it involved the extended family.
All the children and grandchildren left early Tuesday morning while the grandparents flew down the day before. Our flight departed at 7 o’clock which meant everyone was ready to go by 4am.
We stayed at a beautiful all inclusive resort called Iberostar Dominicana.
After checking in, we ate lunch at the one of many buffets on site. Breakfast and lunch were always from a buffet. I am not a big fan of buffets. The idea of food sitting out in the heat for hours and little kids grabbing rolls of bread and then putting them back did not sound too appetizing to me. I could not complain though. With eleven people, it is hard to find a place where every one will find something to eat.
The rest of the day we sat out on the beach. I am not a beach vacation kind of person. I love the warmth, do not get me wrong, but that is pretty much the only part I love. I do not enjoy the sand or the seaweed and have an extreme fear of fish so swimming in the ocean was a big no no for me.
Night one dinner reservations were not until 9:30. With a large group, it was hard to get reservations anywhere, let alone at a decent time. Luckily, we stopped at a dinner buffet for some pre dinner snacks to hold us over.
Dinners were three course meals complete with fancy outfits. The theme for night one was French – and yes, my sisters and I all wore matching dresses.
I soon learned that unlike most American restaurants, Punta Cana restaurants do not offer vegetarian options and altering a meal was out of the question because English is not their first language.
Though, most appetizers and desserts were not half bad. Throughout the week we ate at different ethnic restaurants. We ate at the French place the first night, then a steak restaurant on the beach the next night, and a Mexican place the night after. We also ate at an Asian restaurant which everyone agreed was the best restaurant of them all. The rest of the nights we ate at one of the many buffets.
The rest of the days followed a similar schedule: sleep in, breakfast at the buffet, and lay on the pool chairs all day until it was time to get ready for dinner.
Breakfast buffets were my favorite. Despite the reoccurring disappointment of warm fruit, the rest of the food was not too bad.
This trip I decided to unplug from everything. That meant no social media, no macro tracking, no fit bit, and no phone. I am so glad I did this because it relieved so much unnecessary stress. Not having to worry about tracking every little snack and posting a picture or two every day was a nice little break.
As I said earlier, I am not a water person so I laid in the sun/shade all day, which got pretty boring after a day or two. I checked out the gym a few times. Honestly, that was probably my favorite part of the trip which is a sad thing. It was a really nice gym and they had a few classes that I got my older sister to join me in. We tried out kick boxing together which felt so good after sitting around all day. I also tried a spinning class one morning and the yoga class that I mentioned earlier. We also did some water aerobics one day because the instructor was too cute to not participate.
My love for pictures did not occur out of the blue. My mom is a scrap booker so every where we go and every thing we do is documented. Two of the nights we had a photographer take family pictures of us along the beach. One night we suffered through wearing matching dorky family shirts.
I am not a tropical animal kind of person, but give me a monkey and I will go bananas.
Another plus of vacation was my first massage. I did not know what to expect, but it was so relaxing. Although, I was not a big fan of feeling oily and greasy afterwards.
One of the excursions we decided to do was to Dolphin Discovery. All the grandchildren swam with the dolphins except me – no fishes for me (even though dolphins are mammals). I ended up observing with the parents, but I did pet the dolphin at the very end.
Meals were not too bad, but by the end of the week they took a lot of mental strength. I had a hard time comparing myself to my sisters who were actively swimming all day and running around on the beach but then ate barely enough to feed a baby at meal times.
Unfortunately, the trip was not smooth sailing the entire time. My sore throat decided to make an reappearance the first few days and by the time my throat started feeling better the dehydration kicked in. Anyone that has traveled out of the country knows that sometimes the water taste a bit funky, and I know for a fact that I was not drinking enough water, especially with sitting in the sun all day.
After a morning yoga class on our last day with all the girls of the family, my dehydration really kicked in. I started blacking out and my legs started cramping up to the point where walking was too painful to think about. I some how made it out of the class alive, but when we got back to the room I started bawling my eyes out since my body ached all over. Did I mention the power went out the night before and I had to walk up four flights of stairs to our warm room because the elevator and air conditioner stopped working? Anyways, I some how made it through the next few hours until we got to the airport where I downed a few bottles waters and devoured a chicken sandwich because I was not going to wait any longer to find something vegetarian friendly.
I am a person who likes routine. I love schedules and being in my own bed at night with my own bathroom. I enjoy having a break every once in a while, but long story short, I could not be happier to be back home.