After waking up and getting to the airport by 3:30am and traveling for the next 10-12 hours by various forms of transportation, we finally landed in the Dominican Republic. The first thing I took notice of was the heat! We all had been use to bitter cold winds and negative temperatures that the heat was an immediate relief after the exhausting trip. I actually started sweating, but to be honest it was the best feeling I could have had at that moment.
While driving to the place we stayed at I was in awe at all the beautiful colors we passed. The homes and buildings were all pretty pastel colors that reminded me of the beach. We did pass some rougher areas as well where shacks stood and everything was overrun by weeds. This was a first glimpse at what we would be seeing throughout the week.
Traffic was nuts! In the Dominican Republic people do drive on the right side of the road, but when it came to speed limits, there are none. People just zoomed by going crazy fast! Many people owned motorcycles or scooters that would squeeze 2-4 people on the back. Others were going so slow on the side on the road I thought they were going to get plowed over! Honking is also a constant action as it is in many countries. There are happy honks, speed up honks, angry honks, and get out of the way honks all of which we heard on our drive to our complex.
Of course after any long trip we all had to use the Jon. To our surprise they did not call their toilet paper “toilet paper.” They referred to it as “basket paper” because we were not allowed to flush it down the toilet. It backs up the sewage system and can end badly if anyone flushes too much down. I knew right away this would be difficult to remember, but I would get used to it.
After unpacking the humidity started to get to us so we decided to take a stroll down to the beach. We walked passed more vibrant buildings and I really started to get a feel for the area. There were colorful birds in a tree that had tons of nests. I really started to enjoy myself. Something about the place just gave me a positive vibe.
At the beach we walked out to soft sand and clear blue water. Now I can be a baby at times when it comes to cold water. I really didn’t want to ruin the warmth that I had started to soak up, but when I took a step in the water, it was delightfully warm! We swam out a ways and just laughed and bobbed in the waves. The only reason I got out was the seaweed. It was EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t take the slimy feeling like something was attaching to my leg, so after a while I stepped out and sat on the beach. At that time I learned why you should always go with a buddy. The boys in the Dominican Republic are much more confrontational than in the United States. Within five minutes there was a group of guys trying to ask me what my name was and where I was staying. Needless to say I ignored them and walked back to some familiar faces.
After the beach we walked back to the complex and ate some delicious rice, beans, and meat. My tummy was quite satisfied. Overall my first impression of the Dominican Republic was definitely a positive one. I could tell I would enjoy the place immediately. Who knew I would eventually fall in love with it.
What about you? Have you ever been to the Dominican Republic? What was your first day like and what were the impressions you received? Leave a comment below!